I had another article ready to share with you today, but the news from Charlottesville, Virginia demands a response.
Have we lost our ever-loving minds?
I can be as passionate about the things I hold dear as anyone. I have participated in protests. I have waved signs. I have signed petitions. I have written letters to the editor and called my Congressman. But never, ever would I deny someone else the right to let their beliefs be heard. Never, ever would I throw a rock, shoot pepper spray or drive a car into a crowd, let alone destroy property or shoot someone as has happened at other protests.
It makes me uncomfortable to judge what is in other peoples hearts, but it seems to me that hate filled both the protestors and counter-protestors in Charlottesville this weekend. They all showed up spoiling for a fight.
A group of hate-filled white supremacists used the removal of a Confederate monument as an excuse to gather and protest. They admitted to being angry at how our politics is divided by race, gender and the rest and are demanding their "fair share." They insist that white people are better than anybody.
So who were the counter-protestors? Alas, they belong to another group of hate-filled folks that we have seen participating in violent protests before, including elements of Black Lives Matter and the Anti-fascist movements. While their cause is justice, their methods are anything but just. Remember the BLM and Anti-fa folks who have caused death and destruction in Ferguson, Baltimore, New Orleans, Charlotte, Berkeley, and Washington, D.C. in the past couple years?
Allowing these groups to come together was also an error of epic proportions. Why did the police let these folks get within throwing distance of each other? Why weren't more people arrested? Why did the city government allow them to protest on the same day?
Have we lost our ever-loving minds?
Yesterday made me feel like we are on the cusp of another Civil War. Haven't we learned anything from that bloody war and its aftermath? Don't we know our own history? Why are we still dividing ourselves up by race? Shouldn't we know by now that there is no place for racism and bigotry in the eyes of the law and the eyes of God? Shouldn't we have learned that there are better ways of resolving our differences than with death and destruction?
I want to believe, deep in my heart, that most Americans want nothing to do with the groups that showed up in Charlottesville yesterday, be they KKK, BLM or the anti-fascists. I want to believe, deep in my heart, that most Americans see their fellow citizens as human beings. I want to believe, deep in my heart, that most Americans want to resolve our differences without violence - through conversation, the Courts and Congress.
Before the rest of us lose our ever-loving minds, please pray. Pray for those who are filled with hate to be filled with love.
Pray for those who died yesterday and their families. Pray for the healing of those who were injured.
Pray for the people of Charlottesville who want to live their lives and raise their children. Pray for those attending the University of Virginia this semester and their anxious parents. What does the future hold for America's youth?
Pray for the tourists who were there to visit the home of Thomas Jefferson, our third president and the author of our Declaration of Independence. How ironic that such a protest would happen so close to the place honoring the man who wrote: "all men are created equal." We may not have completely lost our minds yet, but we surely have lost a firm grasp of America's foundational principles.
Pray that you don't become infected with the hate that swirls around us. All those who gathered in Charlottesville yesterday deserve our distain, not our praise. Do not pick a side in this fight, even if part of what they say resonates with you. Their hate destroys whatever good might be in their message. Pray for our country to solve its disagreements - and they are many and deep - without violence. Pray for healing in our country before another war within our borders takes hold.