From my friend, Nikkita –
I cried today.
I cried for my family, my town, my country.
I cried for our world.
I cried for people I love. People that love me.
I cried as I listened to our president justify hate.
I wept today.
I wept as I saw my cousin, my beautiful biracial cousin, crumble in my arms.
I wept as she asked why, why, why
I wept because I don’t know why
I wept as she asked if he, her president, cared at all
As she asked how he could defend them
Defend those bigots
Defend those racists
I wept as she asked wasn’t she worth loving
Worth caring about by the man who holds the highest office in our land.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know.
I screamed today.
I screamed in my head, so loudly, because my vocal chords can’t.
I screamed as the president tore down reporters
I screamed as people defended his behavior
I screamed as the replays of disgusting people chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” filled the screen.
I cried today.
I cried because I don’t recognize my government
I don’t recognize my nation
I cried because these are the groups, the very same groups,
That believe my Jewish grandmother
My black cousin
My gay best friend
My disabled friends
Should be cleansed off this earth and
The president defended them.
They aren’t good people.
Never good people.
For if you are not a Nazi
But can protest with a Nazi
And chant their chants
And stand and say nothing
You are worse.
Worse than the Nazi
Worse than the KKK
Worse than their hate
Because you claim to not be filled with hate
But you stood there. You stood there.
And you said nothing.
I wept today
For my country, my world.
I wanted to smile
To be joyful
Full of love
But not today.
Today I cried.
I FIGHT BACK.
I will fight hate with love
Bigotry with acceptance
Racism with inclusion
Ethnic cleansing with diversity
And terror with peace.
I FIGHT BACK
I will fight back with my voice
I FIGHT BACK
By saying no
By insisting that my government say no
By demanding equal rights
I FIGHT BACK
By refusing to let this go
We can’t let this go
We can’t normalize this hatred
We can’t pretend.
Pretending got us here.
Pretending he would change
Got us a president
Who defends Nazis.
I cried today
Tomorrow I might smile
And the next day I might laugh
But not today.
Today I cried
Because tears and outrage
Horror and Disgust
They are the only correct reaction.
I cried today.
Tomorrow I fight.
The next day I love
And the world WILL change
You and me
And everyone good
Will not forget
In memory of Heather Heyer, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates
What are these people so afraid of? Do they really think the Jews are going to try to “replace” them? What does that even mean? Replace them, how? Do they really think the “liberal snowflake lefties” are going to rise up and ambush them in their sleep and then… what?… force them to watch foreign films with sub titles or something? Make them eat tofu? I mean… seriously…? The people I saw armed with guns in Charlottesville were not the snowflakes. It wasn’t the left-wing ministers and priests standing elbow to elbow, talking of love and fellowship, who had the AK-47s, or who drove a car into a crowd of people. Or who killed anyone.
Sorry. I’m a little fired up at the moment…
Yes, our country needs to unite – but not behind the KKK, the NAZIs, or our current President.
And yes, Love is the answer. But Love shouldn’t be confused with that fear-based thing where we stop ourselves from doing and saying what we know needs to be done and said because we’re afraid of “making waves” or we’re afraid of confrontation. Sometimes evil needs to be confronted and called out. We need to love. We don’t need to appease. We don’t need to placate, mollify, or pacify. If someone’s feelings are hurt because we happen to disagree with them – that shouldn’t stop us from saying and doing what we know is right. We shouldn’t let ourselves be controlled by others like that. That’s not Love. That’s being a chicken schit.
“Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error’s advocate…Attempts to conciliate society and so gain dominion over mankind, arise from worldly weakness….If you venture upon the quiet surface of error and are in sympathy with error, what is there to disturb the waters? What is there to strip off error’s disguise?”
– Mary Baker Eddy
“Here’s the thing: If you’re with a group of people and they’re chanting things like ‘Jews will not replace us’ and you don’t immediately leave that group, you are not a very fine person.”
– Jimmy Kimmel
Great Jimmy Kimmel video clip here.
Today it hurts to be human – to see my fellow men and women hating on people just because of the color of their skin or the place they were born. My heart weeps.
Today I was remembering how you stood up to the racist man in the Sears store when I was just a little girl. As a black family walked by, the bigot turned to you – expecting probably to get agreement from a fellow white person – and said, loud enough so the family could hear, “Those people should stay in their own part of town.” And I remember how your face turned red with indignation and you almost shook with the fury you felt, and you said, “That family has as much right to be here as you or me!” And I was so proud to be your daughter.
I remembered the day Dad wanted to visit his old home in a part of Los Angeles that most white people would have probably avoided then – I remembered how Dad knocked on the door of his old house, and the look on Pearl’s face as she saw him standing on her front stoop. Dad explained this was his childhood home and asked if he could come in and look around – and Pearl opened the door wide for him and shook his hand, and welcomed him in. And I remember the young black men who opened the door for my dad 42 years later, when he was 98 and living in a retirement home – I remembered how Dad made a special effort to turn and thank them, and how they said it was no problem and wished him a good day. And I was so proud to be his daughter.
