So terrible things have happened in Charlottesville, VA. The Neo Nazi party is alive and well and not afraid to shout and be proud of their hideous opinions.
What they did, the reaction to it and the terrorist attack and devastating death of Heather Heyer is well-known by now, so why I am adding my two cents?
Because I was bullied into it.
One of my friends from high school made a post on Facebook saying that any white person who remains silent about this must therefore be complicit and part of the problem. I am paraphrasing here because I don’t want to go back on Facebook to check out that post, feel ashamed and obsess about how inherently awful I am again. Also, I don’t want to go back on Facebook because it, pretty much without fail, leaves me feeling resentful, jealous and depressed after every visit.
I have low self-confidence. I berate and criticize myself via internal monologue almost all day long. Trust me, I don’t need social media’s help on this and I certainly don’t need one of my former schoolmate’s confirmation of my already abysmal self-worth.
However, I do need to be pushed into posting more. I do need to speak up. You may have noticed I don’t share myself very often and when I do, I try to make it bright and light and entertaining. Truthiness sometimes invites conflict and I am terrified of conflict. But conflict incites change and change is constant and needed and good. And I know I have a lot of changing to do. So I (reluctantly) thank you, classmate.
Another friend posted on Instagram this quote by Elie Wiesel, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Silence on this issue is no longer an option for me. I’m scared of making myself vulnerable but now is the time to push through fear.
Of course I hate Nazis. Of course I hate white supremacists. And of course I hate what they stand for. I hold a lot of hate towards white people in general and that obviously includes myself. But how is blasting my hate over social media going to help or raise awareness? How does hate accomplish anything of worth?
(Notice the wording of this post so far: my hate, I hate. Me, me me. I doubt that focusing on myself and saying “hate” instead of “don’t agree with” will add positivity to this world. So let’s end that right now, yes?)
We are all pretty much aware of what happened, how despicable our president’s response was and how frightening it is to realize the deplorable state of division in our country. Most of my friends and followers seem to share my pretty liberal point of view. Am I going to change the minds of the few conservative, Trump-supporting friends/followers/family I have by re-iterating opinions they’ve already shot down or ignored time and time again?
Here we are, furiously thumb-typing a silent scream into the void. Here we are dividing ourselves even further with labels of “right” and “wrong” as we refuse to hold real discussions. As we refuse to communicate. As we refuse to listen. As we refuse to come together and love one another regardless as to whether the other is black, white, supremacist, tolerant, woman, man, gay, straight, incarcerated, free, Trump, Obama, immigrant, citizen, foreign, atheist, religious, anarchist, racist, fascist…I could go on forever because we are all different in a myriad of ways.
And yet, we are all the same. We are all human beings and deserve to be treated as such. Does killing a murderer make things right? Does hating the hater move us towards unification? Must we dole out condemnations and righteous judgements? Is that what is going to help us heal?
I have questions but no answers.
All I know is how I feel. I can barely think of what happened in Virginia last weekend without tears blurring my vision, making it unable for me to type. I can barely fathom the terrible injustices people of color have had to suffer for hundreds of years in this “land of the free” without feeling hopeless rage. I can barely write without despairing that nothing I have to say is of any worth anyway.
How can we help the healing instead of the hating?
I love you, my black sisters and brothers. I love you my Jewish survivors. I love you my illegal immigrant family. I love you my Muslim believers. I love you my LGBTQIA darlings. And I love you my intolerant white supremacists. Please join our family.
Let us continue to speak out and listen, without judgement. With love.
“There is a place for you at our table, if you will choose to join us.” – Starhawk, “The Fifth Sacred Thing”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” – Nelson Mandela
(That last quote can now also be attributed to Barack Obama via Twitter. That’s the real story here of course, the most liked Tweet evahhhhhh broh! Take that Ariana Grande!! Szeschuan McNugget sauce for everyone!!!!)