The news coverage told the story, focusing on the passionate orderly chants of alt-right white supremacist groups who’d gathered for what was being called the “Unite the Right” rally. There was an equally passionate response from an unorganized mass of opposition protesters who’d arrived, united by their outrage at this overt display of racism. The atmosphere was explosive, the stage was set for legacies to be made, for new heroes of human rights to be born and for history to repeat itself as it did with Martin Luther King, Jr.
The alt-right supporters had a defined objective to sound an alarm hoping that their hateful message would infect the media and seep in the caves and crevices of this country and awaken the slumbering ignorant who’d been driven into exile by the tide of true human compassion and progress that is the hallmark of America.
The objective of the counter protestors who turned out in hoards motivated by their emotion and need to defend our decency as a people was not as clearly defined. They wanted to disrupt, derail and simply express the frustration of every person of color in America. It’s clear to me that these white supremacists had concocted a plan to draw the counter-protestors into a physical confrontation. They showed up equipped with racist taunts, homophobic slander, helmets, shields, and all manner of weapons including assault rifles. The raw emotion of the counter-protestors was used against them as they fell into the trap; hook, line and sinker…
These men and women of all racial backgrounds armed only with their good will and “fight the good fight, stand for whats right” attitude were out maneuvered by the cunning physical manifestation of hate and evil known as the alt-right. Taking lessons out of history from the playbook of the most influential man to ever stand against this very same enemy and beat it. We must turn to the wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought the same battle and won at the cost of his own life.
He gave himself fully; mind, body, and soul to this cause so that should this beast ever rear its foul head again the true and good people of this nation would have the blueprint, the map, the secret to defeating it. Martin understood that there were two battles happening simultaneously. One was the physical confrontation of human body where people would physically collide in the street and that there would be pain and bloodshed, even the possibility of death; but he also understood that the real battle, the ultimate war was a war against the ideology of racism and equality. This idealogical war was where the change needed to be made, with clear and absolute understanding of these two different fields of play Martin made the choice to sacrifice the physical battle allowing the physical brutality of himself and those who marched with him for the sake of winning the war of ideas. They lost the battle to win the war.
His vision and ideology prevailed because you cannot fight hate with hate. He destroyed prejudice with love, patience, sacrifice and understanding. Those are the tools of engagement that were needed on that Saturday in charlottesville, VA. Where a woman who stood for love and equality was murdered and 19 others were injured before the carnage ceased.
If Martin were standing above with a birds eye view he’d have shed a tear of sadness at the fact that this proud country to which he sacrificed himself had forgotten his lesson. I am not proud to say this but sadly this is not the end, these hateful racists view Charlottesville as a victory over equality and democracy. Compound that with the newfound empowerment they feel from Donald Trumps rhetoric and it’s clear that this cancer of racism is once again growing. As we speak they are organizing and preparing new stages to display their ideology. We the just and true, the righteous of this country cannot afford to play their game.
We must do as Michelle Obama said so famously, “When they go low we must go high. When they project hatred we project love. When they spit, curse and even attack us we must stay the course of peace, tolerance and truth.” This is Martins lesson. This is how Mr. King defeated this demon in the past and this is how we will defeat it now. Our intelligence and peace will highlight their ignorance and violence.
If we forget the lessons of the past, we are doomed to repeat them. America must stand in peace against the ignorance of the past.
This post is dedicated to Heather Heyer who lost her life that day.