Fresh after the events of Charlottesville, VA I shared a video from Arnold Schwarzenegger on Facebook with an anti-hate message. You can see that right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN_YIBr0ELM. I thought that Arnold’s message was pretty on point and important enough to share in my feed. I thought to myself, ‘Hey, this one’s a no brainer, who could possibly be upset at this idea?’ A Nazi just killed a woman and injured dozens of others by driving his car through a group of protestors on American soil. I found this to be pretty self-evident – the concept that the Nazis and the KKK were on the wrong side of history. Facebook, however, had other plans…
One person said, “He’s telling Trump how to write a speech, I didn’t hear him include Black Lives Matter, Antifa, or any other ‘left’ hate group. Shut-up Arnold, go lift some weights.” Another said something about, “The liberal agenda knows to destroy America…” A third defended the torch bearers by saying, “So you are saying that all of the people protesting the removal of the statue are white supremacists and Nazis? His [Trump’s] point was that not all of the protesters that didn’t want the statue removed are bad, not that the white supremacists are not bad.” Other points were made but I believe that, you – most Gentle Reader, get the gist.
No. I’m a realist, not an extremist. I’m a big fan of the Rule of Law. I’m not a fan of the Nazi agenda, the white supremacy Alt-Right agenda, or any other agenda that sacrifices reason at the expense of the American people. But, getting back to statues, I am a big believer in thinking about what we choose to worship. Pedestals are dangerous things. We should be mindful of what we put on them. Frankly, Indiana Jones was right, some things “Belong in a museum”.
I too am a big fan of the democratic process. I am not a fan of Nazis driving cars into protestors. Bottom line. Such terror smacks everything that we stand for – or at least it did at one time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II. Here’s to hoping that this is still the case. That we, as Americans, can pull together and work together in realization & recognition of the scars of our past and step boldly into the future; where we should find our hope.
Contrary to most empirical information I can collect these days, I still believe that America’s best days are ahead. …I hope I’m not alone.
They heard an entirely different message from Arnold than I did. I must believe that they are apologists for Mr. Trump and not Nazi sympathizers, KKK members, or some other cancerous Alt-Right hate mongers. I don’t believe that – but, before you scream “There are good people on both sides of this issue,” I gotta tell ya, historically, the Nazis and the KKK are on the wrong side of history. Consistently. That’s the “Say what you will about Hitler but at least the trains ran on time,” argument and it does not hold up. “Heritage not hate!” I hear, as well; this is usually accompanied by, “Lefties want to erase history!”
Erase history? No, on the contrary, History is vital. We must learn from the past but it is imperative that we learn the right lessons from it. Lessons that appeal to, as Abraham Lincoln said, “the better angels of our nature”. One cannot erase history by destroying a statue just like one can’t kill an idea by burning a book. But if hate is put on a pedestal then we have the moral obligation to explain to the generations that follow us why it is wrong. The lessons that the modern Nazis and KKK learned from the history and the lessons that others have drawn from it are vastly different in scope, and moral credibility.
Do you want Nazis? Because that’s how you get Nazis.
Senator John McCain recently wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post on. He opens the article by saying, “Americans recoiled from the repugnant spectacle of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville to promote their un-American “blood and soil” ideology. There is nothing in their hate-driven racism that can match the strength of a nation conceived in liberty and comprising 323 million souls of different origins and opinions who are equal under the law.” (see: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-mccain-its-time-congress-returns-to-regular-order/2017/08/31/f62a3e0c-8cfb-11e7-8df5-c2e5cf46c1e2_story.html?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.c08f54c61629). Yes, he’s right. I am thankful that there are still leaders who will say it.
It is an odd time in our country right now. We forget to talk to each other. We must remember as citizens not only speak but also to listen. Of course, we are not always going to agree but we must think for ourselves – make our points, compromise, and move forward. Bipartisanship is not the evil it has been made out to be. We must acknowledge and learn from the past so that we can step together into the future – a future where there is no room for hate. As Americans, we owe this not only to our posterity but to the world.
Thank you, Mr. Schwarzenegger, for this reminder that should not be so complicated of hard to see.