I’m not sure how many of you are aware, I live in Central Virginia, Charlottesville is about a 45 minute drive on route 29 Southbound. I grew up in the area, this is home. When I discovered the Dead, I discovered the first hippie friendly stores on Charlottesville’s Down Town Mall. I purchased the first of many Grateful Dead shirts there. I’ve always loved the energy of that town, tolerate, loving, supportive. This past weekend, that town of love and tolerance and support was transformed into something horrible. Hate filled, torch wielding, angry white men stormed the Rotunda at the University of Virginia Friday night. I watched a counter-protester’s Facebook live feed of the event as it unfolded. Police were nowhere to be found. This raid of the Rotunda was something the police weren’t prepared for. The following day, this hate group “rallied” in Emancipation Park, where the statue of Robert E. Lee is located. This statue is slated to be removed. I think that’s an admirable move on the part of Charlottesville. The organizer of Saturday’s hate rally doesn’t agree. These “protesters” were fully armed, some with lead pipes, others with bats, batons, guns, shields, riot gear, and who knows what else. Charlottesville had attempted to move the rally to a larger facility, that was denied by a Federal Judge. The events that unfolded Saturday were hard to stomach. It makes me ashamed of my race. Nazis and white supremacist chanted “Blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us,” “Burn them in the ovens!” – ALL of which is absolutely disgusting. I support free speech….but this escalated to more than free speech and peaceful demonstrating. The actual rally was shut down (thank goodness), before it ever even really got started; mayhem ensued shortly after. A car was used as a deadly weapon when it purposefully drove into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters killing one and injuring at least 19 others. In at one area parking garage white supremacists maimed and seriously injured African Americans with pipes, and makeshift weapons. The year 2017 and NAZI’s terrorized our streets and our “president” can’t seem to outright condemn this behavior. The white supremacists noticed that too and they like it an awful lot. They have an ally in Donald Trump. Trump then derailed his own press conference and blamed both sides. Now, hold on a minute……BOTH sides? What the hell? The violence, the mayhem, the murder, the injuries, the beatings, those were all committed by the “Alt-right.” Yesterday Trump said “I think there is blame on both sides” and “…So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
The only thing I agree with in that shit statement is the question “where does it stop?” Allow me to point out the seemingly invisible issue with the “it was both sides” flawed argument.
White men traveled to Africa and brought back people, people just like you and I for the purpose of enslaving them. We sold them at auction to the highest bidder like livestock, only livestock realistically were treated better. We raped their women and forced them to bare children resulting from those rapes. We “bred” them for certain desirable traits, again, like livestock. We took these people from their homeland. We destroyed their entire worlds for our gain. Because we felt entitled to do so. Because we felt superior to these people because we had less melanin thereby making us lighter skinned. And that is WRONG. It is fundamentally wrong to enslave another human being to do our bidding. If you use a bible to justify such behavior, then you need a new religion period. I cannot and will not sugar coat this. Emancipation happened, segregation ended, and Civil Rights marches took place yet, not much has changed for my friends of color. They are still subjected to things that I am not subjected to on a daily basis because of the color of their skin. Racism has not ended, it has flourished quietly. Here’s the thing though, if we think of these Nazis, Alt-right, Nationalist, white supremacists as the primary hate group(s), then by theory if we denounce them with each and every thing they try to do to promote their sickening agenda, then these “other groups” who are supposed to share the blame kinda fizzle out. They are secondary, which is to say, these groups were formed in response to the Nazi, Alt-right, white supremacy groups. Still following me here? Black Lives Matter is a movement that white people just love to throw into the mix and call a violent group. They say the BLM movement is responsible for deaths of police officers. Here again, if we attack the problem where it exists, there’d be no reason for counter-groups. Antifa – same deal. If we stand up against the fascism loving assholes first and foremost, there’s no need for Antifa. So YES, we MUST stand up and speak out and if we fail to, we are part of the problem and not part of a solution. I understand why African Americans take issue to these statues, imagine it was YOUR family who had been treated inhumanly, enslaved, raped, beat, made to feel inferior…. why would anyone want to glorify and remember that? Along those same lines, Trump mentioned Thomas Jefferson. In his lifetime, Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, approximately 600 of them. He raped his slaves and had biracial children with them. As a survivor of sexual assault, I can say that to idolize this man is repugnant. You can not be a great American/human being AND enslave people, force your will upon them, beat them, kill them…..it’s an either/or situation for me. Either you’re a rapist, murderer, slaver owner OR you’re a great American forefather. You don’t get to be both. Same for all these statues, why do we continue to glorify the Confederacy? They lost, with GREAT reason! One would never expect to travel to Germany and find statues of Hitler or his top generals would they? Surely not. Because it’s an insensitive asshole thing to do to glorify those who inflicted so much pain and suffering on an entire race of people. Likewise, we never hear anyone telling the Jewish people they should “get over it,” but we say this to our African American brothers and sisters all the time. I’ve been told “the civil war was about so much more than slavery,” really? Like what? What reason could you possibly give that would be more important than ending the slavery of another human being? Land? Ridiculous taxation? Seriously, what? What’s more important than life?
If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done during the Civil Rights movements in the 60’s or Nazi Germany…..now’s your chance. The time is now. We cannot allow this to continue. I applaud the City of Charlottesville for wanting to remove the statue. It is one of the ugliest aspects of our history, yes, it should be preserved in that we should never forget and allow history to repeat itself. But don’t glorify people who don’t deserve it with parks and statues named in their honor. Honor the people who gave their lives to make the world we inhabit a better, loving, tolerate, forgiving place. Choose to honor human beings who encompass hope, perseverance, the ones who have made advances in civil rights, the ones who did the right thing. Not this. I for one, will make it quite clear where I stand. All people deserve the same treatment and rights…ALL. It makes me afraid for my friends and family who look different, love different, think different….will someone hurt them because they view them as a threat or as an inferior being? What kind of world are my children going to live in?
The song for this blog is off of the Built To Last album produced in 1989. It’s a song called “We Can Run” and the lyrics are just what I needed this morning in light of all the hatred.
“We don’t own this place though we act as if we did
It belongs to the children of our children’s kids
The actual owners haven’t even been born yet
But we never tend the garden and we rarely pay the rent
Most of it is broken and the rest of it is bent
Put it all on plastic and I wonder where we’ll be when the bills hit
We can run but we can’t hide from it
Of all possible worlds we only got one, we gotta ride on it
Whatever we’ve done we’ll never get far from what we leave behind
Baby we can run, run, run but we can’t hide
Well I’m dumping my trash in your back yard
Making certain you don’t notice really isn’t so hard
You’re so busy with your guns and all of your excuses to use them
Well it’s oil for the rich and babies for the poor
We’ve got everyone believing that more is more
If a reckoning comes maybe we’ll know what to do then
All these complications seem to leave no choice
I heard the tongues of billions speak with just one voice
Saying just leave all the rest to me, I need it worse than you, you see
Then I heard the sound of one child crying
Today I went out walking in the amber wind
There’s a hole in the sky where the light pours in
I remember the days when I wasn’t afraid of the sunshine
But now it beats down on the asphalt land
Like hammering blow from God’s left hand
What little still grows
Cringes in the shade till the night-time”