August 16

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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