We have to be better than what just happened

Published 1:02 pm Saturday, August 26, 2017

Editorial by Dayna Steele


As the events unfolded in Charlottesville, a friend asked me on Facebook, “Do you still think we’re better than this? Might be time to admit we are this.”

My initial response was, “I have to believe we are better and that is what I fight for.“

After a long and drawn out back and forth, after much reflection and conversation last night, after speaking with my disenfranchised friends, I must say the friend was right.

No, we are not better than this. If we were, it would not have gone this far.

I believe in the Constitution and the First Amendment which guarantees the right of the people to peaceably assemble. The march in Charlottesville was not a peaceful assembly. They marched with assault rifles. They marched with riot shields, riot helmets, and pepper spray. They marched under a flag that represented slavery and a war that cost this country nearly a million precious lives. No, this was not a march of peace. It was a march to propagate hatred, racism, and bigotry.

Lunging at counter-protesters while wearing riot gear, intimidating, threatening, and mocking them for their political beliefs, their race, their sexual orientation, and their gender is not the act of Americans. Ultimately driving a car into a crowd with the intent to kill is not the act of Americans. It is the act of terrorists. What I witnessed in Charlottesville was nothing less than the American Taliban and murder of an innocent woman.

I respect freedom of speech. However, their freedom of speech will never abridge my freedom of speech.

If we were better than this, we would have spoken out earlier and stopped it long ago. I refuse to be silent. I must speak up.

If it threatens people, we need to point it out.

If we see domestic terrorism, we need to point it out.

I believe black lives matter, as do the lives of our Muslim neighbors, women, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants who have helped build this great country. These white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers try to divide these groups out, make them “other.” These people are not other. They are us. They are fellow Americans and their rights are just as guaranteed by the Constitution as anyone’s.

If we see racism or bigotry or hatred, we need to stop it with our words and actions immediately. Right then and there.

And, if you feel as I do and are equally appalled at what happened in Charlottesville and at the silence coming from our elected officials, find a candidate you support and back them like you never have before. Sound out loud and often with your voice, your words, your money, and your energy. Whatever you can give, throw it out there.

Our system is broken and our congress is broken, but We the People can fix it. We can flush out those in our government who so flagrantly support these terrorists by hiding behind silence and tolerance.

No, we are not better than this unless we speak up. Unless we make our voices heard. Unless we speak with our actions.

I am an American and I, for one, refuse to be silent. Together, We the People can join our voices and make an unmistakable sound that will reverberate from coast to coast to stop racism, bigotry, and hatred.

Dayna Steele is seeking to become the 2018 Democratic candidate and first Congresswoman for Texas Congressional District 36. She is a Texas Radio Hall of Famer and a former rock radio personality, successful entrepreneur, public speaker and a best-selling author. A fifth-generation Texan, Steele is a longtime resident of the 36th Congressional district, which is located in southeast Texas and includes all of Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange, Hardin, Liberty, and Chambers counties, plus portions of southeastern Harris County.