How Can We Sit Idly By?
I was planning on writing something different for this week’s blog, but in light of this past weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, VA, I can’t sit idly by. And neither should you.
I’ll be honest, for the past few months I’ve been fairly removed from politics and everything going on in the world. I’m not proud of this fact, but it is a fact. Life got in the way and suddenly the barrage of twitter posts and news articles seemed like an annoyance, rather than anything productive or positive in my life. Sure, I still ranted about the really ridiculous stuff with co-workers and would complain to my husband. I even stayed up watching the Health Care vote take place and called a few senators. And my “boycott” and “Not My President” tees have become staples in my wardrobe. I knew nothing that was going on was normal, but I also felt powerless. What would my continuous posts about my unhappiness about our current political situation do? But, that was just an excuse. And fear of being annoying to my “friends” on social media or upsetting family members who don’t share my political views by not speaking out just leads to complicity. As Martin Luther King, Jr said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
This weekend’s Alt-Right Rally in Charlottesville that led to the death of a counter-protestor, and the injury of several others, is a stark reminder of that fact. She was killed for standing up against hate. I watched an interview with her father today where he applauds his daughter’s bravery and courage. He is able to have some semblance of peace over her death because of that fact. How extraordinary is that? But, I’m angry about her death and I don’t even know her. It’s unfair that she had to die standing up for what she believes in — what we should all believe in — because it’s unfair that she had to stand up up against White Supremacy in the 21st Century at all. But, this is where we’re at.
I’ve seen a lot of posts with the sentiment of “If you were around during Nazi Germany and said you would’ve done something, now’s the time to speak up.” This is so true. Now is the time to speak up. We need to remind people that none of this is normal. We can’t let ourselves be distracted or think that others will do the work for us. We can’t worry that saying something won’t be enough, or that saying something will alienate us from people. If I’m being honest the people who are offended by this post wouldn’t have much in common with me anyway. And the sad thing is, the people who are most offended are the ones who need to hear these words most of all.
We need to expose the reality of what’s happening right now and the only way to express that is by making it visible. That means speak out, volunteer, attend marches, educate family members and loved ones, be informed, and be present for someone who is feeling marginalized. There are things to do, and even if they don’t seem like much, it’s better than doing nothing at all.
Also, I tried very hard to not to mention “He Who Shall Not Be Named” in this post, but in light of the comments he made condemning both sides, I encourage everyone to watch this 20-minute news segment Vice News produced. It’s tough to watch, but it’s important to see who we’re up against and why we can’t let their hate drown out our voices.