Human Capacity to do Horrible Things and the Need for Progressives to Push Back

I hate weeks like this. I’m sitting here, on Sunday night reflecting on the day’s events, which included, watching the coverage of white supremacist and counter-demonstrators in DC, and asking myself, do we really have people like this in 2018? The good news is that the number of white supremacists who matched were negligible, however, the bad news is that we still have people like white supremacist who are so bold to match in spite of the horrific past that could be associated with the behaviors; are these people so ignorant to know about their history and the heinous historical past associated with supremacist? I can’t believe they are not ashamed of themselves.

What kind of people do what white supremacists do, reflecting on their history of atrocities, including the most recent past- killing or fostering the killing of the wonderful and beautiful lady, Heather Heyer; who gave her life while resisting white supremacists. Even more importantly, the question the society must address is, what kind of democracy condones or allows the white supremacist to exist with ridiculous misguided rights?  And why should those in public service spend money to protect hater-white supremacist?

As I contemplated on some of the above questions, I took some time to watch 60- minutes (CBS), my favorite show. As I watched the section presented by Oprah Winfrey, I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. She spoke of Lynching black people by white people and it was horrific. Oprah further provided more details as to why the blacks were lynched, such as being lynched for seeking justices, seeking fair treatment, or simply asking for their basic right guaranteed their lynching mostly because of the pigmentation of one’s skin, it was horrible. In fact, Oprah stated that lynching was celebrated and that there were even public announcements inviting the public to attend lynching related activities. What were they thinking? Oprah even noted that the public responded to the public advertisement and that in some cases, more than one thousand five hundred people would come to watch, some considered the killing of blacks as joyful. I could not believe what I saw or heard, images of black men, women and even children hung. It was atrocious.

Could you imagine what was going on in the minds of victims and their relatives? Those they lynched had relatives, brothers, and sisters, friends, dad or mom etc. I could not believe what the victims’ relatives had to endure during those days, and I can’t imagine the anguish they were going through. I could not believe that human beings have the capacity do what I heard and in some cases what I saw in the picture that dramatizes those monstrous acts. I can’t believe what I saw or heard, it’s unbelievable. As I thought of the unbelievability of what I heard, but convinced by the picture images of victims, I shifted to thinking about the perpetrators and asking myself, why could humans do this to their fellow human beings? I did not have an answer, but instantly, I wondered, did the perpetrators bring their kids to watch their heinous acts? If they did, what kind of traumatic event was it for their children to watch them lynch people? Did they think about these things? And how did they feel?

As I thought about these questions, I flipped the TV and watched a program title “Breaking Hate” hosted by Christian Picciolini, a former white supremacist. It was a reminder of the terrible things humans have the capacity of doing. This former racist transformed himself and he is now working hard to change lives, especially the lives of the Youngs, who were indoctrinated into racist groups. Christian Picciolini should be praised and supported in his efforts to rescue those who could potentially be indoctrinated into the white extremist groups. Furthermore, we should help him to get those who are already in out for a better life. The public should also note that Christian was one of those white racist, if anyone should know them and their geneses, it should be him, as he said, his story was not different from the stories of white supremacists which emphasized that they felt disconnected, not popular and wanted to belong but  were not acceptable by anyone, as result, they became vulnerable to whoever would accept them, including drug dealers, some joined gangs, they all wanted to belong, and they are white, they are blacks, and they are Spanish. The key is for the society, especially those in leadership roles to commit to helping people like Christian in their quest to combat the problems of isms and hate.

Shortly after thinking about all these terrible stories, I read a couple of articles in the Washington Post, and then I went back and forth between Washington Post and Townhall Columnists, including one by Patrick Buchanan titled, “Who determines Universal Value? During the time of reading the article, I found some of his citations fitting nicely into this topic, especially the one which came in form of questions, “From 1865 to 1965, segregation was the law in the American South. Did those denials of civil and political rights justify foreign intervention in the internal affairs of the United States?

In fact, the answer to Patrick Buchanan’s question in my view should be absolute “Yes.” In fact, I would argue “basic rights” or “universal values” should be a right to individuals that no one, including countries, should be allowed to violate regardless of whether it’s our country or any other. Basic rights should be the human right and should not be trampled upon by any one individual regardless of the person’s position. Neither should any government be allowed to violate essential basic rights of anyone. This is a position that fits nicely into the United States position, “It is the traditional role of the United States to defend universal values everywhere they are trampled upon and to show bullying autocrats they cannot get away with hiding their dirty work behind closed doors.”