For two weeks I’ve been hearing about Charlottesville, VA: the event itself, analysis, the hand-wringing about ‘how could this happen?’, could it happen in Canada? Really? That’s a real question? For two weeks I’ve been trying to find a way to explain my non-surprise.
The good thing about all of this is, my work is about seeking the sacred in the everyday. Easy: The Sacred brings us to Life in its Fullness, always moving us forward and so the Sacred has been at work as we lament the events and begin to confess our part in why they happen.
The violence at Charlottesville is only the latest manifestation of the “why”. The hatred, the frustration and the violence that was evident in those events is what happens when we allow a culture to persist in which “some people don’t count”. For the “white nationalists” people of colour don’t – or shouldn’t – count, especially in making policy and setting direction for “their” nation. For those who oppose that racism, and the prejudices that fuels it, there’s a fine line between saying “those ideas are not worthy of us” and “those people don’t count”. All of the violence is spawned by the same force.
When we persist with a culture in which “some people don’t count” we end up with: residential schools, not caring that hundreds of women have gone missing or been murdered (Indigenous & non-) especially when they are street-level sex workers. We end up arguing about whether or not people can wear conspicuously religious symbols at work. An unfair taxation system which favours those with money to invest and handicaps those whose incomes are used entirely to pay bills and to make ends meet. It’s what allows a citizen to use weapons against those whose ways make them feel threatened. When we allow a culture in which “some people don’t count” we end up low wages for ECE workers, overloaded child protection services, policing that racializes crime (that’s what racial profiling is), and civic policy that criminalizes poverty (that’s the anti-panhandling laws). It’s why there is an increasing call for programs to teach how not to bully (that’s another blog…). So, really, are we so surprised that events like those in Charlottesville happen?
But when we are open to the Sacred, which like our culture, is all around us…and within us,
we move towards becoming our Best Selves; we get to let go of that being scared of the unfamiliar.
We stop making an “Us” and “The Other”. When the Sacred is moving in us, we are moved to behave as if we truly believe Everyone Counts.
But it’s hard work. Look around you, within you, see who has become, to you, the “ones who don’t count” (we all have them); then work towards seeing them as humans who do count. Because until we do that Charlottesville will just keep happening.