My dad used to say, “Be sure of your facts, then be righteous as hell.” The problem today is that there are a lot of “righteous” people who are too sure of their false facts or manipulate the actual facts for their own purposes. Such is the case with last week’s letter to the editor penned by Greg Schumacher.
Schumacher claims that the “left” holds the “lion’s share” of responsibility for the rise of divisiveness in our country today. This is not only untrue, it’s absurd. There is no refuting the mean-spirited, bullying language emanating from the president (Donald Trump) himself. There is no refuting the shouts of his supporters to “send home” congressional leaders who happen to be women of color and United States citizens. There is no refuting the fact that recent mass murders have been perpetrated by individuals who cite the language of Trump and his white supremacist followers. Please note that I do not state that all of Donald Trump’s followers are white supremacists or hateful individuals – there are members of my family and dear friends who support the president. They are not hateful individuals.
In my view, what truly promotes the division in our country is the lack of civility and willingness to engage in not just meaningful, but purposeful dialogue about what is wrong with our policies and how to improve.
The tendency to finger-point and blame the “other side” for society’s ills, as Greg Schumacher – who disingenuously fails to mention that he is chairman of the Fauquier County Republican Committee -- has done, only further promotes the very problem he claims to be addressing. How is this constructive?
Before closing, I want to briefly address my opening point – that is, the manipulation of information to present “facts” that will support your position. Schumacher claims that there were only about 50 neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Official estimates put the number at 250, more than five times Schumacher’s statement.
He also uses an incident in Portland, Oregon, involving conservative journalist Andy Ngo as evidence of the broad, left-wing violence against conservatives. I took the time to research that incident. First of all, there is no refuting the fact that Ngo was attacked by a person in “antifa” (or anti-fascist) garb. Beyond that, not much is clear. The claim that a milkshake laced with cement was thrown at him is based on one police officer’s opinion and, in fact, the person who threw the shake is seen drinking from it beforehand. Would you drink a cement laced milkshake? Was the attack wrong? Yes. Does it exemplify a general tendency of the liberal left? No.
Let’s stop this blame game. Let’s start focusing on the issues and how we get back to a country that is based on the ideals of a free society that supports not just the wealthy and corporate interests, but those of the working class and disenfranchised … and, everyday Americans like you and me. It is the only thing that will turn this destructive situation around.