Words Have Power

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing – Edmund Burke

Ok, so I added women to the quote to make it relevant for 2017.

I know this blog is supposed to be about PULSE but I need to voice my opinion about the heartbreaking events in Charlottesville, and the President of the United States actions, or lack thereof.  If we don’t stand up and fight against what is wrong, then our silence gives implicit solidarity, validation, and legitimacy to events and remarks we know are wrong.  It’s easy to stay silent.  It’s easy to think what difference can one voice make?  What difference can one blog post make?  All I can say to that, is if people stayed silent because it was easy, women would not have the right to vote, we would not have a had a civil rights movement, women would still be good little housewives taking care of their husbands and children instead of working, being gay would still be illegal, as would inter-racial relationships and marriages.  I mean I could go on, but I think you all get my point.  One voice can make a difference.  One voice can inspire a nation.  Look at what Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have A Dream” led to.  One voice can lead to hope, love and inclusiveness, but it can also lead to anger, hate, and divisiveness.

In 2017 it should be the easiest thing in the world for the President of the United States to say racism, bigotry, and hate is wrong.  Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK are evil, repugnant and morally reprehensible.  The fact that it took President Trump 48 hours to condemn neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists, and their actions in Charlottesville is atrocious.  The fact that a day later, the President walked back his repudiation of those same groups is horrific and unconscionable.  This President is so concerned with keeping a small, but significant voter base happy, that he’s turned to appeasing them, and thereby legitimizing them and their movement instead of unequivocally renouncing them, and the evil and hatred they stand for.

This is not a partisan stance I take.  Many Republicans have called out Trump on his stance on Charlottesville.  In fact, there has been a bi-partisan wave of condemnation for the President’s remarks, with the main theme being there is a right, and wrong side, in the events that occurred in Charlottesville.  Any reasonable person knows that the neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are on the wrong side.  By President Trump not explicitly and unambiguously denouncing those groups, he shows that he stands for the hate-filled, vitriolic, and false rhetoric they are spewing.

I understand why Trump was elected, even if I don’t agree with it.  He spoke to a base that felt ignored and marginalized.  He was to be their outsider champion who would swoop in and save the day.  He would bring back jobs and economic security.  He was also a man, because God forbid a woman become President of the United States.  What his supporters did not realize was that they voted in a caricature of a human being.  Someone who was only capable of shouting slogans and incapable of any action to back up his words.  In his six months in office, those same supporters wanted to continue to believe in their President.  I would constantly hear that he was new to the political arena, it had only been six months, he still needed time.  Any time something would happen to call into question the legitimacy of this President, his temperament or his ability for the job, there was always a reason to give him another chance, according to his supporters that is.  I defy anyone right now to defend the President on his indefensible position on Charlottesville.  To do so, is to defend racism, bigotry, and hate.  To do so, is just wrong.

Words matter.  Words have power.  This is something I have said many, many times.  The President of the United States is one of the most powerful voices in the world.  To hear him use that power to defend the reprehensible actions of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacist makes me angry and sad and disappointed all at the same time.  In my wildest imaginings, I never thought this would be a difficult thing for any sane and reasonable person to dispute.

Coming back around to PULSE I think about my own journey in Lesotho.  I am a white woman in a predominantly black country.  I stick out, I’m the minority here, and you know what?  I have never felt that way, or been made to feel that way.  I have never felt that I was the odd one out.  I have always been treated with kindness, respect and inclusiveness.  If we treated immigrants to North America the way I’ve been treated in Lesotho, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

The only positive takeaway I can see from this situation is that many other voices like me, have voiced their displeasure over the President’s remarks.  People are calling the President to account.  While he may not change, he will see that some things are out of bound, even for him.

We are one people, one species.  It doesn’t matter what colour our skin is, what religion we believe in, or what gender we are.  We need to stop the hate.  It’s past time for it to end.

Until next time.

Christina

6 comments

  1. Thank you for having the courage to speak up & share, Christina! I hope all of us can find the courage to speak our conscience and truths, wherever we are in this world. Elie Wiesel: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

  2. These are sad times. I remember exactly what I was doing as votes were being counted in the US and Trump was getting closer and closer to becoming President last November – I was in the middle of my assignment in the Philippines, and once his winning was confirmed, I knew that the United Stats I knew and grew to call home was not going be the same country I would return to. And it’s definitely not – it’s become playground for people who, before leaders like Trump, would either keep their hate to themselves or operate through insignificant underground organizations. Now they’re proud and eager to come out of their caves. Thanks for speaking up, and as you’re going thru this volunteering program, one thing you can def trust is that doing good needs no borders. You’re very far from home, learning and supporting a community that’s very different from yours – and that’s ok, cause we are better when we’re together. Keep up the good energy, Christina!

    1. Thanks Lucas. I know I was so sad when Trump got elected. I was in state of shock that it actually happened. The only good thing I can see is that people are standing up and standing against this hatred. I believe love will win over hate. Thanks for the support.

  3. You go, Girl! Way to speak your truth. I couldn’t agree with you more!! I’ve been struggling with this President and especially the events in Charlottesville. I tend to avoid conflict so have been relatively quiet about what I am feeling. I am also a reflector and need a bit of time to digest and comprehend everything (though I will admit I did slam our Trump ‘Dammit Doll’ quite few times on the counter!). Truth be told, I can’t comprehend a damn thing with this President! LOL! I’m tired of Facebook posts and 24 hours news networks complaining about him. What is that accomplishing other than making me feel crappy and putting me in a bad mood?!? I am trying to choose my attitude every day because I don’t want to be consumed with negativity and hate but it is so hard! So the question I’ve been asking myself is “What exactly am I going to do about everything that is going on in this world? How can I make a difference?” It’s one thing to complain, but what ACTION can I take?? How can I/WE make the world a better place? How do I become the change I want to see in the world?? So here’s what I am doing: I’ve participated in our democratic process of elections by helping candidates get the signatures they need to run for office. I volunteered to be co-Chair of our HS lacrosse booster club. I volunteer with the HS football booster club. I am Chair of a University Advisory Board for leadership and organizational development (volunteer). And on occasion I buy someone behind me their morning coffee at Wawa. I can’t change what President Trump does or says but I can immediately and positively impact the community around me by sharing my time and talents. In the process, I hope I am a good role model to my kids and community; I hope I spread positivity and hope; and I hope I get the opportunity to interact with people who have different views, perspectives and experiences so I can be more empathetic. Most importantly, I will vote and I will stump for the candidate I feel best represents my values and who I think will be better for our country. So I leave everyone with a challenge: What will YOU do to make the world a better place?

    1. Wow Lo that’s awesome!! That’s a great attitude to have. I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s so easy for us to fall in this wave of apathy when we see what our elected leaders are doing, or not doing. Instead it becomes even more important to be the change we want to see in the world. Thank you.

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