Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Cold Comfort

A lot can change in a year.
In Charlottesville, Virginia there was an anniversary observance. Like other dates and in other locations, there is now a reckoning for what brought us to that point and what happened after. The realization for so many Americans that racism is alive and well in spite of the fact that we have Martin Luther King Day and we elected a black president came as a shock. Alive, well, kicking and screaming. 
A year later, we have demonstrations and marches across this great land of ours reminding us just how far we have not come. Our current "President" reminded us "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!" That particular tweet came just a day after the one in which he chastised NFL players thusly: "“They make a fortune doing what they love…Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of the money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!” Which seems to be how he expects us to come together as a nation. His way. 
A year ago, Heather Heyer was alive. She was doing what she thought was right. She was trying to "spread love," in the words of a friend. And she was run down by a young man with very different views. He was not spreading love when he crashed his car into a group of protesters who were there to shout down the hate being spewed by Unite The Right.
A year later, a state of emergency was called before the anniversary was fully upon Charlottesville. The thought that things would be calm and that lessons had been learned was not considered. Police in riot gear were there ahead of time, just to make sure that everyone stayed in their lanes. 
A year later, dozens of white supremacists gathered in Washington D.C. to stage the sequel, and were drowned out by counter demonstrators who outnumbered them by hundreds. Which came as some comfort.  Not the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling you get when the bad guys are finally gone for good. More like the kind of feeling you get when the battle is over and the war is still far from being won. 
Maybe next year. 

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