We Are All Animals

We look at people today who see wrongs in our country and we urge them to be “nonviolent.” We say things like, “Look at Dr. King. He didn’t tip over cars” or “Rosa Parks didn’t smash windows. She just refused to get up. Why aren’t they more like her?” We say all these things, but look at who and what we celebrate about America’s past.

Columbus Day: A day to celebrate the nonviolent way that Christopher Columbus “discovered” and settled the Americas for white Europeans? Not really. Columbus didn’t have sit ins or marches. There were an estimated 10,000,000 Native Americans in the United States when Columbus arrived. By 1900, there were fewer than 300,000. He killed. He murdered. We celebrate him.

Our Founding Fathers: They didn’t win independence from Britain by talking it out. They didn’t gain freedom by writing editorials. They started a war where 25,000 people were killed and another 25,000 were injured or maimed.

After this country won its independence and needed to build and grow? That was done in large part due to the most degrading, dehumanizing, and violent episode in our history: slavery.

Just the other day, people around this country celebrated when our new Secretary of Defense, General Mattis, bombed thirty-one Isis strongholds around the Middle East. Many exclaimed “About time!” or “What a hero!!” He didn’t negotiate (since we don’t negotiate with terrorists). He didn’t go on Al Jazeera and try to convince the Arab masses that our way of thinking is correct. He bombed and we cheered.

For us, all of this ok. More than that though, it is to be celebrated and honored. But ask yourself this: If those are our heroes and how we built this country, why do we demand that African-American heroes all be non-violent? Why can our heroes kill, maim, and violently injure, but their heroes have to sit, talk, and peacefully protest? If you truthfully consider these questions, you will discover something about yourself.

So when you see a few people smashing windows and overturning cars, before you think to call them “thugs” or “animals,” why not a look at the society that produced them? This society that accomplished most of its greatness through violence. This culture that celebrates people who violently resisted perceived wrongs. Take a look at all that. Then maybe reconsider who the animals are.

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