And today a young black man and I were so polite to each other in the bank – “No, you first… No, really, YOU first… No, I insist…” – that I started laughing at the pair of us – my heart just so full of his kindness and generosity that I wanted to hug him. And later there was a black man who crossed the street in front of me when I stopped for him, and turned to thank me, and saw me smiling back at him, and smiled and waved. And later still – at the teriyaki place – there was the Asian man with the beautiful smile who had to reach in front of me to get the soy sauce – and he apologized and excused himself – and I joked with him: “No, you can’t have it.” And he started laughing with me. And the simple beauty of these encounters was just so poignant today – as on the other side of my nation racists hurl their fear and hatred out into the world – that I felt myself tearing up.
You and Dad showed me how to open my heart up and feel the pain and love of others and, though sometimes it hurts terribly, I would not have it any other way. I’m grateful for this gift of empathy. Thank you, Moz.
I love you.
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Years ago, when I was a teenager maybe, I remember seeing a Star Trek episode that showed a man who was half-black and half-white in a struggle with another man who was half-black and half-white – they were enemies because of their color – and I remember looking at them, thinking, “But… they’re BOTH half-black and half-white… what’s the issue here?” And at the end of the episode we finally see that the reason they’re enemies is because one of them is white on the right side of his body, and the other is white on the left side of his body, and… yeah… I remember thinking how absolutely ridiculous it all was for them to hate each other just because they were colored differently on different sides. But it is, of course, no more ridiculous than hating someone just because they’re all ONE color, and that color is different than ours.
The summer after I graduated from high school – which was about ten years after the Watts Riots – I traveled with my dad to California. Dad had grown up in Los Angeles, and he wanted to revisit his old neighborhood and see his childhood home once again. As we drove the streets to his old home, I noticed that we were the only white faces in a several-mile radius.
Dad pulled up in front of a little house, and his face lit up – “This was my home!” he said, getting out of the car. I followed him to the front door, where an African-American woman wearing a house-dress and a really surprised look on her face, appeared. Dad explained that he’d grown up in this house and asked if he could come in and take a look around and go out into the backyard where he’d played as a child. The woman smiled graciously and opened her door for us and allowed us into her home. I followed Dad through the house and out into the backyard where there was still the avocado tree he remembered from his childhood. He looked around, said it seemed smaller than he’d remembered it, and started talking about the happy years he’d spent in this yard as a child. Then he went back through the house, shook the woman’s hand, and thanked her for letting him re-visit his old home. Still looking kind of surprised to find these friendly white people traipsing through her house, she smiled back at dad, and told him he was welcome and it was no problem at all.
A block or so later Dad pulled into a gas station to fill the tank up, and a black attendant came out to help us (this was in the days before people filled up their own cars with gas). He had that same surprised look on his face as the woman in Dad’s old house. He smiled, and filled up our tank for us, and, as we were ready to leave, said in a friendly way, a big smile on his face, “Come back again!”
Every time I think of this trip through that neighborhood in Los Angeles I start grinning. I’m pretty sure we were the only white people in years who’d come nonchalantly driving through that section of Los Angeles. I remember the surprised hospitality of the gas station attendant and the woman living in Dad’s old house, and it fills me up with a kind of joy. I remember my dad – totally oblivious to the fact that he was in a part of Los Angeles that most white people might find threatening – happily traveling down “Memory Lane”, shaking hands with the woman in his old house, greeting the gas station attendant with an open, natural smile – and it makes me really proud to be his daughter.
I am, likewise, proud to be my mother’s daughter. When I was a little girl – maybe eight or so – Mom took my little brothers and me shopping at the local mall. As we were looking at clothes a young African-American family walked by, also shopping. A large middle-aged white man standing near us turned to Mom and said something like, “Those people should stay in their own part of town.” My mom looked up at him, puzzled – she didn’t know what he was talking about at first. He pointed to the African-American family and repeated what he’d said. When my mom finally understood what he was talking about her face turned red with indignation. She looked up at him from her height of 5’2″ and, her voice shaking with emotion, said, “That family has as much right to be here as you or me! We are all God’s children!” The white man realized then that he’d picked the wrong person to share his racism with, and sort of stepped back and disappeared from the store.
I’m really grateful to have been raised by parents for whom the color of peoples’ skin was a non-issue, and kindness towards everyone was considered natural and normal.
Thou to whose power our hope we give,
Free us from human strife.
Fed by Thy love divine we live,
For Love alone is Life;
And life most sweet, as heart to heart
speaks kindly when we meet and part.
– Mary Baker Eddy
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
To the folks driving the truck through the Fred Meyer parking lot – a big beautiful flag of the U.S. flying on the one side, and an equally big flag of the Confederacy flying on the other –
I don’t know how to break this to you, but someone’s got to do it, and I guess it might as well be me: The Civil War ended more than 150 years ago. The Confederacy lost. The slaves were freed, slavery was made illegal, and people of all races and ethnicities are now viewed as equal according to the laws of the land.
Just thought you should know. In case… you know… you didn’t.
Alrighty. Carry on then…