As an American, I am ashamed of my countryman’s behavior last weekend in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. I’m trying to figure out the best way to frame my opinions, but quite frankly am having a bit of trouble getting a grasp on what I want to say, so just bear with me as I write out my frustrations.
I detest one race being raised above another – no matter the race. We are all part of this great land, and I for one don’t give a damn what race your are, or even “identify” with. If you consider yourself above another based upon race – get the hell off my planet!
We are Americans first, last, and always. We Americans are a strange brew; we bitch about one another, we argue fuss and fight; until our back is against the wall. When the country is stressed, we come together. But, at least in my upbringing, we never, never, friggen ever! digressed to violence; no matter how passionately we disagreed with one another.
If you want to be a neo-Nazi, have a good time; If you want to be a black panther, have a good time. But neither of you have the right to tramp on the rights of others, they are just as protected in their speech as you are in yours. The leaders of such organizations have the responsibility and duty to ensure their members do not cross that sacred line – the line J. A. Fields so blatantly ran across. The Al Jazeera network had a pretty good report on the incident. The video shows a car crashing into protesters, then quickly backing up. To me, this rebuffs the statements made that he was trying to escape, the path he came from was empty of people. In my opinion, it is these fringe groups that are keeping “race” alive as an issue. Is this how we are seen in the world? I know in my world travels, no one has ever come up to me and called me a “European-American” nor have I heard of others being referred to as “African-Americans” or “Asian-Amiericans.” We were all simply seen as Americans. Maybe we should all travel abroad a bit so we wouldn’t take each other for granted and insist upon being hyphenated. Just saying.
One more question to ponder: Why is a car used to kill people in London, France, and Spain terrorism; but a car running down a protester in Charlottesville isn’t?
Now that I got that off my chest, it’s time to put one other subject to rest. The Civil War (or the war of rebellion) and the statues that have become such a topic of debate. The Civil War, was fought when 11 states seceded from the union to preserve the institution of slavery. Sorry folks – it was about slavery, say what you will about states rights; slavery was the root cause.
There is a good series of articles on the History Channel website, and one of them is about Confederate monuments. A link on this page will take you to a list of monuments and some background on them, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center. I didn’t particularly like their “how to be an activist” plug at the end of the research; but the rest of it I thought was fantastic and well worth the read.
For the record, I am not a fan of removing ALL monuments. I think battlefield monuments should be off limits and left alone. There is a row of monuments in Richmond, called Monument Avenue. I think monuments are in important part of history; but they must be explained in context. The History channel also has a good article about how Robert E. Lee became enshrined in the “southern mindset.” For those that are offended by confederate statues, I get it, I really do. However, we cannot be so thin skinned as to let a piece rock get to us. I find a lot of artwork in very poor taste; I choose not to look at it, or if I cannot avoid it, I choose to ignore it. I ask the same of you, if you don’t like it, ignore it. I encourage you to teach your children and peers the context around the statue, what the statue represents. I believe that some of them (not all) are an important part of our history, and should not be sugar coated, nor erased. It happened, and it is our responsibility to make sure nothing like that happens again in this great land.
It is bad enough we have strife in the political sphere, do we really need the general population descending into the same stupidity? We, as a people and a country are better than this. What say you? I’m looking forward to some good feedback.