The Charlottesville incident has social media lit up like a Christmas tree in the middle of the street with political anger. Moderates yell, "No one is logical anymore! There is just too much craziness from the left and the right!" Liberals scream, "How can the President equate the alt right and the alt left as moral equals?" "You have to be crazy to think that!" And the Conservatives? They are fighting one another as they rant, "Drain the swamp!" "I'm sick of these snowflakes!" or "Our President is not showing moral authority against white supremacy!"
So I ask, "Why isn't anyone calm?"
Racism is a deeply emotional issue on all sides. I have never seen so much crying on the network news. While delivering the endless editorials, panels and opinion masquerading as news (aka the 24 hour news cycle) news hosts were crying openly at FOX. The tears are rolling at CNN. I do not know what is happening at MSNBC because after watching so many other professionals crying at work, I am afraid to tune in.
Let's recap what happened in Charlottesville. A white supremacist group flew its members into the town where they do not live to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Their planned protest included some Nazi sympathizers - all identified themselves as alt-right. About 1,000 of these folks planned to do a peaceful event. They wore riot gear, carried bully clubs, dressed in fatigues, while others carried tiki torches. Their security forces carried guns. Meanwhile a group of about 1,000 people from antifa and BLM arrived in the town where they also do not live to counter the protest of the white supremacist group. They too planned for peace with some carrying balloons filled with ink, others who brought pepper spray and a few carrying sticks. These were identified by others as alt-left. Most were merely left. There is a difference.
The police did not keep the groups separate. Consequently, fights broke out between small contingencies of both groups. Finally a huge brawl broke out between both groups and then someone drove a car into some people who were injured and one who died.
We have heard about how the alt-right is to blame. National consensus rises that white supremacy is abhorrent. We all agree. Then we heard from the White House how the alt-left is to blame. Our president delivers an ill-timed opinion. Racism seems like it is taking over everywhere. Again! And then..
A group called VDARE planned an event to be held in Colorado Springs at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. When the news broke everyone asked "Who is VDARE?" They say of themselves, "VDARE is a nonprofit foundation promoting VDARE.com - an anti-immigration hate website." They say, "America was defined - as a white nation, for white people, and what that means is that there is virtually no figure, no law, no policy, no event in the history of the old, white America that can survive the transition to the new and non-white version." Draw your own conclusion about this organization.
Many sections of our community were beside themselves with anger. Agreement begins to take hold in many quarters that Colorado Springs does not need the kind of brawl that happened in Charlottesville. Moderates say, "We need safety." Liberals say, "We must unite." Conservatives say. "We are a law and order city." All say, "Not in my city!" Our mayor quietly releases a dignified statement refusing to support the event but upholding the First Amendment rights of all involved. Organizing on social media the outraged Springs community represented by both progressives, moderates and conservatives manages to get the event canceled before it happens.
Our citizens laid aside their differences and created order, safety and continued quality of life. Racism didn't make us crazy. We didn't fight. No riots. Maybe in our city, we have more in common than we think. Who knows? We could keep on solving problems without losing the identity of our different groups.and proudly agree and wear the mantle of American as well. We shall see.
Rachel Stovall is a longtime community advocate and organizer. Also a fundraising, media and marketing consultant, Rachel is most known for singing with her dance band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors.