A few weeks ago, two Chinese tourists posed in front of the Berlin Reichstag and snapped pictures giving the nazi salute. They were arrested. I’ve seen some people on Facebook comment on the news article expressing that they thought that arresting them was a bit harsh, that they were just joking around. Well, I didn’t find the punishment harsh, and I didn’t find their behavior funny. Not by a long shot.
If you’re German, you live with the perpetuated guilt of what happened during World War II. We’re not allowed to take these things lightly and nazi salutes and any other signs or gestures referring to the Nazis is forbidden and punished in Germany. We know and understand why, even 75 years later. The rest of the world still doesn’t let us ‘off the hook’ for something that happened two generations ago (most of the people who lived through it are mostly gone now). We, as a society, still pay for what happened before most of us were born, but we recognize that this is only because we can never let something like this happen ever again.
And yet, fascism is on the rise again, most recently evident in this country. You guys, the news out of Charlottesville, VA has left me kind of speechless. How is this kind of stuff happening in 2017? Have people learned nothing?
If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.[bctt tweet=”If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. #resist” username=”san_in_ca”]
Americans (excuse the generalization) seem to have an obsession with World War II. You just have to turn on the History channel where 90% of content is related to Hitler and the Third Reich. Yes, of course, history needs to be remembered and teach a lesson, but the emphasis is on ‘teach a lesson’, never ever letting something like this happen again.
There is a fine line between teaching and educating about historical events and making sure that nobody glorifies them or portrays them as something to strive to repeat.
What is wrong with people? Specifically, what is wrong with mostly young (white) men? Where does this hate come from? What are they afraid of? What are they trying to protect?
“We won’t be replaced…” is what they were yelling. Replaced by whom? By what?
The white supremacists with their hate and bigotry have been allowed to step into the spotlight and they’re not even covering their faces. They feel legitimized by a president that has spewn around hate, bigotry and racist remarks himself just to appeal to a certain group of people. Now he can’t even publicly renounce what happened in Charlottesville because he’s afraid of losing his base. Worse yet, he might actually believe what is coming out of his mouth, bascially standing behind white supremecists and telling them that what they’re thinking and doing is ok.
This is what being caught in the middle must feel like. How does this work out for someone who’s conveniently tried to swim with the tide at all times?
I tell you how it works out. Not at all. You can’t conveniently flip-flop on every single issue while standing for nothing. This is not what leadership is about. What the president said in yesterday’s press conference is all you needed to know about this man. He has no integrity, no moral compass, no feel for right or wrong.
I don’t know if there were counterprotesters who engaged, even initiated, confrontation. I’d wholeheartedly condemn this. But the fact is that one group was protesting rascism and hate and the other was promoting it. Which side do you think our president should be on?
Please excuse the rambling. I am afraid I am not really eloquent in putting all my thoughts together coherently. There is a lot I still don’t fully understand and it’s hard to stay on top of everything that is going on, but I’m trying hard to stay engaged and educate myself.
Regardless of how much I have to learn, I do know this: This is NOT OKAY. Nazis are NOT OKAY. The KKK is NOT OKAY. Racism, hate and bigotry, or whatever you want to call it, is NOT OKAY. Violence is NOT OKAY.
In this country, free speech is encouraged, even protected, but the Constitution also doesn’t give you a blank permission to say whatever you want. Free speech and hate speech are two different things. You can’t go around spewing hate and expect to be respected. These two things are mutually exclusive and there will be consequences.
The Constitution protects the right to peaceably assemble, but does showing up with torches and guns really send the message that you’re peaceable? Does using a car as a weapon send the message that you mean no harm? That you “just want to state your opinions”? I strongly disagree.
Still, I believe most people are inherently good. I do believe that love and compassion can conquer all. I am convinced that most people agree that we’re all equal and deserve the same rights and freedoms. Not one person should be allowed to suppress another. Equality doesn’t take anything away from a person, it simply gives rights to someone else who hadn’t been so privileged before.
[bctt tweet=”Equality doesn’t take anything away, it gives rights to s.o. who hadn’t been so privileged before. #resist #nohate #equality” username=”san_in_ca”]
I have no idea how to wrap up this post in a neat way, but may I suggest some reading material.
These are scary times. We can’t look away. We need to stay engaged. White supremecy has been around for a long time, but we can’t under any circumstances let this fringe mindset become mainstream.