Non-violent protest is positive protest
The recent terrifying events in Charlottesville are reminiscent of the Brown Shirts and deadly violence that ushered in Hitler and the Nazi regime and resulted in World War II and the Holocaust. As we watched in utter disbelief to the Nuremburg-like torchlight parade and subsequent violent, deadly assaults of the racist mob, we heard the repeated chant of “Heil Trump!” It chilled and angered us to the very core of our being. The startling parallel to the darkest period in history is clear. Millions have fought and died so that our society can never regress to that state of anarchy, hate and violence again.
The media record the brutal behavior of these attention-seeking bigoted misfits. Their behavior must be shown to be of no consequence in the ongoing pluralistic society to which we aspire. Haven’t we as Americans declared that all are created equal, and are endowed with certain inalienable rights?
It is not necessary to list the many inventions, discoveries, social and moral contributions people of the rainbow have contributed to our society. DNA comparisons prove there is almost no genetic difference among the peoples of the world. What we have are different backgrounds, social and religious beliefs, different access opportunities to education and different strengths and weaknesses. It is a collaboration of these similarities and differences that allow us to make advances in morality, tolerance, science, art, business and industry. Our differences need to be celebrated and appreciated in order for us to fulfill our promises to the next generation.
How do we combat the hate, bigotry and violence that confronts us? When we use physical violence, foul and disgusting rhetoric like the people we condemn, we allow ourselves to be exploited. Henry David Thoreau, the martyrs Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King used a much more effective non-violent approach that demonstrates a stronger, compassionate, and more powerful moral position that cannot be denied.
That a house divided against itself cannot stand is as true today as it was in Lincoln’s time. A more perfect union can only be achieved by peaceful, constructive dialogue and positive social action that benefits us all.
Lorna and Griff Winthrop