As I write, two Middle Tennessee cities, Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, “are bracing for white supremacy rallies scheduled to take place Saturday.” By the time you read this, I hope and pray those rallies will have come and gone peacefully, but I fear they haven’t.
According to The League of the South, “The purpose of the demonstration will be to support the idea that White Lives Matter, to call attention to the continuing influx of African immigrants/refugees into Middle Tennessee, and to protest the recent black-on-white church shooting in Antioch.”
The leader of the pack sponsoring the demonstrations in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, Michael Hill, asserts Saturday’s rally participants should not “verbally incite illegal behavior,” but quickly adds, "Engage in violence, and at the proper level, only in defense of your own person, that of your compatriots, and your property. Stand your ground, speak your mind, and proclaim your message, but do not initiate physical contact with anyone who opposes you.”
Now I’m all for the free exercise of our First Amendment rights to “peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That said, I harbor a healthy degree of skepticism for groups like The League of the South. Their idea that “White Lives Matter” is a catchy slogan, but it carries more than a subtle message of racism.
I oppose the idea of “White Lives Matter” for the same reason I oppose the idea and movement for “Black Lives Matter.” Despite their disparate goals and objectives, both WLM and BLM appeal to our base nature and fuel our fears about people who differ from us in race or ethnicity.
Groups like Black Lives Matter and White Lives Matter seek to divide our nation along racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. They make a mockery out of our fundamental motto of “E Pluribus Unum.” Inscribed for posterity on the Great Seal of the United States and on various U.S. currency, it means “Out of Many, One.” It has served as a unifying symbol for our nation since its inception in 1782. It deserves to be preserved, not pilloried.
As for me, I prefer to follow the principle that “All Lives Matter.” Why? Because it honors the sanctity of all human life, without regard to race or ethnicity. For me, that honor extends from the beginning of life to the end of life here on earth. Where BLM and WLM are divisive and exclusionary by definition and practice. ALM is unifying and inclusive by definition and practice.
Finally, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” is another phrase worth preserving and practicing, even as we cope with those of whatever ilk who seek to split us into tribal rivalries for whatever reason.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at email@example.com.