I try not to be political on this blog. That said, a few thoughts on the matter of the KKK, #Charlottesville, #Nazis, #monuments, and #racism.
1. The United States of America has a storied history with race and equality. These 50 states have not always been on the same page about the matter, or the history of the matter, and I daresay, they aren't now. It should come as no surprise, to anyone, that some US monuments are controversial in nature. Let's be honest about the past while advancing liberty and justice for all. We should defend freedom of speech while condemning the doctrine of #whitesupremacy in the strongest, clearest terms. I pray that one day and soon, the vile notion that one skin color is better than another will at last be buried in history's grave of forgotten lies.
2. The offending monuments in question are older than I am. Why are they so controversial now, and not two years ago? Or twelve years ago? I suppose we could say that things change, culture changes, causes mature. A car-turned-weapon, a deplorable rally, and a tragic death raised a national outcry and rightly so. But is that the whole story? Maybe. I wonder. It's a question worth serious consideration. This issue is far more important than anything Trump did or didn't say. Trump needs to be clear about his position. The "both sides" comment is repugnant and beneath the office of the Presidency. Trump needs to remove all ambiguity about where he stands. Trump needs to get his act together. Trump, let's face it, is way in over his head. Most importantly, we should not trivialize the issue of race and equality by making it about one man. This issue deserves better than Donald Trump.
3. #Nazis are bad. Evil. Wicked. (And virtually all of them, except for a few very old men in hiding, are now dead) Nazis butchered seven million Jews. Nazis should be called Nazis. What we see today are pathetic imitators of bygone fascist mass murderers. Today's white supremacists have said and done vile things, evil things, and a young woman lost her life. I hope justice is served, hard and cold. But Nazis? Today's culture has too little regard for that word. By the way, the father of the woman that died has chosen to forgive her killers. We should follow his example.
A bit of context about this...a fraction of a friend's family escaped Nazi Germany. Most of his ancestors were killed by the Third Reich. His family lost generations to the Nazis. Decades later they saw some small measure of compensation from the German government for the horrors inflicted by the Nazis. His family's wealth was confiscated, dozens were killed, and for that some recompense was given. This story is by no means unique. Money for shed blood is an insult, part of the murderous legacy of the Nazis. The term "Nazi" should be applied only with great fear and trembling. To label today's white supremacists as Nazis is to do the real Nazis of the 1930s and 1940s a favor. I will not diminish the evil perpetrated by the Nazis by equating them to today's white-first thugs.
4. Part of me would like to break a few jaws. I'd enjoy it. A lot. My family is multi-cultural: all manner of European ancestry, and Korean and Latino heritages swirled together. My nephew is half Korean, half white, with a Latino last name. My nephew's daddy, my BIL, was adopted by a beautiful man named Jesus (hay-zoos). Solomon Garcia is my nephew, my guy. (Jewish first name, Hispanic last name, half Korean - I love that) He's MINE. So, yes, I'd like to break some jaws. But my Christian faith dictates otherwise. So, I'll break bread instead and say this: I will pray for the racist/KKK/angry-white-men to become overwhelmed by the enormity of their sins, repent, and find Jesus. After all, the Bible is clear on the matter of human fallibility. "All have sinned." It also says that God is not a respecter of persons...in other words, all are created equal in the eyes of the creator. So says the good book and that's good enough for me. I won't start a fist fight with a racist. But I'll finish it if necessary. Remember, soft targets and open palms: groin; nose, throat; ears; eyes; joints. Smile.
5. Hate is not righteous indignation. Righteousness indignation should not lead to hate. I fear the two are being confused and that doesn't bode well for the future of this country. This country needs to think a second time.