Lots of folks have lots of insightful things to say about what happened over this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m not going to repeat those. I instead want to express a hope of mine.
For the most part in my blog, I wish to present insights after considering multiple sides of an issue. But in the wake of President Trump’s comment on the events of this weekend. In the wake of accusations about false equivalencies and the like. I feel I should challenge one segment of our culture specifically. And remind us all of some old sayings.
First up. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Someone else doing something wrong does not make it all right for me to do something wrong. It’s bad on both our parts.
Second up. “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” That’s not quite it.
“I am heartily tired of hearing about what [X] is going to do…Go back …, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what [X] is going to do.” Nope. Not quite it either.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” That’s closer.
We don’t have control of other people’s actions. We do have control over our own. Fixing things starts right there. With us addressing issues within ourselves. Not passing the buck on to others.
Throughout the last year I have encouraged folks on either side of the political divide to not passively sit around, assured that everything they believe is A-OK. Question. Challenge. Push. Where we can do better, we should.
For example, I have challenged myself to be more proactive, less passive, on this whole issue of racism. I have recognized that merely being “not one of those guys” wasn’t enough. The question was not what “they” were doing. It’s what I was doing.
Those white supremacists and Nazis who demonstrated in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend did so as part of a gathering they called “Unite the Right”. They saw themselves as mainstream Right and mainstream Conservatives. Or, at least, tried to tell the rest of the nation that they were. I don’t believe that to be true.
And so, I have a plea. I would love for the majority of folks who identify themselves as Right or Conservative to prove them wrong. To show those ugly souled folks and everyone else that such an assumption is false.
That means more than merely saying, “That’s not who we are”. It’s demonstrating it. Through words. Deeds. And active rejection of such extremely hateful ideologies. No “But that group there is doing…” No “Well I never marched with them…” Those are excuses. That’s about what others are doing. That’s defining ourselves only in terms of others’ behavior. We don’t control others’ actions. We do control our own.
I don’t know if that proof will occur. But I hope that it will. That’s something I would like to see come out of this. I want to believe folks are better than what I saw yesterday. That Right and Conservative ideologies, once reflected in a spectrum, are not so far to one side of things now that all they do is put forth close-mindedness and hatred. So, come on folks. Show me my faith is justified.
Let’s not just define ourselves as good by not being with the bad. Let’s define ourselves as good because we do good and reject the bad.