By Amber Lee
I’m not an expert in social trends, but from my perspective more and more people are resorting to violence in order to make statements. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people have always been this violent. Maybe I just see more of it because I’m literally never away my phone, and that phone likes to give me real-time updates of all of the horrible things happening in the world.
But even if the trend of violence is sliding down a gentle slope toward a peaceful human existence, then there’s still too many people in the world putting their hands on each other in order to establish how right they are. In fact, people are coming together in the streets across the country in an effort to beat each other into believing whomever is getting the brunt of the beating belongs to a group composed of the worst humans who have ever walked the planet. Even if that person just happens to just be trying to go about their day and has terrible timing.
So, when the White Nationalists or White Supremacists or Klu Klux Klan (or whatever racists are calling themselves these days) come out with Tiki torches, rifles and broadswords, and stomp out into the street with their chest puffed up, threatening violence, no one is super surprised. I mean, I guess it’s surprising that they feel emboldened enough to publicly claim racism without the white hoods, but this is a group that has a sordid history of embracing violence as a way of life.
And then there’s Antifa, an anti-fascist (the scist at the end just wasn’t cool) leftist organization that is called the “violent far left.” I recently watched a video on Antifa, and one of their members called the violence they perpetrate, necessary preemptive violence. What? Do they understand that “knocking sense into someone” doesn’t literally knock sense into them? In fact, it just tends to make them hate you more and be more convinced than ever that you are wrong/bad/stupid.
I don’t know if any of these groups could ever come to some kind of consensus about how to live together, but I’d like to say that all groups that see violence as the only way to solve our social problems cannot make any positive change in this world. No matter what your end goal is: violence begets violence; hate begets hate. You can’t change the world into a better place with a platform that includes either. We all need to say that loud and clear and any time anyone uses violence. Even if they’re doing it in the name of something you believe. For example, I agree that the majority of the wealth in the world shouldn’t belong to a group of people that’s small enough to fit comfortably on a school bus. That feels wrong to me, but walking next door and punching my neighbor (seriously, Janet, I would never punch you) won’t redistribute that wealth.
When my kids were very little, I got them a book called, “Hands are Not for Hitting.” It was written by Martine Aggassi, and it uses simple pictures and words to teach very small children there are healthy alternatives to punching (With two boys close in age, this has been a very necessary curriculum). There’s whole series of these books, and I highly recommend them to you if you’re thinking hitting people will lead to a better world. Spoiler alert: the general consensus among most rational people is that it will not.
And if you’re wondering what you can do, I recommend using your brain, your creativity and your humanity instead of your fists.
When you have time, check out the German town who turned the annual Nazi Walk into a Charity Walk for anti-extremism. The Nazis were so befuddled by the general cheer and goodwill that it was way more effective than if the community would have come out and thrown hatred toward them as they stomped through the town.
Amber Lee is a writer, mother, marketing consultant, blogger and pet-wrangler, among her other duties. She was a journalist, then legislative aide, early in her career. Currently she consultants on marketing and public relations projects for a variety of Alaska businesses and organizations. She resides in Anchorage.