Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things I Never Thought Would Need To Be Said

White supremacy is wrong.

Nazis are evil. All of them.

Misogyny is disgusting.

Antisemitism is unacceptable.

White people are capable of committing terrorism.

Christians are capable of committing terrorism.

Hurting or killing people for standing up to white supremacy is terrorism.

This cannot be ignored or accepted.

Following up any of the above statements with a clause that begins with "but" is unhelpful at best and reprehensible at worst.

Refusing to unequivocally agree to all of the above makes you a bad person.

To my white friends, please don't delude yourself into thinking that what is happening in our country is not your problem to fix.

To my nonwhite or Jewish or any other targeted friends, please know that this white man believes all of the above and is willing to fight for it as well.

In To Kill A Mockingbird, shortly after Tom Robinson is found guilty of a crime he didn't commit, Jem looks to his dad, exasperated, shocked that this level of injustice and racism can possibly exist. His juvenile thoughts are transcribed into a simplistic declaration:

"It ain't right, Atticus."

Atticus, wiser than his child, spends no time attempting to comfort or explain the complexity or offer an explanation for how that climate could have existed. He doesn't say, "true, Jem, but . . ."

His response is a lesson to us all.

"No, son. It's not right."

I don't know exactly what we're all supposed to do. But I do think one of the best things we can do today is be willing to repeatedly and unequivocally state the simple truths. State them often. State them whenever the topic is brought up.

State them to your friends who agree with those simple truths so they don't become disillusioned that maybe they are in the minority.

State them for your friends who don't think stating those simple truths matters very much so they might start to wonder if these statements actually do matter.

State them for your friends who disagree with those simple truths, if you have such friends, so they know where you stand. And so they don't start to think that hate is gaining greater momentum than it really is.

And when your friends attempt to dilute those statements with a declaration of "but many sides" or "but other groups are violent, too," or "but anything at all," don't let them get away with it. Turn the conversation back to the simplicity of rebuking white supremacists and nazis.

Do it because this matters. Do it because your voice is needed. Do it because the leader of your country is causing harm by not doing it and it's your responsibility as a person who believes in humanity to counteract his moral bankruptcy.

Do it because we cannot hand a country to the next generation in good conscience if that country has become a place where "white supremacy is wrong" is a controversial statement.

Do it because love without action is meaningless.

Do it because what happened this week and how the president responded to it simply ain't right.

~It Just Gets Stranger

42 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. I'm sorry, I couldn't make it through more than a third of the video. My great uncle died in Dachau. One of my sons is Roma. My family and friends consist of a wide variety of ethnicities and creeds. Seeing how much all of these people who I love are *hated* by these angry, miserable individuals is literally sickening.

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  2. On the Fourth of July I had my daughters read Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream speech" and it hurts my heart how far we still have to go.

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  3. This may be my favorite reference I've ever seen to To Kill a Mockingbird. I never realized how powerful Atticus's words really were there.

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  4. I needed to hear these words today. Thanks, Eli.

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  5. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". John-8. Eli, you might be able to claim that only the "white Nazi's" are to blame here except that the others at the event were also showing violent behavior. All of the groups that attended have a history of violence so the quote of Christ speaking to those at the temple apply to all the group's that were at the event. You can be angry at the site's only but you're not correct in doing so. Like it or not Trumps comments were accurate in that all should stop the violence.

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    1. I don't know what else I can tell you, Mike, other than to refer you to what I've written above.

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    2. Here, Eli. I'll help:

      White supremacy is wrong.

      Nazis are evil. All of them.

      Misogyny is disgusting.

      Antisemitism is unacceptable.

      White people are capable of committing terrorism.

      Christians are capable of committing terrorism.

      Hurting or killing people for standing up to white supremacy is terrorism.

      This cannot be ignored or accepted.

      Following up any of the above statements with a clause that begins with "but" is unhelpful at best and reprehensible at worst.

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    3. http://www.wbtv.com/story/36139058/nc-kkk-leader-im-glad-that-girl-died-during-virginia-protest

      These are the people you are defending. Your lack of empathy is astounding.

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  6. Great post - I shared it on FB because I've been having trouble putting into words how I'm feeling and you pretty much summarized it for me

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  7. All noble words, Eli, and here comes your *favorite* word....... BUT people are people, they will not change unless/until their hearts change.

    We, and by *we* I mean the collective 'we', can only affect any change by setting examples, and raising our little humans to agree that "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL men are created equal". And lest any of my sisters get riled; I didn't write it, I'm only quoting ladies.

    Sadly, ON BOTH FECKING SIDES of this issue, there are those that do their best to point fingers, to deny any culpability, to sidestep issues.

