There comes a time when we are forced to face our deepest, darkest fears. And it is during these times that the true nature of our being presents itself. For me, that time came on August 11, with the spectre of white nationalists marching with torchlights on the University of Virginia campus.
They had foregone the pointed white hoods of their forebearers. Instead, they proudly bared their faces and clenched their fists. I could tell they had raged among themselves in their “safe space” of the internet for far too long. Not anymore.
The clarion call of ‘now or never’ had been rung by their leaders, Richard Spencer and David Duke. It was time for them to stand up and defend their version of the United States of America — red-blooded, white-skinned and blue-eyed.
Their chant of “White Lives Matter” was heard around the world when they marched. It was met on campus by students in a counter-protest. Heated arguments led to pushing and shoving, kicks and punches, clouds of pepper spray.
Their march continued through downtown Charlottesville the following day. The violence escalated. Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville paralegal, was there to stand up to hate and discrimination. A white nationalist plowed into the crowd of counter-protesters and killed her.
Where does that path of violence lead us?
One of the greatest opportunities afforded to citizens in a democratic society is the ability to speak for, or against, a matter dear to their respective hearts. The ability to voice one’s opinions without the fear of repercussions is the ultimate freedom any human can and should practice, in my opinion.
When rational human beings agree to disagree, great conversations can take place. But in today’s world, in Charlottesville, that seems like an idealistic scenario.
How did we get here? Or, even more importantly, how can we get out of this rut?
The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind. Not even close. The answer, instead, is right here, among higher minds at Metro State. It’s in the safe space of our college campus where we can discuss and debate all of these ideas. After all, we are at the altar of learning. It befits us to listen, discuss and test all kinds of thoughts and theories.
So, I say if a white nationalist wants to explain to me why his race is superior to all other races of the world, he better have concrete facts to back that up. What are the chances he is here on our college campus, itching for a debate? I better start preparing.