You kill a black man at midnight
Just for talking to your daughter,
Then you make his wife your mistress
And you leave her without water;
And the sheet you wear upon your face
Is the sheet your children sleep on,
At every meal you say a prayer;
You don't believe but still you keep on.
I remember this protest song from the 1970's from an obscure artist, Larry Norman, entitled the "The Great American Novel." These words came crashing into my brain this week as I watched an event in Charlottesville go from a racial clash, to a leader, and possibly a whole administration, that wants to have it both ways. Brene Brown, (Author, teacher, and lecturer) in a presentation remarks:
"Racism is trauma, poverty is trauma, classism is trauma, homophobia is trauma.-- When vulnerability, the ability to be who we are, becomes a realm of only the privileged, we have lost our capacity to create a school, a home and a country that we love."This week our country was asked by our president to understand that people who have intolerance to other people are not so bad. Donald Trump, in a wild shouting match with the press, claimed the people came to Charlottesville Friday to peacefully demonstrate.
-Brené Brown, SXSWedu 2017 Keynote, Daring Classrooms
" There were people in that rally-- and I looked the night before-- if you look they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down of the statue of Robert E Lee"- Donald TrumpAs I watched the livestream on Friday night, I saw something different than Mr. Trump did.
Friday night August 11, a mob of mostly young men with Tiki torches screaming from the Thomas Jefferson to the Robert E Lee statues, "You will not replace us-- Blood and Soil--- Whose Streets... Our streets!!!" Plus it's obvious to the casual observer what a mob of thousand lit Tiki torches are designed for--- These so-called protestors that Mr. Trump defended to the press surrounded the Confederate statue with the VA student anti-protestors trapped at the foot of the memorial, with no exit route. On the UVA campus, people gathered for an all faith prayer meeting:
"We were worshiping, and close to the end of our worship service we received the message that we could not leave the church because a mob was approaching the church with torches. They were chanting blood and soil-- they were chanting you will not replace us-- they were chanting Jews will not replace us-- they were chanting white lives matter-- and for over 30 minutes we were not allowed to leave the church. When we were finally allowed to leave, we could not go out the front door for fear that we would be assaulted. We were ushered out the side door and the back into alleys; this is America in 2017" - Reverend Traci Blackmon Executive Minister, United Church of ChristShe describes something echoing back to the 1950's. It was something that was done in secret, away from the public. But what the President of the United States described to reporters as a peaceful quiet protest, had been orchestrated under the tent, "Unite The Right." A combining of Neo- Nazi's, Klansmen, and White Nationalist. They were there to terrorize the population of this college town, in the name of white purity. They came looking for a confrontation. Men like Christopher Cantwell, a proclaimed White Nationalist, and spokesman for "Unite The Right" met with a news team covering the demonstration. He bragged openly about being willing to kill.
|White Nationalist Christopher Cantwell "Unite The Right"|
"Of course we're capable. I'm carrying a pistol-- I go to the gym all the time. I'm trying to make myself capable of violence. I'm here to spread ideas-- talk in the hopes that someone more capable will come along and do that. Someone like Donald Trump does not give his daughter to a Jew."- Christopher Cantwell "Unite The Right" Race and Terror, Vice News
These are not peaceful people. They have a racist agenda of white domination in America. They came to Charlottesville to be seen before America and the media, promoting the idea of saving the Robert E Lee statue which is set for removal from Lee Park in Charlottesville. The real agenda in my opinion, was to come out of the shadows as a recruitment stunt for others with their views. Racist hate speech and demonstrations are nothing new in this country. But what is new is a President who by Monday of this week saw their activities and cause in a different angle. He pushed back on reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower proclaiming that there were nice people on both sides, and there was enough blame to go around.
"...Excuse me-- what about the alt left? They came charging at the, as you say, 'the alt right-- 'Do they have any semblance of guilt? --Let me ask you this: what about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hand swinging clubs? Do they have any problem, I think they do.-- I watch those, very closely much more closely than you people watched it, and you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that but I'll say it right now-- you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very very violent. --I've condemned Neo-Nazis-- I've condemned many different groups but not all of those people were Neo-Nazis, believe me, not all of those people were white supremacist by any stretch."
I had to watch this press briefing (that was suppose to be about his infrastructure plans) several times, just to wrap my brain around the idea; our President is trying to change our perspective on racists and white nationalists. America was still reeling from the weekend melee that took place in Charlottesville, ending in a young woman's death at the hands of a radicalized white supremacist, when Trump began this mad man's argument. We saw the Neo-Nazis, the KKK, (who traded their traditional klan garb for polo shirts, khaki pants, and Make America Great Again ball caps), punching with brass knuckles, clubbing with bats, flinging water bottles of water and urine at their adversaries. We saw the architect of race purging, David Duke, rear his ugly head to proclaim that the Alt-Right was hear to reclaim America for the white man.
But this president pushed half the blame for what happened, and dropped it into the column of those who opposed the Klan, the Neo-Nazis, and others with a white purist agenda. It left me stunned, and no doubt other's reeling. He can't see the difference in white supremacy, and Americans who (aside from political ideas), believe we all share the same principles.
Many people, from ordinary folks on social media to mainstream media, and folks on both sides of the political isle, have denounced his rouge conference.
|America from social media to the mainstream|
were shocked by Trump's proclamation
"Mr. President, people, good people don't pal around with Nazis and white supremacist; maybe they don't consider themselves white supremacist and Nazis, but certainly they hold those views. This has become very troubling and for anyone to come on any network and defend what President Trump did and said at their press conference yesterday-- is completely lost and has the potential to be morally bankrupt."- Gianno Caldwell, Republican Political Strategist
No matter what political beliefs you might have, if your moral compass points North, Trump's words left you in shock.
For the sake of this country which belongs to all of us, and our children and generations to come, we cannot let this President's words go unchallenged.
|Artist Sam Welty painting a mural of Heather on the town's Freedom of Speech Wall.|