My home state was in the news for all the wrong reasons over the last few days.
I'm from Virginia. I make no secret of that around here. It's pretty normal for a born-and-raised Virginian to value being Virginian even above being American. I'm pretty sure my grandpa had a hat that said something to the same effect. And, usually, I'm pretty proud to be from such a beautiful, historic state.
Not this past weekend, though. This past weekend I was appalled, dismayed, disgusted, and horrified by what happened in my home state. I've been collecting my thoughts on this over the past few days, and I want to share some of that here. There are some things about which I just can't stay silent.
The events of this past weekend make me ashamed to not only have something geographically in common with the "protesters" (protesters in quotes because their activities went far beyond protesting), but it also made me ashamed to share a species with them. This isn't about being Virginian; it's about being human. I don't understand how someone could look at another human--a stranger-- and make such a deep judgement about them based solely on their skin color or their religious heritage or their sexual orientation or whatever else these "unite the right" people were doing. It's absolutely, utterly, completely despicable. You can disagree with someone without attempting to do violence to them.
One of the scariest things about the whole event is it shows just how low a human can sink. I don't know how someone could fall farther than such blinding hatred, and to know that a whole group of humans are deep in that pit is terrifying. It's one of those things that we see on the news and think "How could someone allow themselves to get that way? I could never do that!" But we're all capable of doing terrible things. As the story goes, we all have two wolves inside us; one is evil, and the other is good. The one who wins is the one we feed.
So all of this begs the question; which wolf are we feeding? The one that will lead us down a path of darkness, anger, and hatred where we end up in a hell of our own creation carrying a torch and an AR-15 spewing the sort of venom I read about this weekend? Or the one that will bravely stand in the face of its rabid counterpart, loving our neighbor? We can't ignore Charlottesville. We have to choose: darkness or light? Love or hate?
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is Love. 1 Corinthians 13: 13