Reason to Hope
Charleston, South Carolina, Charlottesville, Virginia and Houston Texas all share tragedy, two the result of man’s inhumanity to man, the latter by an act of nature. Nevertheless, all three incidents and our collective reaction to them models the way for addressing our racial and social divide.
On June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, Dylann Roof, a then 21-year old, white Supremacist massacred nine African-Americans and injured many more as they worshipped in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Recently, Charlottesville, Virginia experienced an ugly confrontation between white Supremacist, neo-Nazi’s and counter demonstrators. And Houston has endured weeks of storm and rain, curtsey of Hurricane Harvey.
It would have been easy for the Charleston victims and their families to respond with violence and bile. They could have fought fire with fire, demanding an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Instead, they turned to faith and forgiveness, demonstrating nobility and grace under pressure.
In Charlottesville violence ensued, some of which was worsened by counter demonstrators. They would have been bettered served by following the nonviolent path of a King or Gandhi.
Still, by opposing the human bondage and ethnic cleansing advocated by their opposite, it was the counter demonstrators who stood with the angels. And they spanned the racial and ethnic divide in scores far greater than the emissaries of division and hate.
Hurricane Harvey proved that Mother Nature is an equal opportunity employer. Indifferent to color or ethnicity, unconcerned with political or religious ideology, it sparred no one. Yet, everyone stood shoulder to shoulder, rescuing the imperiled and assisting all, irrespective of kinship or skin type.
The future will undoubtedly hold additional violence and strife, malice and division. Racism will again rear its ugly head and mankind will continue to murder, maim and oppress. It is our curse.
However, the examples set by Charleston, Charlottesville and Houston set an important precedent. They stand for the proposition that we can move beyond race; we can judge each other by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin.
For this, life gives us reason to hope, even in the face of tragedy.