I have been up to my nostrils in readying my classroom for the kids tomorrow — so I’ve been kind of busy and haven’t been able to wrap my brain around words that don’t have to do with curriculum. But today’s post has nothing to do with my classroom, or my family, or traveling, or photography — or any of the things I love — because I am completely and utterly heartbroken over yesterday’s events in Virginia. That we live in an America where racists and bigots have been given the go-ahead to take off their hoods, come out of the woodwork, and wreak havoc on cities makes my head and heart hurt in the deepest places imaginable.
More maddening still is that we have a president who gives a mealy-mouthed, cowardly response to this violence, painting with a broad brush about “hate on all sides.” He refuses to call out the racists and the bigots because that’s where he enjoys his greatest support. He brought them out at his rallies where he condoned violence and suggested “second amendment solutions.” He tickled their fancy by calling for “Muslim bans” and Mexican walls. He not only tended to their prejudice and limited world view during the campaign, now he’s offered them a seat at the table. And they’re showing up with guns and torches. When they don’t agree with opposing views, they just run over the opposition. Literally. (Killing and maiming innocent lives.) This is what domestic terrorism looks like.
With Steve Bannon whispering sweet nothings in Trump’s ear, any discernible policy stance is born from the darkest places, rooted in hatred. The president’s bullying and name-calling is his hallmark and those who sold their souls to be part of this administration are being thrown under the bus one by one. No one is safe, least of all the American people.
But it’s the American people — specifically white people — who must take responsibility for the dark turn the country has taken. I say that as a white, middle-aged woman. On Facebook and Twitter, there are few white people standing up to this hate. Mostly, I see silence. Mostly I see posts of puppies and children — but not of outrage and anger. White folks: Where is your outrage???
I haven’t used this blog very much to take a political stand. I reserved this space for the light in my life and I take my stands elsewhere. But today, that light is so overshadowed by darkness. I’ve never been silent — but now I’m determined to fight for justice, even if I have to be the one standing on the table. Am I angry? You bet I am. I’m ANGRY.
I’m also trying to hold on to the light. I take solace in the ones who are speaking out. I take heart in the counter-protests yesterday and all the candlelight vigils that are being held across the country tonight. I take comfort in my daughter who, unprompted, wrote a beautiful response to the hatred on her Facebook account. I am so proud of those UVA students who stood up to the Neo-Nazis. And I’m grateful for VA Governor Terry McAuliffe who spoke in the strongest terms and showed those racists the door: “You are not welcome here.”