It's not what we do in times of peace and tranquility that defines us, it is what we do in times of crisis that makes history and explains us to ourselves and our posterity.
I usually try to avoid politics in these pages, which some have told me they find odd and out of character for an old outspoken hippy who was a twice elected politician and former publisher of several underground/over-ground political publications.
As most of you know I live in Charlottesville, Va. I am an immigrant coming south to live a little over five years ago from upstate New York. I have lived in many places both urban and rural. Charlottesville suits Carol and me, and we love living here. It is a thoughtful, lovely community rich in multiculturalism, arts, music, history and natural beauty. I enjoy living here more than anywhere else I have lived.
Yesterday that peace was temporally blown-up. We were invaded by self-proclaimed Nazis. They came here to disrupt a peaceful community and do as much harm as they could. They came with hate, helmets, shields and weapons. They came to "kill" our unity and ended up killing one of our citizens and grievously wounding dozens of others.
They succeeded in their mission far beyond their expectations. How so? They were endorsed by the President of the United States as co-equals. The Nazis were grossly and intentionally conflated with the peaceful defenders of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all by an ignoramus. I could go into writing pages of my outrage for the infant-king we are now saddled with. I could dissect his every infantile move of the last two years leading up to the recent, but sadly not the last, disgrace. But I won't.
I write this rant to try to reconcile and understand my own feelings and share my disgust. It didn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way. Hate is obviously historic. Was there ever a time when it wasn't present somewhere, in some place or another? It is a sad reminder that with all the progress humanity has made in the last millennium we still have pockets of venom.
But we also have peaceful people promoting saneness and global love for one another. I suggest that there is more love in this world than hate. And except for unusual times and unusual circumstances love, family and community is trending in a rational and stable direction. The exceptions come when so called leaders take advantage of people's weaknesses in a grab at fame and power. We as a nation suffer from such a seizure of power.
We have leadership, if you can call it that, that actually promotes bigotry. We have a government that has a Nazi named Sebastian Gorka in the inner circle advising Trump. He is a White House adviser who says, "People should stop criticizing white supremacists so much." We also have Steve Bannon who was a founding member of the board of Breitbart News, an online far-right news, opinion and commentary website which, according to Philip Elliott and Zeke J. Miller of Time, has "pushed racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic material into the vein of the alternative right."
There are other haters in the White House, but I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. What I am suggesting to us all is that what happened here in Charlottesville is not an aberration nor should it have been unexpected. I expect it to continue, perhaps in your town next. It will continue until our leadership and the unwise rhetoric from the top changes and not a second before.
It has always been up to us to right the wrongs we see before us. We destroyed the external Nazis once before and at a very great cost. What will be the cost this time?
Democracy is a difficult system and veers from time to time to the left or the right. However, we can't continue for much longer on the path we are on or something valuable will soon break that we might not be able to put back together.
We have always regained our senses before. My prayer for us all, for your family and mine, is that we regroup our faith and love in the common man and bring sensibility back to these shores.