Since violence seems to be the hot topic on everyone’s mind, can’t we just all agree that violence is bad, but sometimes necessary in self defense? In the heat of passion all it takes is one person on any side to strike the first blow and the whole group he belongs to is blamed for all that follows. Consider the “shot heard round the world” in which one shot, perhaps even an accidental discharge from a British soldier’s musket triggered the Revolutionary war. Or the ramifications of Lincoln bing cagey and resupplying Ft. Sumter with a publicized cargo not including munitions, thereby forcing the South to take the first shot if they were to claim sovereignty. And then there is the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that triggered WWi.
While it is easy to blame a whole group for the actions of a few, what is more important is to understand the agendas of the forces that are coming to blows. In this case, it is those who would create a society in which only white people have full rights, vs. those who feel all races should be treated with equal rights. Simple as that.
Now, there is one complication. There are many Southern folk who value to wonderful traditions of Southern hospitality, and the essence of true gentlemen such as Robert E. Lee. Lee was a man of honor – he was offered command of the Union forces and declined out of honor to accept command of the Confederate forces instead.
It is that kind of honor, and the true courage of going into battle against superior numbers and protecting one’s family and heritage that leads many in the south to stand against the removal of statues that they see has monuments to those noble attributes of their culture.
The problem is, that slavery was all tied up in it. Arguments can be made that it was really an issue of states’ rights, or that the South was unfairly economically oppressed by the North to its own advantage. And even that it was the North’s oppressive economic policy brought about by the higher population centers giving the North more political power in a democracy that forced the South to maintain slavery or to become an economic wasteland. But there is also solid evidence of the horrors or slavery and the dehumanizing of our fellow human beings and of those who fought to preserve slavery because they actually believed it was right and it was how God intended it to be.
So when the non-slavery non-racists heritage folks show up to protest the removal of a statue, and the white nationalists are there chanting against minorities, with a stated agenda of hate, then what are the heritage people to do?
If they leave, their monuments are gone. But if they stay, their Confederate flag waves along side the Swastika – two banners held over the same mingled group in a rally.
What message does this send? What taint does it put on the non-racist heritage folk?
Personally, I do believe those who were joining the protest rally who we not racist probably left, rather than stand under the Nazi banner. And those that remained may have wanted to preserve their heritage, but were also racists.
And so, we all have a choice to either let those voices of intolerance and hate have their say, unopposed, just as it was in Germany so many years ago. Or, perhaps this time, we stand against what we have seen before. We stop them in their tracks.
And by what right do we do this in a nation that proclaims freedom for all? Because those under that banner proclaim there should not be freedom for all, but only for their kind. And this is not just free speech, it is a call for revolution against the Constitution of the United States, and that give us the right to stand against them. They can say what they want. But when they incite actions against the Constitution, that moves along the slippery slope of Treason.
The protestors speak in terms of hate, race war, exclusion and supremacy. The counter-protestors speak in terms of love, social peace, inclusion, and equality.
But we are all human, and when impassioned, we can become violent. And that is unfortunate for it clutters the true battle between those who would do harm to others not like themselves and those who would help everyone who loves peace.