Charlottesville: be thankful you are not them

Five years ago this week, Nazis, white nationalists, the KKK, and other hate groups gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia for what they called the “Unite the Right” rally. In particular, they were there to there to protest the removal of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the campus of the University of Virginia.

They marched carrying tiki torches to emulate the Nazi marches of Hitler’s Germany in the 1930’s and early 1940’s.

They chanted things like “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and soil.”

Just like they did 8 decades ago.

When counter-protesters arrived, one of the white nationalists drove their car into them, injuring 19 and killing 32 year old Heather Heyer.

It is justified and appropriate to be repulsed and disgusted by them. 

Here is another perspective:

Be thankful that you are not them.

Be thankful to the family that raised you better; the mentors, friends, positive influences that taught you to love not hate. Appreciate those who corrected you when you were wrong. Not everyone is so fortunate to have their influencers steering them in the right direction.

I’ve said and done stupid things. Luckily, I’ve been surrounded by people willing to correct me, teach me, help me grow and learn from them.  

When you think about those hate groups, think about all of the people they have missed out on because of their ignorant rejection of them.  

Think about how much damage they have done to themselves and others.  

Think about how miserable they must be inside to live a life centered around hatred of others.

Think about what those who they looked up to must have been teaching them.

Be thankful you are not them.

Be thankful to those that made sure of it.

Be that same lantern for those who need help rejecting the darkness of hate.

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