This is the way that America works best.
There are always going to be Americans with differing points of view.
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There are always going to be well-meaning, patriotic Americans who disagree about philosophy, politics, and the direction our nation is moving.
However, if we can come together to debate calmly, rationally, and in good faith… then we can continue to overcome our differences and moving America in the right direction.
That is exactly what we saw during the “Mother of All Rallies” in Washington, D.C. this past week. The rally was organized by pro-Trump forces and meant to showcase the diversity among Trump supporters that the media continues to ignore. While it succeeded, it’s most important moment may have been the unplanned arrival of a group of BlackLivesMatter protesters.
When the BLM group arrived they planned to protest and cause a disruption for the rally organizers. Instead, the pro-Trump ralliers offered to give the BLM protesters a platform to express their concerns and explain why they were protesting.
One of the rally organizers, Tommy Gunn explained it this way as he invited the BLM protesters on to the stage:
“So you guys know that the ‘Mother of All Rallies’ was to end the political violence. It’s about freedom of speech. It’s about celebration. So what we’re going to do is something you’re not used to, and we’re going to give you two minutes of our platform to put your message out. Now, whether they disagree or agree with your message is irrelevant. It’s the fact that you have the right to have the message. It’s your right to say what you believe. And it’s their right to let you know what they think about what you’re saying.”
It was at this point that Hank Newsome, the president of Black Lives Matter New York, got an opportunity that he never expected. He was given the chance to explain to a large group of Trump supporters why BlackLivesMatter was protesting.
I am an American. And the beauty of America is that when you see something broke in your country, you can mobilize to fix it. So you ask why there’s a Black Lives Matter. Because you can watch a black man die and be choked to death on television and nothing happens. We need to address that.
He told the crowd that his organization was not “anti-cop” but anti-bad cop.
We are not anti-cop! We are anti-bad cop. We say if a cop is bad, he needs to get fired like a bad plumber, a bad lawyer, like a bad f***ing politician! We don’t want handouts, we don’t want anything that is yours. We want our God-given right to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
He agreed that “All Lives Matter,” and explained that this was why Black Lives Matter existed.
You are so right, my brother, you are so right. All lives matter, right?
But when a black life is lost, we get no justice. That is why we say black lives matter.
If we really want America great, we do it together.
Afterwards he sounded in awe of the opportunity he had been given. He expressed hope that the two sides could continue to build on this experience and that perhaps this event could lead to more events where the two groups speak together openly, honestly, and with respect.
Newsome said that the experience “restored” his faith in the American people who opposed BLM.
It kind of restored my faith in some of those people, because when I spoke truths, they agreed.
I feel like we made progress. I feel like two sides that never listen to each other actually made progress today. Did I expect to go on that stage? No. I expected to come down here with my fist in the air in a very militant way, exchange insults, maybe some dirty looks, or who knows what.
If not on a grander level, but just person to person, I think we really made some substantial steps, without either side yielding anything.
I hope they understand that one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement is a proud American and a Christian, who cares deeply about the country and the people in it, whether they are documented or now. I want them to understand that we are educated, that we apply a strategy, but we come from a place of love. We really are here to help this country move towards a better place, not to destroy it.
These Black Lives Matter activists were invited on stage at a pro-Trump rally – and every American needs to hear what they said pic.twitter.com/m69yvgiQtw
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 19, 2017
I don’t think I’m alone in hoping to see more events like this, where Americans can come together and disagree in a respectful and loving manner.