Ever feel like you just don't fit in anywhere? I grew up without running water or inside plumbing. We had no phone most of the time and when we did, it was a party line that was tied up with gossipy old crones most of the time. By today's standards, it would be considered a life below the poverty line. When you add a homelife filled with alcohol and abuse, it creates memories of a less than idyllic childhood. Unfortunately, the people we associated with at the time were of a similar status in life.
But I overcame these obstacles to earn advanced educational degrees and move comfortably into the middle class (or what's left of it.) Most of the people I associate with now have never known poverty or abuse. Their memories of childhood are filled with friends, family and pleasant memories. They can sympathize with the less fortunate, but they cannot empathize. They cannot relate to my past anymore than I can relate to theirs.
And yet, when I return to my roots, I am caught in a similar dilemma. I have moved beyond the norms of my childhood. I am no longer a victim of my circumstances, blaming others for my status in life. Education has expanded my worldview along with my moral consciousness. I cannot understand those who cling to their narrow viewpoints anymore than they can understand mine. It's an argument neither side can win. When either side is incapable of rational thought, there is no way to achieve common ground.
But this state of limbo is not unique to my single example. It's a growing trend throughout society. The tragedy in Charlottesville, VA is a prime example.When rational thought is replaced by the emotions of fear and hatred, chaos prevails. Freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but forcing one's views on the opposition and threatening or inflicting harm on those who disagree is not. It's a crime and should be treated as such.
When did education become the enemy? Why is the nation at war with what is being called "the educated elite"? We are a nation founded on the belief that a free and public education is a constitutional right. And yet there are forces at work in our government that would destroy that right. An uneducated populace is easily ruled by emotional propaganda. They are no longer able to discern fact from opinion. They become puppets to those in power and accomplices to their emotional appeals. Diplomacy is replaced by outward shows of force and violence is inevitable.
Now is the time for a call to action to those who have too long been been silent in the face of injustice and tolerant of radical and irrational thought. But do not mistake a call to action to be a call to arms; rather, it's a call speak out and let your voice be heard.
We are a nation founded on diversity. The words and actions of White Supremacy groups are abhorrent, and those responsible should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.