    It shouldn't matter to the collective *we*, because *we* know that we are doing our best to be the humans God intended, and Jesus tasked us with being.

    Let's also be mindful of something here - this recent stupidity and the tragic losses it led to, was perpetrated by roughly 300-400 people. There are SEVEN BILLION people in the world, and 320 million or so live in the U.S. So, we're not talking about a majority here. Let's not panic.

    Ignore the foolish, listen to the wise, and teach your children. That is all any of us can do.

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  8. Thank you, Eli.

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  9. Hell.to.the.YES!

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  10. Since I can't say "but" because you've already said that would be unhelpful or reprehensible, can I just ask if the opposite were true and a white supremacist had been killed, would that also be terrorism? I agree with every sentiment you stated: no "but" needed. I hate their way of thinking, but does that give me or anyone the right to go looking for/starting a fight with them that could very easily end in deaths or riots? If I disagree with what you think or who you are, is that reason to justify violence against you? I'm honestly asking so no need to attack me. I'm disgusted that those groups exist. I'm torn about protecting our freedom of speech when it allows them to congregate, fly a nazi flag and chant a message of hate. I wish that a civil approach could be taken or that a change of heart could happen for them. I do see that both sides came prepared for or looking for a fight and THAT blame should be shared. The blame for being ignorant, racist asses lies with the white supremacists.

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    1. Your last sentence basically states my answer. Yes, anyone is capable of terrorism. Terrorism against bad people would still be terrorism. My hope is that violence is never the approach to disagreement. But we literally fought a world war against Nazis because we disagreed with them, and I'm glad that my country did. There obviously comes a point where violence is required to protect innocent people from terrible ideology. I don't think last weekend was it, or even close to it.

      But to be clear, today my point is that white supremacy is evil. We need to be able to simply say that without followup. I don't want that point diluted by tangents.

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    2. Since you asked, I will respond. However, it is a very charged issue, so please give me the benefit of the doubt and try not to be offended.

      The point of Eli and America's outrage with Trump and statement's like the above is that in this instance, there is no ambiguity. What happened was wrong. We can talk about hypotheticals, but at the end of the day, neo-Nazi's killed a woman. That is unequivically wrong. There is absolutely no need to justify a Nazis actions.

      To your quote, "If I disagree with what you think or who you are, is that reason to justify violence against you?". I understand what you are trying to say. The world is often times not black and white. But in this specific instance, to try and say there is a grey area makes me seriously question your moral clarity. Unlike many other scenarios and hypothetical situations, it is black and white. Nazis killed a woman. Why can't we all say that it is bad? Sure, there are many other situations where both sides can be at fault, but this is the one situation where we can categorically say the Nazis are the bad ones, for the sheer fact that they are Nazis. If you cannot stand up and say, "the Nazis are at fault" in this very black and white situation, then it makes me question your ability to see what is right and what is wrong on anything. That is why we are upset and alarmed.

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    3. "
      As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.

      And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.

      Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans." Pres. Trump

      Looks pretty straightforward a condemnation as can be.

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    4. Awesomesauciness, did you see yesterday's press conference? He walked back all of those statements that someone had written for him previously. It was vile.

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    5. Yesterday's press conference made me literally sick to my stomach.

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    6. When even Mitch McConnell is upset with the President for referring to some neo-nazis as "good guys," you know the president f-d the f-ing f up.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mitch-mcconnell-trump-neo-nazis-charlottesville_us_599455b2e4b009141641b78f

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    7. He's a counter-puncher, guys...he felt attacked and so yeah he completely effed up the message, yet again.

      This is what you were trying to avoid, too. See how your jab about the statements is inflammatory? Stick to the facts, counselor. Do not assume Mr. Trump has statements written for him simply because the media wishes you to believe that (yes I heard that too). We don't know who writes his statements/speeches and it could easily come from him.

      You want to believe he cannot be sincere, because it fits your narrative.

      I cannot defend Mr. Trump, and I won't try, but I can understand him and dispassionately parse his words and actions.


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    8. While I agree that WHITE SUPREMACY IS EVEIL, we fought a World War against Nazis because they invaded and outright slaughtered people. We didn't fight the war because of their ideology, but because they acted upon it in the most heinous way. We don't fight the war against Islamic terrorists because they hate Westerners and the God some of us serve. We fight because they have taken their stance and killed us for it. It is deplorable that there is still a population that believes the way they do, but one Nazi drove a car into a group of protestors and I would NEVER blame the innocent people who came to peacefully protest that were injured by him. The whole group wasn't behind the wheel though and not everyone from the anti-protestors were peaceful. I can judge these things separately. I can judge the white nationalist and think him abhorrent and vile. The question for me is whether that thought can be separate and still say that there is blame to be shared for the other violence and skirmishes that happened last weekend at this rally. I'm looking at the weekend as a whole and not that one instance of violence. Perhaps that is where I'm viewing this differently. I too would have liked for him to take a tougher stance against that way of thinking, but I don't believe he was inherently wrong for saying "both sides share some blame" for the violence.

