It's a newish saying, this "I have no words." Never a problem for me. But at present I have words, and no pulpit. It also intrigues me when people say, I have no words. No words=silence, and that's the last thing we need. If we ever needed speaking up and out, it's now.
In the wake of Charlottesville, what will you do?
Carry on, perhaps shake your head or shed a tear for the young woman who was murdered standing up against Fascism and bigotry, then get back to your Sunday routine?
Or will you add a new dimension to your thoughts and prayers, your wondering about the future, whether you will be here or not? Will you spend some time reading up on the history that was referred to yesterday, Kristallnacht, Fascism, the KKK, David Duke, Robert E. Lee, and even the racist legacy of Thomas Jefferson? Most important, will you seek out the persons of color (POC) that you know and check to see how they are doing? Most are feeling eviscerated as these events unfold, and especially as they see the President seem to sanction police violence and other forms of extreme bigotry with a wink and a nod. Will you go to church today? Will you confront your pastor if she doesn't mention Charlottesville? Will you counter words posted on Facebook that in any way support Trump's "many sides" narrative?
If not: don't wonder what you would have done if you'd live in Nazi Germany. This is how it begins. No, I don't think it will happen here. Because I still think Americans are too kind, compassionate and courageous to allow it. But it's way past time to show that conviction.
I was more troubled than anything by the youth of the white supremacists: most were in their twenties. My daughter's age. I am beyond touched by my adult children's anti-racism. No, they are not just "not racist." They would all go to the mat to fight racism and bigotry. My eldest son is particularly big and strong. He's also busy and doesn't follow all the news. Half joking, I texted him early Saturday, and said, I just want to send you to VA to beat up these Nazis! He says, definitely. Then, I have no idea what you are talking about, but I'm always ready to beat up a Nazi (again, kidding, but no hesitation.) His life long best friend is Black, and unlike people's "I have a Black friend," he just lives his beliefs.
My daughter posted a most beautiful statement. She works now and has worked against oppression for many years:
I stand with those in Charlottesville putting their bodies on the line for justice. I name the demonstration in Charlottesville as as domestic terrorism, radical, violent racism, as a hate crime. I stand against white supremacy, though I have and will continue to benefit from it. I am on my knees in prayer.
My youngest child, who is Autistic and would have been destroyed by the Nazis, came to me the other day and said, "I got a new avatar (in Pokemon) and I named her Pansy (a friend from the local Black community) and made her brown, to fight against racism."
This touched me, because I started to think about my kids and how they all four have fought for justice and fairness in a lot of ways, not perfectly, but because they saw a living example of service and involvement. Also, far from perfect. But they see that I never stopped trying.
So, finally, I ask parents to look inward and examine their own behaviors and their own lives, choices, and commitments. This mother of the terrorist who murdered someone with his car was shocked. Really? He even TOLD her he was going to this rally. It's not enough to tell your kids, "Don't be racist." You have to actively teach them, not just with words, but with your choices, your actions, and most important your sacrifice, what that means.