by Todd Mitchem

What happened in Charlottesville is a tragedy for many reasons. People lost their lives, violence unfolded and no one was actually heard. Not only did people die, ZERO progress was attained.  This event was truly a sad day for us all. But, let’s get real America. We are all in this position and watching this insane culture unfold around us, yet we only have ourselves to blame.  What is troubling me more than the horrific events of Charlottesville, is the fallout and equal hate by all the sides of the argument. It’s easy to hate “those people” for what they do. The problem is that instead of finding real solutions to our collective problems, reaching out to different sides on an argument, and collectively seeking answers, we sit by in our bubbles of hate and spew it all over anyone who will listen.

How did we get here? For the last thirty years, we have been treated as stupid and sold a bill of goods instead of the bill of rights. We are told to hate particular groups of people, and then play in the game of divisiveness politics so that the left or the right can “win.” Then we wait to see if these groups of politicians will actually do what they promised. Again, we are disappointed, and instead of taking responsibility for their inaction, the two parties blame the other side, while working to keep us systematically at odds with each other. The Republicans and Democrats in Washington think we are stupid and that we will fall for this over and over again, which we do. 

I was born in a small town called Bluefield in the state of West Virginia. We were very poor at the time and lived in a trailer at the bottom of the hill my grandparents owned. We were simple people, but southern with deep roots in racial divides. Later in my childhood, after we eventually moved to a St. Louis suburb, our neighbors, an African American couple, and their kids moved in. To this day these are still among the best friends my parents have. We formed a bond, broke down divides and learned about each other. It was truly the American ideal of evolution around culture. But how did we get there? Did my parents protest? Did our neighbors demand we accept each other? Did we ram our car into them? No. We talked. That’s right, we sat down and talked. No real science behind it other than communication and being open. The key was and is; you can not have division and hate if you are talking and creating common ground. Only when you vilify and segregate groups of people into categories, do you make the situation worse. You are not right in your hate, even if you feel justified, regardless of which side you pick.

The two party political system preys on your lack of understanding and your lack of ability to communicate without protest, hate, and violence. They want us against each other because that makes it easier for them to control you and me. Don’t believe me? How many times in the last 24 hours have you sided with someone on the issue of race? How many times did you say that “those people” are “rednecks”, “religious fanatics”, “liberal babies” or on and on? You see, you are caught in the lie the two party government wants you trapped in. You think your leaders are noble when they yell at the racists. You think it’s positive to isolate them from society further. What you fail to realize is that it only makes the situation worse.  With no conversation, there is NO resolution. With leaders who spend most of their time talking negative about anyone, they are missing the fundamental issue. We, as the citizens of this country, must step up and work together to break barriers or we are all lost, and the system will keep controlling us.

Sometimes people don’t like me because I am a Libertarian. They say my views are crazy. They tell me that my ideas around a decent low-cost health care system are flawed even after I reveal to them that I have bought and lost insurance several times over the years because I could not afford over $1300 in monthly premiums. Others tell me that not everyone wants marijuana to be legalized even though it’s saved my mother’s life. Other people call me stupid for holding the belief that we should let people be who they are as long as they are not hurting us, yet people stage massive protests to argue over a dead guys statue, which results in death and destruction.  Tell me again who has the crazy ideas? I do think the people who commit violence should be punished, but I don’t believe we should have fueled the situation which motivated them to violence in the first place. People have always thought that my approach to collaboration and being the reasonable voice in the room is wrong, telling me I should take a side. Well, I do take a side, and that side is on the side of people, all people. If you hate me, ok, sit down and let’s talk about it. If you want to be mad at an entire group, fine, let’s talk about it. I don’t want to control you; I want to let you be heard so we can all find common ground. 

So as you keep your spouting and spewing today about how awful entire groups of people are, remember this; you are a pawn in the game of the two party political system. You are not a free thinker when you play this game. You are a foot soldier in the war of division and even if your side “wins” our entire collective future is lost. 

I encourage you all to listen more, talk more, and let people be heard. It is through our open hands, not our clenched fists that we can build a new foundation for society. It will be hard work and scary new territory, but isn’t that what America was built on? We can all do better.

Todd Mitchem, VERY concerned American who is doing something about it.