It’s Sunday, August 13th, 2017. I’m sitting at the kitchen table my favorite place to sit, where I can watch the birds that come to the feeder, (mainly goldfinches at this time of the year), drink my coffee, and crochet or read or play games on my phone. My spot.
This morning I am crocheting, a new project, a shawl called Virus Meets Granny. I bought this lovely yarn called Mandala , by Lion Brand yarn. It comes in color wheels that have 590 yards per wheel. I bought two wheels of the “Wizard” color and started on the shawl yesterday morning. I worked on it all day yesterday, as I watched the news about the tragedy in Charlottesville Virginia. It was a calming influence, keeping me busy, while I watched the horrific scenes unfold. I watched as scenes reminiscent of those of my childhood played on the TV in 2017, and I was sickened. And I need to get some shit off my chest, for my own sanity.
My parents were older, so I was exposed to a lot of news, and discussions about politics within the family and in general terms with others in the community. I also read a lot, and still to this day, have a love of learning about all kinds of things though I was not allowed to learn about Martin Luther King, because, as my mother explained to me, “everywhere he goes, he causes trouble”, yet despite having a Southern Baptist father, and a northern Yankee Methodist mother, I still grew up, in the 60’s, not prejudiced exactly, just aware there were differences, so I didn’t know what exactly the differences were, and I wondered why there was so much hate towards them, when they were just people too, just like me. I simply could not wrap my head around such hate. It was the same way, watching coverage on the evening news, seeing people with utter hate in their eyes, screaming at black folks, attacking them and firebombing their churches and killing them, seeing the young of our country leave as brave young men, still boys, really, the culture was still so young and un-jaded, only to come back broken and hard eyed from the Vietnam war, the protests against the war, and the draft dodgers. I still remember my parents very clearly denouncing the draft dodgers, the protestors and the black folks. And I remember seeing these images of war, both at home and overseas, thinking, well, hate and war IS a bad thing, why are we killing people? Aren’t we taught we’re not supposed to kill? Aren’t we taught that were supposed to love our neighbor? Aren’t we taught that God created everybody in his image? So why are we doing this? Why is there so much hate? And just what the hell is wrong with people? In middle school, we watched filmstrips in history class about the concentration camps. I was sick to my core at the scenes of starving prisoners, the people being marched into the showers, then gassed. Men, women, children, killed because they were different in appearance and thought. The piles of shoes, jewelry, clothes and other items taken from the doomed, the mass graves, the gruesome experiments, all of it. As a pre-teen and teenager, it shaped my views just as profoundly as seeing the hate and blood and death on the nightly news. Made me question, made me seek out answers, made me listen and learn, both from good and bad. And yet, 50+ years later, 154 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and we’re still going around in circles, with the same damn groups, over the same. damn. bullshit.
And when I see friends, people I’ve known all my life, post comments like “I am a proud white American man/woman”, my first thought is, “I really don’t know if I can be friends with you anymore”, because a statement like that is pretty much an endorsement of these hate and rage filled idiots, saying you’re in agreement with them. For people to be ok with groups like this? Well, you’re no patriot, you’re no christian, that’s for damn sure. You’re not even a good human, because you can’t claim to be good or christian when you are killing (see: The Ten Commandments), or patriotic when you are trying to take freedoms away from anyone not just like you. You’re part of the damn problem, keeping this bullshitthis hate, this divisiveness going, and you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. But apparently, you’re not. Hell, some of seem proud of it, and that is morally repugnant.
I grew up with the specter of the Cold War. I remember seeing images of how bad the Soviet Union was, with food shortages, bread lines, people dying of starvation, gulags…and I’ve lived in fear of things like that happening here in this country. One thing I’ve learned from studying history, is that you can NEVER say, “Oh, it can’t happen here!”, because brother, it sure as hell can, and damn quick, too. Iran had freedom in the 1970’s. Women wore the same clothes we wore here, short skirts, big hair, makeup, heels. Oh yeah, it can change in the blink of an eye.
So as I sat there, and watched all this bullshit unfold, with the specter of nuclear war looming over us, tension with the Russians, and all the other wars going on in the world, all the hate, the labels that divide humanity into warring tribes that then war amongst themselves, making everything about “us VS them”, and I grieved for my country.
Ask yourself this. What I f the neo-nazis that stormed the campus of the college the night before, with their tiki torches, cargo shorts and polo shirts, their shields and regalia and their precious little signs had been a Black Lives Matter group instead? I guarantee many would be howling with outrage. Oh, you’re quick to condemn THAT movement, yes you are, but when it’s these dim witted, backassward cretins, these white supremacists, these nazis, these mouth breathing knuckle-draggers, you balk, and either blame everyone equality (false equivalency!) and give some generic statement denouncing it in as vague a way as you can, or you’re silent. It’s your silence that is the most telling.
We have no leadership right now, none. What we have is a petulant and petty, small minded, greedy man-baby waggling dicks with a crazy dictator over who’s is bigger. One who has, and still is, systemically alienating our allies, pissing off our enemies, putting the entire world at risk.
We have infighting going on, because El Presidente has encouraged it during his campaign, and, by not directly addressing the specific groups involved (white nationalists, kkk, nazis) in harsh and condemning terms, gave a quiet nod, a dog whistle, to the scum that he was ok with it. Call it what it was, o orange one, otherwise, you’re a hypocrite. Remember that whole thing you did where you complained that President Obama (and others) couldn’t say “radical Islamic terrorism”? Yet here you are, pulling the same shit you condemned him for. Just say it, it’s ok, we know–it was white supremacists , it was kkk, it was neo-nazis. And this shit is on you, pal. You’re the one who stood on the world stage, before AND after the election, you’re still doing it, spreading your hate, giving your tacit approval to the scum who howl with glee and are all too happy to do your dirty work for you. You’ve emboldened them, and we are now watching history repeat itself. Those who do not learn from history will continue to make the same mistakes, repeating the pattern(s). And isn’t that the definition of insanity?
God or Jesus isn’t going to fix this, not any of it. Hell, that’s what most of them are fighting about anyway. “My god(s) are bigger/better/more correct than yours. Yours are wrong/false/weak.
No, it’s on us, ALL of us, to fix this. I’m tired of hearing people say, “You have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, no one is going to do it for you.” Well, practice what the hell you preach, get off your knees and get to work. This is not a time of complacency, it is a time to resist the darker dregs of society that want to stamp out our individuality, destroy our diversity, cause us to live in fear, act out of hate, and harm other humans over something so petty as the color of skin, a difference of beliefs or country of birth.
If you’re angry, use your anger constructively, NOT destructively. Build up, don’t tear down. We hate what we fear, and we fear what we don’t know. It’s time to change that.
“Suffer not your neighbors affliction, but extend your hand.” (Source: Patti Smith). Something to think about.
I’ll leave you with this short, moving video, written and produced by Seth Andrews, narrated by Nathan Phelps. https://youtu.be/L6IPFyHEv3o
Fight the good fight, friends