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So. I've spent most of the past 24 hours on Twitter, watching live streams and footage, and then the incredible, unbelievable aftermath, of the alt-right rally and counter-protest in #Charlottesville. I'm tired now, and have to close my browser and step away for a bit, maybe have a cup of tea. I'm feeling overwhelmed, as a lot of us probably are. But as I was on the way to make that tea, I found I had something I needed to say. This is it. (Click 'read more' below to continue)
We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in our country right now. Hate and bigotry have been exponentially increasing since even before Nov. 9, 2016, but they are now in an absolute avalanche. Yesterday in is a clear example of those things (I hesitate to refer to them as 'values') coming crashing down upon our heads. One anti-nazi protester is dead; dozens more are injured, several critically. Two police officers are dead.
This is ugly. This is frightening. This is NOT what we (the majority of us, I believe) want our country to be. And it is very stressful to watch, to think about, and/or to act upon. For many, the option of 'acting' may not exist in any form other than speaking out to condemn these hate-fueled beliefs on social media, or to those you know who espouse them in person, in your friends or families. We do not want to think of those close to us - or related to us even if not 'that close' to us - as being bad people, or being associated with the hate-mongers in the alt-right who did these horrific things yesterday in . But looking the other way and pretending it isn't happening is not OK. Not anymore.
I get it that it's stressful and hard. I get it that some of us have so little emotional, physical, etc. resources just to get through our days that we don't feel we can devote time and energy to calling out those racists and bigots.
But here's where it gets real: This really, really real, now. The white supremacists are no longer afraid to come out in public - they're so confident now that they will be accepted, that they are RIGHT and that most of us AGREE with them, that they don't even feel the need to hide their faces. No more white sheets. Just hate, ignorance, tiki torches, and a silver car from Ohio that mowed into a crowd of people who dared to come out and show up to say racism and bigotry have no place in our America.
If it makes you feel better, turn off the TV, don't listen to the news, or watch twitter, or read people's posts about the dead and the injured. Take time. Breathe. Try not to panic. But please, please do NOT slap on a smile and pretend this isn't happening. This IS 'our America' today - and if it's not the one we want, we need to at least be able to admit that there is a real problem here.
Facing it without our heads in the sand is the first step to fixing it. It's a small step - but it's one every.single.one.of.us needs to take. Failure to do so = failure to see, failure to condemn the hate, failure to admit we have a LOT of work to do.
Let's all do the work we can. Start by saying "No. We do not want this. This is not who we should be. We will not allow this to happen in America."