I don’t believe it. I don’t believe Antifa or the media’s view of the America.
I don’t believe that America is a hate-filled, divided dystopian society. I don’t believe that all white people are secret racists looking for ways to promote their race and oppress other races. I don’t believe that most police officers are bad. I don’t believe that commerce is a wasteland of sexism and bigotry. More importantly, I don’t believe that most black people or women or any other ostensibly oppressed minority believes it either.
This is not to say that America is an utopia. It’s not. This is not say there aren’t bad cops and sexist bosses. This doesn’t mean that parents don’t have to have conversations with their children of color about dealing with police. It doesn’t mean that parents of girls going off to college have different conversations with them than they do their girls. This is the real world where evil people exist and bad things happen.
But no race or gender or ideology has the corner on the evil market. It’s disgusting to lump people into groups no matter who is doing it.
What I do believe is this: things are too good. People have too much time, too much money, and they’re sliding into self-indulgent expressions of rage in an attempt to give their lives meaning. They’re abusing their freedoms because they don’t appreciate them. They’re abusing others because no one is stopping them. Disaffected and disconnected, unsocialized or undersocialized — misfits seek an identity and a community. Some find it in Antifa. Some find it in white supremacy movements. Some find it at CNN. The root is the same.
I’ll posit this: Happy, healthy, well-adjusted young people don’t spray bear mace into a stranger’s face for saying something they disagree with. They don’t become a part of a threatening mob bullying a college administrator. They don’t throw bottles of urine at police officers. They don’t sucker punch a black man who supports a politician they don’t like. And they don’t obsess about the First Lady’s shoes.
When the masks are removed from these spoiled cretins, there are hostile gazes, screaming mouths, and a consuming envy that fuels their malice. But they don’t represent the majority or even a sizable minority of the country. That makes them even angrier.
While these few crazies ramp up their aggression, the rest of America goes to the Mall, gets married, goes to work in racially and gender-mixed company and gets along. It’s not because they have to. It’s because it’s the way they live.
The rest of America is Houston.
The rest of America is Houston before the deluge. The rest of America is Houston during the storm. The rest of America is Houston helping rescue their neighbors. The rest of America is Houston sheltering friends and strangers. The rest of America is cleaning up. The rest of America rebuilds.
And Americans don’t do the right thing because of race, creed, color, or gender. They do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s who they are.
Houston is my home. I live in a northern suburb of the city and have lived here for twenty years. It is a privilege to be here. People work hard. They mind their own business and step up when needed. There is culture and arts and sports and food and more languages spoken than in any other city in the country. Houston is a kind city. She takes in more new Americans and absorbs them. She is home to 100,000 plus New Orleans people who decided to stay. Houston fuels, literally, the country. People in Houston go to church and synagogue and temple and mosque. Houstonians coexist in the best possible way.
I love it here.
The national media has promoted Antifa. The Democrats, and even some mentally challenged Republican, have embraced Antifa as a movement against injustice. What it is is a movement against America and against capitalism and against individualism and against freedom of speech. Their vision of America is dark and twisted. They distort the view because it serves their purpose. They wish to destroy America to rebuild it in their communist, neutered society. No property, no gender, no belief — the culture as a flattened meanness; sameness so that no one feels bad about his inadequacies and ugliness of soul.
America is not that, though. One only needs to watch the local Houston news for a day to see the real America. How many people have humbly professed gratitude to God in the midst of losing everything? How many volunteers have been interviewed and said, “I’m here because it’s the right thing to do.” How many first responders and military folks have worked tirelessly around the clock to serve and protect? How many businesses have loaded up trucks and planes to bring supplies to needy people? How many charities are lining up to clothe, house, feed, and support the needy? Thousands upon thousands of acts small and large have happened with no notice because there’s just too much goodness to adequately capture.
Houston is a microcosm of a great country. America and the people who make her are as great as they are good. In Houston, we’ve seen much goodness. That’s America.
It’s heartening to see this reminder. It’s a shame that it’s come at such horrible cost. The weird birds of Berkeley would love to be the center of attention and the masked and violent arm of oppression. All that goes away in the face of overwhelming love and compassion of neighbors and strangers caring for those in need.
The America of Houston is real and true. God is great. Family and community care for each other. Our country is one nation made up of many citizens who have saved the world and when needed, save each other.
That’s Houston and that’s America.