We don’t have to take sides
It’s been almost a week since Charlottesville. I’ve spent the intervening time trying to sort through my initial reaction, my thoughts and the national fallout. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is it necessary to spend all this time calling each other out, skewering everyone with an opinion not in-line with our own? Or would it be better to find common ground, come together to be a force for good? I’m betting, as someone much wiser than me once said, if we give it a chance, we’ll find we have much more in common that we think.
We don’t have to take sides.
I can denounce and condemn the white supremacists’ twisted, evil ideology and their abhorrent “protest.”
That doesn’t mean I support the Antifa or #BLM response.
I can reject the anti-fascist tactics of violence and urine-flinging and know that this behavior will never, in any way, change beliefs on either side.
That doesn’t mean I agree with neo-nazis.
They say that the only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
I agree with that, but nobody gets to tell me what my vision of “not nothing” should be.
For Tina Fey, it’s eating sheet cake. Which appears to be code for: turn your back on the tantrum-throwers long enough and they will stop. Might just work. It worked with my three year-old.
Tina Fey and I, we don’t quite see eye-to-eye politically.
And I still think she’s hilarious.
I can support our country’s freedom of speech, which grudgingly includes the protection of our citizens who choose to spout bigotry and hate.
That doesn’t mean I’m giving them a pass. It means I won’t give up our freedoms to shut them up. I’m sure there are other ways to shut them up. Not listening to them, and not giving them the same amount of publicity as Miley Cyrus would be a nice starting point.
I don’t have a national platform; I just have my little corner of the world, but I can use it to grow in kindness, love, acceptance, forgiveness and selflessness. To try to be a force for good within my little sphere of influence.
This choice does not make me a Snowflake.
I don’t have to attend an anti-protest rally to prove I abhor white supremacy. I don’t even have to say anything, so long as my actions as a human show what I stand for.
I get to be confused about why a small faction of idiots is allowed to dominate the news cycle for days, about why 99% of the American population already detests and rejects the KKK, and the violent response of the opposition, and yet we’re tearing ourselves apart over Trump and who’s analyzing the situation correctly.
As if there’s a correct analysis. As if any of that matters.
We don’t have to take sides. We are not involved in a schoolyard argument.
Most of us, certainly enough of us, already know right from wrong. The few who are still a little hazy? They’ll catch on eventually or, if they don’t – or won’t – they were never going to be swayed anyway.
What matters is where we take things from here. No matter what the headlines tell us, and even though evil will persist, let’s stop pigeon-holing each other and get out in the world and find the things that unite us. Let’s spend our energy on building up, on helping, on compassion.
So maybe I chose the wrong headline.
Let’s take sides.
Let’s take good’s side.