Left, right or center – liberal, conservative or moderate – politics do not belong anywhere in tragedy.
The events that unfolded Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia is a perfect example of this.
The institutions and organizations involved shouldn’t matter. What should matter is the fact that at least one person died. What should matter is many more were injured.
What may have started as a political agenda ended with death, and it shouldn’t matter who did what and why. Death is death. People are dead that don’t deserve to be dead. That is what should matter.
We all collectively agree the Holocaust was a tragedy. We all agree that the events on 9/11 are a tragedy.
Columbine. Sandy Hook. The Charleston Church shooting. The shooting at the Republican baseball team practice. The Boston Bombing. The Pulse nightclub massacre.
And now, Charlottesville.
Every single one of those events are a tragedy that should have united us as humans, and as Americans. However, every single one of those things turned into political turmoil. School shootings always reignite the debate about gun control. Whenever a follower of Islam is involved, it turns into an argument about radical terrorists. When white nationalists are involved, it becomes a battle of race.
Yes, the protesters involved in Charlottesville were self-proclaimed white nationalists, but that doesn’t matter. They had a permit to be there to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue, as is their right as U.S. citizens. The counter-protesters also were allowed to be there. Counter-demonstrators have a right to deliver their message in the same forum, and at the same time, as those whose message they oppose. Speculation on their involvement with Black Lives Matter or Anti-Fascist Action doesn’t matter.
Father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, fiancée, partner.
That is what matters.
People are dead. Their corpses are being used as a platform on which we point the finger of blame. Look down at those millions of bodies and preach to them about why gun control is good or why we need to ban Muslims from America or why it is the liberals’ fault or the conservatives’ fault.
They’re dead. They can’t answer you.
“Stand in the ashes of a trillion dead souls and ask the ghosts if honor matters. The silence is your answer.”
Outcry from left and right against this tragedy already began. Virginian governor Terry McAuliffe, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Melania Trump and Paul Ryan have all condemned the events.
Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but the events in Charlottesville are not a platform for either “leftists” or “right-wingers” to spew their political agenda.
Whether or not you agree with the man, Trump said it best: “No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first.”
Come together and grieve. Leave politics behind for the moment and help console each other.