This post was written by my fellow writer friend Hank Whitson. His words are re-published here with his permission.
BRIANNA JOHNSON MARCHES AGAINST THE PEOPLE who've cast aside their white sheets and wear their hate with pride. They yearn for a hierarchy of melanin that places her at the bottom of the food chain. She's marched before, and she'll march again. What else can she do? She's tried chanting louder. She tried taking the blows, running away, and fighting back. Those marching with her have picked her up, shielded her body, and fought alongside her. Together they've kindled the faith that love will eventually triumph, fostered the hope that history's long arc will bend toward justice in their lifetime. She can't help but doubt it though. She can't help but wonder what it will take for the turning point to come, and what else waits between now and then.
James Hale watches his Commander and Chief excuse a mob brandishing torches and swastikas. He wonders at the year, and all the years that have passed since he stormed that goddamned beach. He remembers good men cut down by machine guns, the bark and zip of bullets in the air as they trooped through the water. They did it for something greater than themselves; abolishing an evil that their country could not abide. And they had won! It cost lives and lives and lives, but the enemy admitted defeat. Yet here it is; a future he thought they had torn out by the root. When did things go wrong again? When was the turning point?
Stephanie Schweitzer is confused. He went off script again. She stood in silent horror as the President reversed his position. There had been a hard consensus among the staff: it is not worth siding with these constituents. She assumed that would be enough to sway him; that he only pandered for votes and approval. But their support had become a liability. So why defend them? Because he believes them. Because he can't fathom a situation where he, or the people who adore him might be wrong. She could feel the tracks shift beneath her, the abrupt lurch of another reckless turn in the administration.
Floyd Mercer is angry. He isn't from the South and he doesn't want to care about what had happened in Virginia. It was sad, of course, what happened to the girl--but he doesn't have a dog in that fight. People knew his vote though. He had been vocal in his support. Trump promised to bring back the jobs, deal with the drugs, and give those smug assholes in Washington what for. Floyd stood by him as others got cold feet. Now those same people are calling him a Nazi sympathizer. They are calling him a racist, as if he himself had marched in those rallies. It wasn’t his fault! Everything had just gotten turned around.
And here I sit, playing with these shadows to process what is happening, wondering what, if anything, can be done about it. While I try to make sense of the various perspectives involved, imagining their voices in my head, one thing is clear: the white supremacists who marched on Charlottesville are the consolidation of an unambiguous evil that never truly went away. They lost the Civil War, they lost a World War, and they have once more been emboldened by a cowardly sham-king.
Now it falls to us to beat them again. But this is not a war that can be won with likes and links alone, nor can we afford to abstain from politics in the interest of impotent civility. Above all, we cannot dismiss victims as victims, as this has only served to unify predators. Rather, we must raise each other up, shout down this toxic vocal minority, and stamp out the underlying sentiments that kindled them in the first place.
This moment is a fulcrum for the country; the opportunity to turn our trajectory back toward justice.
PART OF THIS COMPLETE BREAKFAST
Blog not recommended for sober consumption.