I write fantasy. I’m no historian. Nor do I claim to understand the lives of nations as entities in themselves. Or politics. Or even the factors that trigger in-group/out-group phenomenon leading to violence.
But even in my ignorance, I feel in my bones that we are at a turning point.
And it is a turning point that needs addressing.
Still, I hesitate to write this post, for a number of reasons – fear being the most obvious.
- Fear of drawing the wrong attention
- Fear of misunderstanding the situation
- Fear of perpetuating the very privilege I’d like to see dismantled
But as I read post after post about what happened yesterday in Charlottesville, one message becomes very clear. We must make a stand against terrorism in all its forms, or we will lose the very thing that potentially could make our nation a force for good.
My parents always told me that every right came with a responsibility. Most of these responsibilities come down to being mature, reasonable human beings. So, yes, everyone has the right to their opinion. (Even Nazis.) Yes, everyone has the right to clearly state that opinion. They even have the right to get together with like-minded folk and state that opinion in public in a group. And no, their neighbors don’t have to like it.
But the right to protest only extends to PEACEFUL protesting. Where are your basic social manners, people?
You DO NOT have the right to bully, intimidate, threaten, terrorize, scare, frighten, compel, strong arm, bludgeon, beat, punch, kick, blow up, harm, maim or run over with your car someone who doesn’t agree with you.
You should have learned this in kindergarten, folks! It’s not rocket science!
There are systems set up within the rules of our democracy so that you can change the law, change policy. Learn them. Use them. But do not descend to barbarism.
What happened in Charlottesville makes me sad. No one should fear for their life in a free country. But it also makes me sad to realize we have individuals in the population who actually feel their right to have a particular opinion is greater than another person’s right to breathe.
And that is just plain wrong.
I don’t know exactly what to do to fix it. But we have learned from history that silence only helps the oppressor. If nothing else, we must speak out. All of us. The fearful and the guilty, the privileged and the poor. Our experiences differ and we may not always agree on everything each other says, but on this point we must be united. Terrorism and violence have no place in America.
So here are my two cents. Take ’em or leave ’em.
- Violence doesn’t change minds, just the DEFCON setting.
- Fear doesn’t encourage intelligent debate or sane responses.
- If you want America to be great again, then become the kind of citizen a great nation would have.