The Pain of Charlottesville Hurts Us All.

How do we stop the insanity?

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With all of the events happening in America today I have found it imperative to avoid the news as much as possible. I am not the type to hide my head in the sand, I have to know what is going on in the world. But that is hard to do.

In my article Trying To Stay Positive In Today’s World Climate  I talked about how I try to stay positive with all the bad new in the world today. I discussed staying away from negativity, the news talk shows etc. But I also feel that I have to do more. I have a platform that I can use to not only help people who live with bipolar 2 and help people who are working to better themselves but to also work for positive change.

With recent events in Charlottesville I am not only upset, but I am also hurt and angry. I don't want to let that hurt and anger consume me. I want to use my platform as a way of affecting some kind of change if possible. I am only one man, what can I do?

I believe I can use this platform as a way of attempting to spread  common sense thought into an otherwise ignorant debate. I call it ignorant because I truly can not believe that in 2017 we are still having 40 year old debates. Really? Race is not the only one of these ignorant debates. There is the abortion debate. Tax cuts and I could go on. But what is the point?

The point of this post is for me to discuss my feelings about Charlottesville and the hate and anger going on in the great country of ours today.

I have a hard time understand some of the debates going on today. I don't understand the debates about the Confederate statues. These statues have been up for years, why now. What is the importance? But I also have wondered why there are statues to men who tried to destroy our country. I have a hard time with the thought of people who fight to save a heritage that was so hurtful to so many people. Just for the sake of making a point. How many countries build monuments and statues to the people who tried to destroy the country? 

I look at it like this. Are there any statues of Hitler in Germany? No. Why would we have statues of Robert E. Lee memorialized here? The other thought about that is this. What countries that have dark times where they hurt or kill their citizens have statues erected to the bad people? Cuba has Castro, China has Mao, Russia has Stalin. Are we really on a par with them? I really prefer not to think so.

I have heard the argument many times that the Civil War ended slavery over 150 years ago. People should get over it. Shouldn't the people who want to memorialize it get over it as well? How can people affected negatively by slavery get over it when there are constant reminders of that era all over the place. Yes we should remember that time and be damn sure it never happens again. But in museums, not on every street corner. To me the slavery time in America was just as dark as the Holocaust. 

My great grandmother was full blooded Cherokee. She was adopted by a family when she was young. They adopted her because her parents were to be sent on the "Trail of Tears" so they took her in so she would have a chance. That part of history too should never be forgot. But you don't see monuments erected to the bravery of the commanding officers that drove them from their homeland. The thing is that if there were, you can bet the Klan would be there to fight to keep them.


Racism springs from the lie that certain human beings are less than fully human. It's a self-centered falsehood that corrupts our minds into believing we are right to treat others as we would not want to be treated.--Alveda King


charlotteville the pain for us allThere has to be some thought given to the fact that vile, despicable groups like the K.K.K. want to keep these monuments and statues around. This is not about heritage. It is about keeping a painful reminder to the people who are be oppressed by them. To constantly remind them who has the power. The same thing can be said about the Confederate flag.

I understand some of the arguments about the flag. About it being about rebellion.  I do understand a lot of the things said about it. I don't particularly buy them, but I understand. But I also want to make it clear that if you, your parents and farther back were born north of the Mason Dixon line, it is not part of your heritage. Let me emphasize that. IT IS NOT PART OF YOUR HERITAGE. It is your own form of saying I will not be told by anyone what I can do. I get it. But at what cost?

I don't understand the whole racist thing anyway. I grew up in a small Southeastern Ohio town that I will not call diverse at all. During the time I was young there were only three black families in town. I don't remember any Asian or any other race. I then moved to Columbus, Ohio and experienced a completely new world. I liked the diversity  but being as naive as I was, I did not completely grasp my situation. I could have learned so much from that time I lived there, but did not. Fast forward to my Air Force time.

This is where I learned so much about diversity and race. I was quickly made aware that no matter what color the skin of your fellow airman, no matter what heritage we were all part of the same thing. We were all there to defend our country. I met so many different types of people. Black, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim and more. Not only did I get to meet them, but I worked and studied around them. Went out with them, hung out with them. Man did I learn from these people. It was one of the best times of my life for many reasons.

