I am against hate!
I’m against racism, fascism, and every group that promotes hate in this country. But I’m pro First Amendment. I may not like or agree with what others say, but they have the right to do so peaceably. I also think there is a difference between peaceable protests and violent destruction of personal property.
What happened in Charlottesville is a tragedy, and there is plenty of blame to go around. Had everyone who went to the permitted protest showed restraint, it would never have made the news. Had the police stepped in when the conflict began, Heather Heyer might still be alive, and we still might never have heard about it. But we can’t change the past.
And that’s where this story really starts. We can’t change our history. We can’t erase the parts we don’t like. We attempt this at our own peril. I’m not saying that every statue of every Confederate soldier must stay. I’m not suggesting that at all. But if our views on historical events have changed, why can’t the plaques on historical monuments change? Why can’t additional monuments be erected? Are we so ashamed of the truth in our past that we can’t move forward? We made mistakes. And we learn from them and we grow.
Lots of people hate President Andrew Jackson and want his monuments removed. He did a lot of bad things in American history. He also did a lot of good. If he hadn’t won the Battle of New Orleans, the US might have easily slipped back under British rule. I personally think that rates a monument.
Last year I did my DNA analysis. What I’ve discovered through researching my ancestry has been heartbreaking as well as enlightening. I am mostly French, Scottish and Irish, but lots of Scandinavian and Spanish, and a little Russian and Middle-Eastern. My ancestors killed people in brutal conquests and killed people heroically. They owned slaves and were slaves. They forged friendships with Native Americans that saved whole settlements. They were massacred by Native Americans. They spied for the British during the Revolutionary War. They died at the Alamo. They fought on both sides in the Civil War. They died in concentration camps.
The thing is, most Americans can say the same thing if they looked into their pasts. We’re all the same. We’re all in this together. We are America. It’s not okay to hate each other. It’s not okay to hurt each other. It’s not even okay to hate hate groups. It’s not okay to hate the President. Tolerance and understanding aren’t just words to toss around when you’re wanting people to accept and agree with you. They apply to everyone. We may not like everyone, but we need to love everyone. I just hope that instead of blaming each other and throwing punches, we can learn from this sad situation and grow.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35 (NIV)