I've spent a lot of time in and around the beautiful city of Charlottesville, Virginia. It's a special place, voted the happiest city in America by the US National Bureau of Economic Research only three years ago. It's a university town with a mellow, dignified ambience, nestled nicely near the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge mountains.
Charlottesville even has a literary vibe: short story writer Ann Beattie used to teach there, and Edgar Allan Poe's preserved dorm room can still be peeped through a glass wall right on campus. The coolest thing in Charlottesville must be Monticello, where I took pictures with a nickel in the grass of the front lawn of Thomas Jefferson's spin on postmodern classical architecture a couple years ago.
Yeah, well. Enough of that. Today, Charlottesville is an awful city in an awful country on an awful planet. It's where a heroic 32-year-old protester named Heather Heyer was just murdered by a bigot in a car during a rally of white supremacists featuring the KKK and Nazis.
And it's a sad fact that I'm not even sure if Heather Heyer is the first protester actually killed by a white supremacist terrorist since last election day, or not. Since the criminal, broken Trump administration appears to be adopting a bunker mentality as the FBI circles in, it seems likely that there will be more violence in America before the fiasco of the Trump "presidency" is ended. We are in a time of heroes, though Heather Heyer did not deserve to become one.
"Don't go near the area," I saw on a tweet from the University of Virginia after Saturday's attack. This is actually not the advice I would take, or give. When one protester is killed in the line of action, we need more protest, not less. Today, there were heartening rallies against the white supremacist and Trump movements all over America.
How did this particular outbreak of violence begin? Of course, it began with a historical remnant of a previous war: a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. War breeds war. History festers for generations. This is the psychological pattern that we are destroying ourselves with.
Well, we can't dwell long on Charlottesville. We need to move fast. In the past week, the criminal "President" Trump has threatened nuclear war against North Korea. Outrages come at us fast, like an assembly line of poisonous hamburgers from a dystopian fast food joint. We're not swallowing anymore.
Here's how Heather Heyer's mother urged the good people of the world to fight on, less than 24 hours after hearing that her daughter was suddenly killed for exercising her right to protest. "Without hate, without anger, without fear". Thank you to this brave mother of a brave daughter. This is how we will fight on.