So when it comes to Charlottesville I really have to say that I am deeply hurt by all of it. The death of Heather Heyer was tragic and completely uncalled for. By all accounts I have read Heather was only protesting, she was not part of the two ignorant groups who wanted to fight. The idiot who ran her down was a white supremacist who was fueled by hate and didn't care who he hurt. I blame the entire thing on two groups who carry a hatred. That hatred caused someone to lose their life. 

I am not drawing a moral equivalence between the ANTIFA and the K.K.K. There is nothing equal to the K.K.K. or the Nazis. I am saying that one group with hate battled another group with hate in their hearts. It is that simple. I pay about as much attention to the ANTIFA as I do to the Klan though. Not just because of race, but because of the violence they carry with them. It has to be made clear that both sides in Charlottesville came armed, came looking for trouble. But to me that is not the reason Charlottesville happened.

Charlottesville took place I believe because the Klan wanted to hold on to it's symbol of power. It wanted to continue to be able to say "we will put you back in your place." There were protesters there who wanted to keep it or take it down for many reasons. But the Klan only  had one reason. 

To me this is not a left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican issue. It is not even really an American issue. It is a human issue. But the question is not who's fault or whatever. The question is how do we fix it?

We are not going to be able to count on our political leaders to do anything about it. They are all to busy making their political points on the talk shows and getting re-elected.  We can not count on the talking heads for the same reason. They are only concerned about their ratings and who they can get on the next show. No, we can't count on our leaders to fix our race problems in America. We can't count on "social activists" to fix it either. After all, if not for these problems, they would cease to exist too. The people are the only ones who have a true stake in seeing that the problem is fixed. We are the only ones who actually benefit from the problem being fixed.

We have to do it ourselves. That is how we have always fixed our problems. The people have to fix it. Not the government. Our government can't even pass a budget with all the drama one would see on a bad afternoon soap opera. The one thing that is clear is that fighting hate with anger and hate is not the answer. That only gives credence to the haters. They can then tell their followers that you are the group that hates. You hate America. You hate your own race. They are all keyboard warriors. But the sad part is that they are able to make a connection with others who feel like they do.

They can not be legislated out of existence, they will only go underground and become stronger under the premise that the "tyrannic government is keeping the white man down". They can not be argued with. I feel they must be beat with logic. You are not going to change their minds. But you can affect the minds of people who may be interested in what they are saying.

I try to keep negative things as far away from myself as possible for obvious reasons. True it is not always easy but I give it the "old college try". I have a very diverse group of people on my Facebook page. I know liberals, conservatives, progressives, black, hispanic, white and so on. On my page every day I see things about who people believe are at fault for all the worlds problems. The funny thing is that it is always the other sides fault. I am at a place where I am trying to decide whethe I should just get this type of thing off my page, or try to convince them that their thinking is flawed. I want to try to convince them that trying to lay blame on the other side is one of the main reasons we are here in the first place. I want to try to convince them that the cold hard fact is that it is all of our fault.

It is our fault for not listening when people say something. We may not agree with them, but shouldn't we at least listen to them? I mean we should at least listen to them! The scourge of racism affects everyone, everyday. I would venture to bet that if the vast majority of people look back at their genealogy they would find something that would surprise them. It is all of our fault because we have allowed politicians from both sides to fix a problem when their only desire is to keep problems going to justify their own existence.  

The vast majority of people are good and despise  what is going on. They do not know how to fix it. They don't think they can do anything about it. But they don't realize that they are the army that is needed to defeat racism. They must speak up when they see it. They/we are the only ones who can fix it. We as a people have a moral obligation to fix the problem. It is after all our lives that this is affecting.

I think we must go out and arm ourselves with knowledge. Arm ourselves with common sense. Be a keyboard warrior for good. I am not going to even allow that type of thing to come across my social media feed. If someone posts something from a racist group I will educate the people on the lies. I will use my platform to promote the good in people. I will be the change we need to see.


About the author

Bradley Finnearty

 

I am a certified webmaster who has lived a life dealing with bipolar depression. My goal is to not only help others dealing with bipolar and depression but to help those around them to understand what is going with their loved ones. I write about how I deal with it and hope that it inspires you to understand that you don't have to let it control you. You control it. I write the way I talk. I want you to feel like I am talking with you in a conversation, not preaching at you in a way that makes you feel like you have to do what I tell you. I hope you enjoy my blog posts about not only bipolar but all things that I write about.


How do you combat racism? What do you think is the best way to overcome this menace to society?

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