Hearts were broken. Lives were torn apart. What has been done can never be undone. A ripple has once again been set into motion that will have long reaching impact beyond the scope of what you and I will ever really know or understand. Because Charleston in and of itself is but a mere ripple in the ongoing saga of the global, timeless story of hate and injustice. It started with Cain and Abel…brother against brother. And who knows if and when it will ever end.
Racism? Yes. Hate crime? Absolutely. By product of a systemic evil? I believe so. Political fodder? Sadly, it is.
Aren’t we all aware that hate exists in the world? Don’t we know it’s been here since the origin or the species? Don’t we fully expect it to always exist in this world? Don’t we “get” that politics and new laws and tearing down of old relics will accomplish nothing?
GOOD & BAD EXAMPLES
Ferguson & Baltimore showed us examples of how political and racial divide only divided things further, and made bad situations even worse. Dr Martin Luther King taught us, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dr King knew something very important: you can’t politicize love. He never called for forced legalization of acceptance. He did not seek for “love” of fellow humankind to be accomplished politically, but rather socially and spiritually.
In my opinion, it seems, ironically enough, that the south has handled Charleston better than the northern cities of Ferguson & Baltimore handled their sad & troubling situations. Rather than riots, looting, and hate mongering, many citizens of Charleston bonded together across racial lines, and held a vigil an inter-racial prayer vigil and memorial for the victims who lost their lives on the evening of June 17, 2015 in the mass shooting.
In the midst of great crisis, the people of the community came together, unified by grief, despair, sorrow….and yes, love. Black & White people southerners came together united, choosing not to be divided. For all the knocks the south has taken toward racism, it appears that the south has faired better than their northern counterparts on a communal level.
Does racism still exist in the south? Sure. But doesn’t it exist everywhere? Name a town in any country; any city in the world, and we will find hate existing somewhere in that community.
So what do we do about racism, and sexism, and religious divide? I’m not sure that’s the right question. I think the right question is this: What are YOU going to do about it in your heart and mind. What will you pass down to the future generation growing up in your own household? How will you be an agent of loving change in the community where you live?
Many will choose political argument, lobbying, loud voices and raised fists. But I believe there to be a better way. And I believe “that way” will have greater and longer lasting impact in the longest run.
I will leave you with the words of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
God bless America.