Reflections on Charlottesville

Yet again I found myself watching in horror as the events of Charlottesville unfolded.  There are days that I experience disbelief that in 2017 we are still seeing such overt displays of racism and bigotry.  In just a few weeks, the 54th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech will take place and it feels like we are still fighting the same battle that he fought.  Racism was on full display in Charlottesville on August 11th and 12th and many people have spoken out in horror about those events, which were horrific, indeed.  However, let us not forget the more subtle acts of racism and intolerance that take place on a daily basis in the communities around the United States.  There are women who experience mockery for wearing a hijab, or the people who cross the street if they see an African American man walking towards them at night, or the gay man that is beat up outside of a bar just because of his sexual orientation, or the Hispanic student mocked about “the wall”.  My own sons have had the experience of being followed by guards at stores and last fall my son was mocked and told that the new president would send “people like him back to Africa”.  When we observe this more subtle acts of intolerance do we just look the other way?  I know I have, at times thinking “oh I don’t know what to say or how to help and don’t want to cause more problems”.

When reflecting on racism it is easy to think “oh, I am not like that”.  It also makes me wonder how far any of us is from becoming such a hate filled soul.  There is the part of me whose heart breaks for those who marched proudly in racism and hatred.  What kind of experiences have they had that makes them think that this is all okay?  What kind of deep pain makes them want to lavish others with hate?  I don’t know, but maybe that is just as an important part of the question.  Yes, we should all stand up against intolerance, but it is perhaps more important to prevent it.  May our daily lives be lived in love and empathy and compassion.  May we all reach out to the broken and the hurting and embrace them.  May we teach our children to seek out the lonely and unlikeable.  May we all love as we have been loved.  I leave you with this song lyric that has been on repeat for the past few days.

And hold all the mothers, whose babies bleed from bullet holes
And feel all the hunger, the bellies and the bones
Shout for the prisoner, cry for justice, loud and long
And march with the victims, as Jesus marches on
And sit at all the tables, ’cause Jesus eats with everyone
And dance to the music, if you can’t sing its native tongue
And cry for the wombs, the mothers and the empty arms
And hold high the warriors, fighting now for freedoms’ song

And love, love, love, love
Like it’s your own blood
And love, love, love, love
As you have been loved
Love, love, love, love
Like it’s your own blood
Love, love, love, love
As you have been loved
Love, love, love, love, love
Like [you have been?]
Love, love, love, love, love
It’s all about love!
Love, love, love, love, love
His name is love
Love, love, love, love, love

Dear Me …
You did not learn this in a day or two or three
So ask a lot of questions
But Jesus loves us, this I know
And there are no exceptions

“Dear Me” ~ Nichole Nordeman

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One thought on “Reflections on Charlottesville”

  1. All of this is sad. It has been sad for the past few years, with the riots and protests, the looting and destruction of cities. Now we have White Nationalist filling the streets with their chants, and then they are met up with BLM and Antifa, and worlds and views clash, and things get messy. Everything that MLK fought for, has regressed to non-existence. This world is a sad place. My daughter is a quarter Asian, and has had racial slurs thrown her way. It hurts her feelings, and I want to rage against the world about it.

    People seem to think that with the power of Freedom of Speech, also comes the power of fighting and destruction. And the powers that be let that destruction happen because it is better press coverage. Do I want to see the KKK and White Nationalist marching down the street with tiki torches? No. But that’s their right. Do I want to see BLM marching through the street, blocking traffic and causing me to be late to work? No, but that’s their right. Do I want to see Antifa spewing their racists remarks? No, but they can say what they want. That’s their right.

    But the second that things turn hands-on? The second a bottle is thrown, or a fist is flying through the air, or a car runs over people, or businesses are broken into and looted, and set on fire …. the second that happens, an example needs to be set. Tear gas the place, start shooting rubber bullets, clear the area out. Let people know that you forfeit your right to peacefully protest the second that those protest turn violent in any way. I don’t care what color you are. That isn’t a race thing, that’s a human thing. If you act like an animal, you get treated like one.

    Liked by 1 person

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