I have not been to sleep in roughly 38 hours; or is it 48 hours? I cannot be sure, not really. Seems like an odd way to start this does it not? Perhaps, but really could it have begun any other way? Like myself I am sure you have found yourself hovering in and out of lives, choices, directions. As I watch the little clock on the bottom of my laptop screen climb to its all to inevitable conclusions I wonder what it is exactly I am to do.
I am not fool enough to believe that my existence has always been this way nor would I dare to think it might be any worse than the person next to me. Though when you are sitting in bed at 4:52 in the morning, your television muted but still playing the reruns of “America’s War on Drugs”; one cannot help but to take in the ambivalence that is bred from online news sites and mass media hysteria as of late.
One finds themselves drawn thin. Our nation is in a state of flux unlike any other before it. With the rise of the current administration came the howls of yesteryear. The old hatred found new blood and they sired a litter of, for the lack of a better term I shall call Next Stage Neo Conservatives. Alt right pinheads and ne’er do wells flooding the media, the political arena, our schools even our homes.
How terrifying is it you ask? Well let me share with you a small example. Recently my son was involved in a sleep over with another of his friends. These events have become typical in my household as my oldest children are approaching their teens; glory be that they remind me already so much of myself at that age. So, when I stumbled upon my son and his friend drawing swastikas as if they were those annoying graffiti S icons that we all drew in middle and high school for some strange reason but none of us recall where we learned it; you might imagine the horror that filled me.
Our home has never been one of intolerance nor one that would allow for bigotry of any sort. After several cups of coffee, a dog walking and roughly half a pack of cigarettes I found the nerve to return to my son’s room and begin a discussion about what exactly was wrong with what they were doing. What I would learn from talking to the boys was a litany of excuses that one would expect from two now thoroughly frightened young boys. “we did not think it was a big deal”, “we wanted to see who could draw it the worst/best” I sat and absorbed these answers to questions I never prepared myself for asking. “Do you understand what this means?”, “Do you know what it represents?”
Remind yourself dear reader that these are children we are dealing with. They had no good answers. Though the friend did inform me that his brother thought it was cool and that there was nothing wrong with being proud of being white. I of course am paraphrasing, lest I find myself projectile vomiting at the memory of his exact words. I sat in silence for a few minutes trying to strengthen my resolve as well as not slap the melanin from this child’s face.
Patience restored we sat and discussed the gravity of the situation we had now found ourselves in. A situation many of us find ourselves trapped in with our families and friends alike. A seed of ignorance had somehow found its way into our garden and found root. It had grown and if not treated would destroy everything. Grandiose metaphors for sure, but trust me they are needed. When this current administration came in whether they intended it or not, with their alliance of Steve Bannon and, his Breitbart news-site they ushered in a new age of bigotry. The unwashed masses turned out to be rather clean cut and proper. Though most them are still catering to bingo halls and elk’s clubs that find the nerve to tolerate them so much as the cash is present.
I see it on every news station and next to every other headline, the growing race war that is entirely one sided. The things that Manson clamored for in his Helter Skelter, the madness in their eyes reminds me again that I have not yet slept in some 40 odd hours; I stare at my profit based picture box, mouth agape, drool pooling in my lower lip as I look on in wide eyed amazement. You are probably wondering what exactly the hell this has all been about. You wonder if there was a point to the dime store words used, I can feel it in you even now. The point friend is Nebra Hassanen, you may not know her by name but she existed for seventeen brilliant years and should for all accounts have existed for decades more. She is as reported a Muslim girl who was participating in Ramadan in her home state of Virginia this past Sunday when she and others were accosted by what has been reported as a man in a red car outside of All Dulles Area Muslim Society Mosque.
The local police have arrested one, Darwin Martinez as suspect for the murder and are not labeling it as a hate crime. I for one feel this is a travesty of justice. It is another declaration that if you are different that you do not matter. You could easily chalk this up with the Eric Garners (New York), Tanisha Andersons (Cleveland), Freddie Grays (Baltimore) and Philando Castiles but it is so much more than that. I in no way of course mean to disrespect or diminish the loss of life and the sorrow that comes in concert with them. I only hope to bring to attention the simple fact that as a nation we have failed these people. I personally see it so very much so in Nebra.
Now I am a 32-year-old Caucasian male, so one might wonder why I find this story so important. The reason being that is a perfect example of learned hate and the establishment sweeping it under the rug so as not to sully one of their own. I mentioned earlier the initiation of the next generation by the old, siring a new-found hate, this is that in fruition. This is a cancer left to spread. This is napalm in your deodorant and barb wire in your dental floss America. The police have not labeled this a hate crime but all I can see is hate, hate, and sorrow. I see Mohmoud Hassanen and everything inside me ruptures. I see a father whose light was torn from his eyes for no acceptable reason. I see my own daughters and I cannot help but sob uncontrollably at the mere thought of their hurt feelings let alone the horror show exacted upon dear Nebra. To be a father and to be told that such things have befallen your child is unimaginable.
What could this be but a hate crime? Why do we accept this verbiage given to us? Why do we allow our neighbors children to be slaughtered? What does it take to stop the cycle of hate? How many more children will be caught drawing swastikas late at night? Will their parents correct them or will they applaud them? I still have not slept. I am not sure I can at this point, I fear what is to come next. What life will be lost? There is no taking any of it back dear readers. We have seen each other, truly for the first time. No shadows blanket our darkest natures, no light can pierce the veil we prescribe anymore. The person next you could very well hate you for no other reason than a difference in skin pigmentation and they for some reason feel empowered with it. This cannot be allowed, this is unacceptable.
No parent should bury their child, let alone bury them because evil men decided to steal from them the promise of a life. A life now unfulfilled, stripped of the joys and sorrows that might have been. It was not a hate crime? Sir might I ask what exactly you would classify beating a young woman to death with a bat, molesting her and leaving her in a pond? If you use any word other than hate I think sir you are the problem. I think you are of the same mind as those responsible. Our parents dying generation is one of hatred and intolerance and it is up to us to reap the seeds of hate and sow seeds of humanity in their place.
Since November 9, 2016 ThinkProgress.org has been tracking hate crimes across our nation (there is a graphic included from their very site) and it is troubling indeed. Between the dates of November 9, 2016 and February 9, 2017 there was 261 hate incidents in America, (Jenkins, Jack. "ThinkProgress Has Been Tracking Hate since Trump's Election. Here's What We Found." ThinkProgress. ThinkProgress, 10 Feb. 2017. Web. 21 June 2017.) these numbers are sobering. I assure you they are climbing. I see it in the people around me. I see it in those I would call co-workers or acquaintances. I see it in the disinterested look in their eyes as I mention Nebra or Philandro. I most of all see it in their children who see nothing wrong with it because they see their parents brandishing flags and spitting slurs.
I am scared America. I fear us. I do not fear the terrorist huddled in a cave on some continent far away. I fear my neighbors watering their lawns, smiling at me from one side of their mouths while the other side recites hate speeches. I am terrified of the clean cut; fresh shaven man wearing khakis and pull overs named Don not Muhammed Hakim driving his kids to Mosque. David Bowie was right, I am afraid of Americans.
We need to change this dear reader. Before we are too far gone, we need to save ourselves by saving each other. Stop allowing extremist across the color spectrum to dictate our behaviors and control our lives. Stop letting children die because you are too scared to say anything or because you are to ignorant to see past an evolutionary difference in skin adaption. They are not beating down our doors from across the seas friends they are in our homes, burning them down from the basements to make room for graves. It needs to stop. I want to be able to sleep again.