It's hard to find words to describe the horrifying events that occurred today in Charlottesville. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful place was the meeting ground for such vile, loathsome hatred. Virginia is my home, not by birth but by choice. Two of my children were born here and have always called Virginia their home. There are so many amazing things about this place: from the hundreds of years of history all around, to the spectacular natural beauty, to the incredible people who make it so special. It has been a place that I have been both privileged and happy to spend the last 17 years of my life. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
That's why there is such a disconnect for me regarding today's tragic events. I have been right there in Charlottesville and strolled along the thoroughfare with my family. I remember holding my husband's hand as the warm sun shone on our faces and the children giggled as they skipped ahead of us, like children do. It makes watching the videos all over the internet so surreal (I won't post them here because they are too disturbing.) I feel like I am in an alternate universe or watching a time travel movie where the protagonist has to change one small thing a la Marty McFly and everything will go back to normal right before my eyes. But it's not a movie, it is our unimaginable reality.
These white nationalist protestors are misguided individuals who are afraid that something is being taken away from them. As if respect and human decency is a pie and if some is given to others, that means less is given to them. These sad individuals believe that they must fight, that they have the right to do so, to keep from losing their piece of this imaginary pie. They act out on this fear with bats and clubs, waving torches and screaming their offensive rhetoric. They are small and they are pathetic and I feel sorry for them. Yes, that's right. I feel sorry that they have to go through this incredible experience we call the miracle of life inhabiting such narrow, venomous mindsets. Sorry because they miss out on the vast wonders that exist on this earth, embodied in those who are different than they, forever shrouded from them due to their fear and intolerance.
The worst part, of course, is that there is no pie. That's not the way it works. By giving respect to others you lose nothing but gain so much. There is a similar economic concept that states for every dollar you spend, that dollar is passed along again and again, creating wealth for all who touch it. The dollar is more than a dollar because of the effect it has and the opportunity it creates. The more hands the dollar touches, the more people benefit from it. Respect is the same. It's like those cheesy "pass it along" commercials where one person holds open a door for someone who then pays for someone else's bus fare, then that person walks a little, old lady across the street. Respect breeds more respect, it multiplies on itself. It's not a 1 to 1 ratio. There is no pie and therefore, these people are robbing themselves of a worthwhile existence and robbing us of the benefits our society could reap from their worthwhile efforts.
But that is all ridiculously naive, fantasy talk because three people today are dead due to these pathetic individuals, at least at the time of this writing. Someone's daughter and someone's son, someone's mother or father, someone's colleague and someone's friend. This is what ignorance and intolerance does. It is not theoretical, it is not words on a twitter feed or a Facebook page. It is destructive and today, it wrought death.
This is not the Virginia I know, this is not my home. This is not what we stand for and it is not what we will tolerate. These white supremacists do not belong here, they do not represent me or the citizens of our state. I know the people of this state and I have great faith that we will not allow this evil to congregate here again, to breed and spread to more weak-minded individuals. We will not allow it to murder any more of our citizens. We reject these maladjusted individuals and their cancerous propaganda. That's my two cents, anyway.
To the families of the three killed today, you have our deepest condolences. Our hearts and thoughts are with you during this awful time.