Is this what it's like to watch a nation burn?


I've been sitting in front of my laptop trying to work on my new book. For the past two weeks I have been fighting against a nameless, crippling depression, but was hoping to push through it today... Then I opened up the news and the wave came crashing down once again. I've been sitting here, staring at the document and reading the same sentence over and over again as my mind tries to wrap itself around the news about the Nazi carnage in Charlottesville. This sick sourness in my stomach, the nausea, the ache in my very bones — is this the feeling you get when you watch your country burn?

America is no stranger to this type of unbridled hatred towards one another. Throughout our short history as a nation there has always been one group seeking to annihilate another. For every Nazi or KKK member, however, there were always exponentially more who opposed them and fought to take this country to the ideals of embracing ALL who desire to reside here, to make it a safe haven for every ideology, creed, or opinion, no matter if you agreed with it or not. Those that chose to brandish their pitchforks and guns and torches covered their faces for fear of recognition knowing, somewhere within themselves that their code of moral decay and violent tendencies would not be abided. Still our country protected their right to protest, to march, and to spread their venom.

With the ushering in of the Trump regime, those masks have been stripped and that nagging internal voice that kept the hate groups of America in some sort of check has been obliterated as a single hateful old white man condones each and every movement they make.

Never in my lifetime did I think I would ever see this happen. And so very quickly...

I had a pretty unique upbringing when I was an early child. I say "unique" in regards to much of the United States. Austin back in the 80's was a hippie mecca. Were there still crusty old rednecks who grumbled about "those black folks over on the East Side". Yes. There still are, unbelievably, but the movement of international inclusion was the loudest voice of all thanks in large part to the international community at the University of Texas.

My first elementary school was Matthews Elementary. I can't even remember how many countries I came to awareness about simply from the diversity of the school body there. The school was so proud of this long legacy of diversity that each year we would have an "International Food Day" where families from each country would bring a dish. Tables would line the hallways with cuisine from every corner of the globe. At the age of five I experienced Ethiopian, Thai, Pakistani, Argentinian... so many cultures to boggle the mind. Traditional dances were performed. Kids of every color and creed ran about as parents of equally beautiful distinction conversed casually. I, being a small child, simply thought that that was the way the world was.

My mother would sit me down when we got home after school and explain to me, though, that that was indeed NOT the way the world was or had ever been. Matthews Elementary was an example of how it SHOULD be and that if I wanted the world to be like my school I would forever have to fight for that. There was a book called "America" she had that I found one day. In it were black and white photos of all of the protests that had occurred throughout the 1950's, 60's, and 70's. And in my small child's mind I somehow understood the difference between the little utopia of "International Food Day" and the truth about humanity...

It's a brutal lesson to learn so young, but I suppose it is better than growing up only to be disappointed in humanity later on. I'm really not sure what I'm getting at with this post... These are simply the thoughts that have been cycling through my head all day today.

Perhaps the child in me thought we were getting closer to that little utopia I had always wanted — in the past few years we were getting closer to marriage equality, women's rights equality, wage equality, etc. People were starting to feel optimistic again. And then the election happened and suddenly the sky went dark and the chaos began. It revealed that we as a nation are not getting better. We're not any further ahead. If anything it seems we've regressed a hundred years in six months.

And, perhaps, the source of my dystopian depression is that I don't know where to start fighting because I feel like I'm locked in a house surrounded by pure evil and it's beating the doors down and looking to set the house on fire. And all I'm armed with is a paperclip and a frying pan... And I'm not James Bond.

The saddest element of the Charlottesville horrors is that violence is being met with violence which will beget more violence. I saw a video of the Nazi ranks lining the sidewalks around the park armed with machine guns and shot guns in flak jackets and fatigues. I saw another video where a car tore through a crowd of people with the intentions of killing, but "luckily" only injured a few...

And our "president" does nothing.

I'm feeling pretty hopeless about America these days. Please comment below and let me know how you're coping with this, because I'm not...

And THIS is why we fight against Nazis...

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