When Donald Trump was elected, I was shocked. I didn't turn on the news until late in the afternoon on that fateful day. I looked at the available returns and polls and knew: She will win the popular vote, but he will win the electoral college.
For the next two weeks, I cried every day. But I was also in denial. I told myself and my friends, It's going to be all right. Somehow it will be okay. We'll be fine.
Then I looked at the glass in my hand and realized it was half-empty. I accepted reality.
Now we've had a tragic clash in Charlottesville, with bad people on both sides, according to the president. But why did people who don't even live in Charlottesville gather there to hold their White Nationalist shindig? The side with the Tiki torches may have had a permit to gather, but they didn't have a permit to incite violence. With a group like that, however, a gathering amounts to inciting violence. That's what these good ole' boys are all about, and Charlottesville was not prepared to deal with their numbers.
As each day passes since that event, I haven't learned to feel calm and at peace about it. I haven't said, This too shall pass. I haven't let it go and moved on.
Rather, as I learn more about what occurred from people who were actually there, my anger grows. I'm beyond being able to say, Let's find something to laugh about.
Favorite Young Man and I watched quite a bit of news on Saturday and Sunday. He expressed surprise that such a thing would happen in Charlottesville, a liberal university town.
I told him that Charlottesville has long been a town divided (no doubt town officials disagree with me), and, thus, ripe for the picking by the KKK, Aryan Nation, alt-right––whatever they call themselves, "they" are those who come in hatred.
I went on to explain to Favorite Young Man that white descendants of Thomas Jefferson wouldn't consider allowing the black descendants of Thomas Jefferson to join their organization until the black descendants took DNA tests to prove their lineage, and even then the descendants of the Jefferson-Hemmings union were invited to attend the white descendants' meetings as guests, not as full-fledged members. This occurred in spite of the fact that historians began writing about the children of Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemmings, in the 1970s. This occurred in spite of the long-known "open secret" in Charlottesville that if one saw a light-skinned black person with red hair, then that person was likely to be a Jefferson family member. This occurred in spite of the knowledge that Sally Hemmings and her siblings were of mixed race and were half-siblings to Jefferson's wife. Hemmings' children were of mostly European descent. But one drop of so-called black blood? They're not the real thing, apparently.
I doubt if the white descendants ever had to take DNA tests to prove their status.
This refusal to acknowledge ALL of Jefferson's direct descendants is an emblem of the division in Charlottesville, a town that is predominantly white. And Southern.
Sadly, my theory about the town has been confirmed by some articles I've read and by comments from citizens of Charlottesville. One African-American woman stated that the master in Monticello had been looking down on them in the town for far too long. That doesn't mean we should knock down Monticello and disavow Thomas Jefferson as one of the founders of our country, but it does mean we need to recognize his role in the misery that was slavery. It does mean we need to recognize his second family.
We can acknowledge the grief and the mistakes of slavery in museums. We do not need statues of Confederate leaders in parks and city centers. To ask "where will it stop?" and suggest that statues of George Washington will be pulled down next is to demonstrate one's ignorance. Yes, George Washington owned slaves, but he wasn't a traitor to his country who suggested that the Union of States be divided.
I also heard someone say on television that having a statue of Robert E. Lee certainly wasn't as bad as having a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Aren't they all traitors to the Union?
Plus, until a few years ago, my own city had a Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. It took many years to remove the name of the man who founded the KKK. Now, let's change the names of all schools named after Confederate leaders. We don't need Jefferson Davis High School any more than we need Robert E. Lee High School. Let's name our schools after peacemakers and heroes, not losers.
Yes, I am one angry Junebug, and I don't picture myself getting over it anytime soon.
Infinities of love,
|public domain photo|
"Let us reject any among us who seek to reopen old wounds and to rekindle old hatreds. They stand in the way of a seeking nation. Let us now join reason to faith and action to experience, to transform our unity of interest into a unity of purpose. For the hour and the day and the time are here to achieve progress without strife, to achieve change without hatred—not without difference of opinion, but without the deep and abiding divisions which scar the union for generations."