anne mikolay 2012 120Today, I am heartsick, totally bewildered by how quickly a debate over the symbolism of a Confederate statue in Virginia escalated into hatred, violence, and death this past weekend. How could any American proudly wave a Nazi flag or raise their hand in the Heil, Hitler salute? How could any person willingly support such vile behavior? And how could President Donald Trump respond so flippantly to the torment unleashed in Virginia and lazily walk away from journalists seeking meaningful consolation for the troubled American people?

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee may have triggered the tragedy in Virginia, but that statue was merely the means through which Neo-Nazis unleashed their rancor. Indeed, anger is everywhere these days. The Left is angry; the Right is angry. I’m angry. The protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, a culmination of our society’s recent doubt, dissension, and alienation, leaves me feeling lost and deeply troubled. This is definitely not the America I want for my children. Anger and intolerance is not what I want for anyone.

As a Christian, I am imperfect by nature, as we all are, putting one foot in front of the other daily, as we all do, in an effort to get by. Admittedly, I am not one for organized religion; I have always and will always march to the beat of my own drum. However, I strive to live my life thoughtfully, respectfully, doing unto others as I would have them do unto me. I am no better than anybody else. Call it corny, old fashioned, or naive, but I try to live my life in a way that would please my deceased mother. More importantly, I seek to please the Lord Almighty who made me. Some may thus consider me laughable, gullible, stupid. I am none of those things, but I am aware, alert, and nowadays, alarmed, and sad.

As the mother of two young men just starting out in the world, and as a human being, I can’t condone any action or assertion that detracts from or harms another person. Quite frankly, and unapologetically, I can’t comprehend supporters of Donald J. Trump, a man whose persona and political platform rejects those he perceives as less than himself. How can good people, who file into church every Sunday, give to charity, and perhaps even send their kids to parochial school, stand behind a man whose followers include former KKK leader, David Duke, and James Alex Fields, the driver charged with running down and killing 32 year old, Heather Hyer, and injuring 19 others in Charlottesville? How can Christians, charged with loving one another, endorse Donald Trump, who seems to love only himself? Christianity, of course, is not required for human decency. Perhaps, then, a better question would be: how can decent people of any persuasion condone anyone or anything that tears down and isolates others?

These days, I am having difficulty reconciling professed American values with American behavior. I am, however, clear on this: there should be no tolerance for white supremacy in America, no tolerance for neo-Nazi propaganda, no tolerance for hatred, and no tolerance for an inept White House administration that fosters the same.