After spending four years training as a journalist, I learned a thing or two about maintaining a sense of propriety when shit hits the fan. One of the biggest things we’re taught in journalism school is the importance of objectivity – something that we need to hold onto in order to see the whole story.
So when something big happens in the news, I’m hesitant to react. I have a difficult time forming opinions. I like to find the facts before I decide on how I feel. It’s something I’m rather proud of about myself.
Over the past year or so, I’ve had far more emotional reactions to current events than usual. Saturday was one of them. I followed the events throughout the day and tried to avoid having a reaction to them. I tried to think clearly. I tried to rationalize everything that had happened.
Until I read something pretty unrelated. It was a post a friend shared on Facebook, discussing the importance of taking care of your fellow man and standing together through it all. The main quote threaded through the post read, “I hurt with her.”
That’s when my tears began. Not because of the story in the post (although a beautiful story in itself), but because of the hurt that happened that day. The ugliness the white supremacists showed in their anger and hostility towards those unafraid to stand against them. The photos passed around social media of a black police officer protecting a group of Nazi supporters. Photos of Heather Heyer, and her grief-stricken friends who survived the same accident that took her life. Of James Fields, the new face of domestic terrorism.
My heart sank, but not for long. Shortly after, social media outlets blossomed into a wave of hope and unity. The seeds had been sown. Everyone with a voice took to forums and comment boards, tearing down anyone who sympathized with the ones who tried to make America “great” again. I watched some of my closest friends completely shut down the few who argued the protesters weren’t in the wrong. Because despite the fact that they had a permit allowing their rally, it should be without question that white supremacists ought not to assemble without counter protests.
If we are to take one lesson from Saturday, let it be a lesson in love. Let it be a reminder that loving each other – that remembering we are all human beings – is the most important part of who we are not only as Americans, but as a global union. We all have the same fears, the same hopes, and the same pain. We can all hurt. All of us. And when we hurt together, we heal together. So, as you continue on with your daily life, remember to take a look around you at the people you pass by in the grocery stores or on the sidewalks. Remember to smile at the woman handling three screaming children on her own. Remember to drive slowly past the road construction workers. Remember to wave to the postman or garbage collectors. Remember to thank your local police officer or firefighter. Remember that regardless of nationality, creed, color, gender, we can all hurt. And with each other’s help, we can all heal.
Remember that sunshine chases away the rain.