Terrorism, n.- the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
I have written many blog posts in reaction to the violence and terrorism that plagues our planet. Years ago, “Man AND Lady Vs Mommy. Written in Memory of Those Murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary,” (Man AND Lady Vs Mommy. Written in Memory of Those Murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary) was crafted following the unthinkable shooting at Sandy Hook, “Bombs of Kindness” (Bombs of Kindness) was published following the senseless attack in Paris, and “Will Someone Tell Me How I Can Do More?” (Will Someone Tell Me How I Can Do More?), came out after the horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub. While these posts might have made me feel better, allowing me to express my own disheartened and confusing thoughts on each of these incidents, they didn’t really do anything to stop the violence that continues to escalate worldwide.
This week, we witness two horrendous acts of terrorism; one domestic and one international. While these attacks were both very different, they elicited the same responses from people- outpourings of vigils, deafening cries for change, and the memorializing of those who tragically lost their lives. I’m here to say that these reaction, in part, must change. That’s right, I am about to express an unpopular opinion; only one of these acts should elicit an outpouring of love and a rally call for change. As a student of mental health counseling, I have learned a lot about the feelings and motivations behind a person or group’s actions, and with that knowledge, I implore you to react accordingly to what we have experienced this week.
Whether our leader wants to say it publicly or not, the attack that took the life of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville last week, was indeed an act of terrorism. It fits the very definition provided by Webster and written above. It was a violent act in pursuit of gaining political clout for alt-right, KKK, and neo-Nazi groups. The very purpose of their increasingly visible presence in society (after being hidden away for many decades), their marches, and their rallies, is to spread their message of hate, bigotry, and violence. A message that they truly believe, to their core, is the right message. Their desire is to eradicate all members of society that are not like them. Let’s just call a spade a spade people, if you are not a White Christian, you are not welcome. Their drive is, at the very least, to push our country back to the 1950’s; but in their black, unfeeling hearts, it’s really to return this country to a pre-Civil War state. Sure, would they love this to happen internationally? Absolutely. But right now, they would be thrilled to just get rid of all African Americans, Jews, and other minority groups, right here on “their own” U.S. soil. The sole reason for their existence is terrorism, to spread their hate filled message, gain political power, and make a shift in America that will erase the centuries of arduous work done by those prominent leaders who understand the wrongness of their beliefs.
The fact that I am about to quote Arnold Schwarzenegger is not lost on me, friends, but in the words of Arnold himself, “The only way to beat the loud and angry voices of hate, is to meet them with louder, more reasonable voices.” Combatting these groups means creating larger gatherings that spread words of love and tolerance. It means teaching our children to be good, kind, and accepting adults. It means standing strong in the face of bigotry and hate. I was watching Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, eulogize her daughter. She made this speech with a level of dignity and composure that is unmatched by any other mother in her situation- and if we get real, we know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other mothers in her situation. She beseeched the crowd, and the nation, to stand strong against racism, like her daughter did. She begged us not to turn a blind eye, but to lean into the uncomfortability that is standing up to injustice. We cannot look away from this, we must face it head on and call it out immediately upon seeing it. We must be louder, stronger, and more eloquent than any hate group. And this must happen from the smallest levels of injustice- like witnessing an act in your grocery story, to the greatest heights, like the marches we witnessed this week.
The second act of terrorism we encountered this week, was international terrorism. Again, we see the same vigils, FB posts, memorializing and eulogizing of the victims that we see following every international terrorist attack. I watch this on television and think, stop, pick up that flower and that card and walk away with it! I know, you’re probably thinking, “What an unfeeling bitch, this woman is!” But please, read on and understand why I say this. ISIS performs these acts to create chaos and garner a colossal reaction, and that is exactly what we give them. Their desire isn’t the same as the alt-right. While yes, they would be happy to take over the world, their main purpose is to kill as many innocent people as possible, to create mass hysteria, and punish the nations that stand for freedom and democracy. We cannot continue to give them what they want! I’m not saying we shouldn’t fight them, the opposite in fact- we should fight them behind the scenes, quietly, secretly, and cause them the same unrest and fear that they cause us. We need to elect officials that are strong enough to do this, without feeling the need to play a game of “whose dick is bigger.” For every act of terror, we need to stop changing our profile pics, stop laying wreaths at the site of the act, and start donating money and time to anti-hate groups. If you feel the need to show support following a tragedy so to stand up and show the terrorist that you won’t stand for this. Guess what? They already know. It’s what they count on.
If you think that the timing of the attack in Barcelona is a coincidence, I ask you to take a closer look. During a week of U.S. turmoil, of day after day of our citizens begging our morally incompetent leader to rally against our own domestic terrorism, they strike, bigger and harder. They watch our every move and understand that this act would have more emotional and social impact because our country was already being torn apart. No, this is not some crazy conspiracy theory, this is the way these psychos think. They want mass destruction and horror, and after the week that the U.S. had, a week that was visible and commented on by the entire world, they were primed to get it. They knew that our “leader” would take the bait and call them out, thus causing further unrest both internationally and amongst our citizens. We need to stop publicizing our outrage. We need to stop feeding the trolls. The minute they see that they have affected us, it fuels them in a most unimaginable way. It gives them exactly what they want. It means they have won.