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    9. I want to try to close this thread with this:

      White supremacy is wrong.

      Nazis are evil. All of them.

      Misogyny is disgusting.

      Antisemitism is unacceptable.

      White people are capable of committing terrorism.

      Christians are capable of committing terrorism.

      Hurting or killing people for standing up to white supremacy is terrorism.

      This cannot be ignored or accepted.

      Following up any of the above statements with a clause that begins with "but" is unhelpful at best and reprehensible at worst.

      Refusing to unequivocally agree to all of the above makes you a bad person.

      Delete
    10. Thanks, Anonymous. Couldn't have said it better myself. Oh wait. PLAGIARISM!

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  11. I wish this kind of post didn't need to be written, but here we are. Thank you for putting it into words.

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  12. I will never read that part of TKAMB the same way again. Thank you.

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  13. Thank you for this. Agree with every single word.

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  14. This black woman appreciates this more than you can know and wishes that a couple of the commentors here could walk in my shoes for a little while and see what they think about "but many sides."

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  15. Here I sit at work, watching the you tube video and reading your post, and all the comments, and I can't stop weeping. Would I be brave enough to take a stand? Would I allow my daughters to take a stand? I've taught them right from wrong, and to stand up for what is right. This is terrifying. I like to believe I would be at the protest.

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  16. I love you even more now. Thank you.

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  17. Well said! I usually giggle at your posts, but this one is different. Thanks for so clearly writing your thoughts and sharing with us all.

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  18. The events of Charlottesville and the ensuing coverage has left me rudderless. Reading Eli's words yesterday gave me an anchor. But rereading this thread to see comments of support for how the POTUS handled the tragedy, has made me want to say this: Nazi symbols have been banned in Germany. According to a Vox article: "...The only Nazi imagery you’ll find is in exhibits devoted to understanding the horror of the period..."
    The events of this past weekend should serve to remind us of the horror of the period of the Nazis and the horror of the era of slave owners, the horror of the era of Jim Crow laws.
    I felt that horror when I watched the Vice clip, I felt like I was watching a horror movie. But it was real. What happened was real. A person died, people were injured.
    And you are right Eli, it ain't right.

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  19. Eli, Thank you so much for posting this. I usually read your posts to lighten up my day but this is exactly what I needed to read today. More people need to unapologetically stand for what is right. We can't just sit by and do nothing. We can't allow our children to be raised in a world where this kind of evil is condoned. There is a quote that says something like "I always wondered why somebody didn't do something about that, until I realized I was somebody." We all have to do our best to stand for right in our little corner of the world. Thanks for doing your part in yours.

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  20. Isn't what was happening in the middle east with ISIS removing and destroying historical statues over there, happening over here with the 'non-hate groups' attacking, defacing, and destroying historical statues? How can it be bad over there, but applauded over here. Instead of calling out these people our media is supporting the erasing of American history. The civil war happened, slavery happened and is still happening, we can't erase that from our history but we can rise above the hate, learn from it, and do better. Both sides of this turned ugly when the mud was flung, everyone got dirty. Picking at scabs only leaves scars.

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    1. The reason we hate ISIS is that they chop people's heads off. The two aren't comparable.

      Also, you mention that we should learn from it. As a genuine learning exercise, ask yourself why do you sympathize in similar ways with white supremacists as you do with people being subjugated by ISIS. I'm not calling you a white supremacist, I just think you should look more closely at your immediate feelings on the subject and question why you feel that way.

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    2. I agree with you. The historical statues should not be destroyed, toppled over ruthlessly and defiled. They should be calmly and respectfully removed, with their brief identifying placards, and placed in museums and the story of the civil war told, the battle described, so the context behind these 'fine generals' who tore our country apart to preserve slavery can be appreciated. So we can learn and not repeat the past.

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    3. Most of these monuments were erected during the Jim Crow era as a nice little FU to enforce the whites perceived righteousness in segregation and and to thumb their noses at the civil rights movement. I agree with Orange Blossom, placing them in museums that explain them in context so we can learn from our mistakes instead of glorifying them.

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    4. Orange Blossom and The Suzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, I'm sometimes late to some comments because I have help in moderating them. I second and third your comments a thousand fold. Thank you.

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