Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Short thoughts on Charlottesville

I had two uncles who served in the Navy in World War II. Another flew a P-38 with the 8th Air Force out of southern Italy. Three of my friends had fathers who helped liberate Europe. Two of them swept across France and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. The other landed at Anzio and was wounded in action. All of them are gone now. I can’t imagine any of them would be especially happy with what transpired this weekend.

It sickens me to know that Hitler’s ideals are alive and well and living in the United States. It sickens me that thousands of racists, under the pretense of “protecting our history and heritage,” were chanting slogans right out of Nazi Germany (and if you are honestly upset about the removal of a General Robert E. Lee statue, and you claim you are not a racist, fine. But don’t march with the KKK, and don’t chant “Blood and soil” and don’t Sieg Heil your way through Emancipation Park). It sickens me that so many people feel so sure of their beliefs, and so comfortable in our current climate, that they will gather and march in such numbers. It sickens me that our president will not condemn them, will not call them what they are. At this point, all calls on him to do so are pointless. He’s made his statement with silence and vague words.

Heather Heyer is dead because of Nazis, because of hatred, because of racism and bigotry. She’s just the latest in a long, long line that almost certainly stretches back to near the dawn of humanity. Sadly, she won’t be the last. I don’t know how we stop it, but I know we must.

8 Responses

  1. Agreed. My parents grew up in Scotland during WWII – carrying gas masks to school and being bombed. My family has also has a history of fighting for better. We need to be better

  2. And this is why knowing our history is so important. I wonder if we're just too short-lived. By the time we're old enough to get some wisdom/experience, we die.

  3. I don't know where it comes from, this hatred and mistrust. Thankfully we're not all so afflicted, but sadly the ones with the most poisonous views tend to be the ones that shout the loudest.

  4. I've been having a lot of trouble with people since Charlottesville. I'm openly disturbed by the number of people that I've seen defending it. Even as a writer, the only words that really come to me naturally are "THEY'RE F***ING NAZIS". :/

  5. Funny thing about history here, Donna–they say history is written by the victors, which makes me wonder how we've gotten here. As far as I know, there are no statues of Cornwallis in America.

  6. I'm trying to figure out how so many people can be all "Rah, rah, America!" and then wave a swastika flag around. Thanks for stopping by, Robert.

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