Opinion | Where is Heather Heyer?

It’s moving too fast. Things are getting lost, shuffled to the bottom of the deck. The media has adopted a “hit and run” approach to events and people like Heather Heyer have become the victim, both figuratively and literally. In August, a white supremacist drove his car through a crowd protesting against hate. Sadly, Heather Heyer, only 32 years old became the victim of the very thing she opposed.

So often the big things, the life-changing moments become buried in the covfefe of a president who thrives on obfuscation and celebrity. These are drugs to him, on the level of opioids, the coverage of which has also been lost to obscurity, but one tragedy at a time. Actions have consequences. Last month we learned that Tom Price, Trump’s health and human services secretary, deciding that commercial flight was simply not for him, opted instead for private aircraft, leaving taxpayers with a price tag of approximately $1,000,000. He resigned—consequences.

“Trump has continually taunted Kim
Jong-un or Little Rocket Man…”

Trump has continually taunted Kim Jong-un, or “Little Rocket Man” as Trump describes the North Korean dictator who, like Trump, rises to the political bait with each of Trump’s contemptuous tweets. As a natural consequence the world Twitters closer to war. When people speak of the madman in power, it’s difficult to discern to whom they are referring.

“San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz begged for help,
while Trump threw paper towels to the victims as if forgetting this was a disaster, not a campaign-style
rally.”

In Puerto Rico, millions of Americans continue to suffer from nature’s backlash against Trump’s absurd notion that climate change is not a clear and present danger. I’m a firm believer that if you thumb your nose at the universe, like Trump, it will hit back. San Juan mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz continued to beg for help, while Trump literally threw paper towels to hurricane Maria victims, as if forgetting this was a disaster, not a campaign-style rally.

While America continues in a roulette wheel spin after the massive shooting in Las Vegas that claimed 59 persons, Trump continues to spray social media and news outlets with a bump stock of contentious, unapologetic tweets. He is out of control and out of touch.

Last week Mr. Trump continued his latest assault on the LGBT community by removing protections put into place by the Obama administration for transgender employees. Sadly, the administration still lags almost hopelessly behind in the area of human rights.

On the bottom wrung of the news is the Charlottesville tragedy, no longer a buzz on the lips of media outlets, now just a whisper. Things are moving too quickly in Trumpland.

Photo Credit: AgnosticPreachersKid

To be clear, Heather Heyer was a consequence of inaction on the part of the president failing to act responsibly when given ample opportunity, the moronic equivalent of Chicken Little with an umbrella. Whether or not the sky is in fact falling, it remains his job to look up. It’s unclear if he even recognizes the civil divide that he continues to perpetuate in the country or if he is simply choosing to ignore it. Trump has failed miserably in his moral equivalency suggesting there were “Fine people on both sides” in the Charlottesville incident that included members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and White Supremacists.

Trump continues to cultivate hate and intolerance through his Muslim ban, military transgender ban, and DACA crusade to name just a few of his executive orders. The list is long. Trump campaigned on a promise to build a wall, and he has done so—a repugnant white monolith running through the length and breadth of America. Its an ugliness that remains even if you choose to shut your eyes.

To many media outlets, Heather Heyer has become old hat, yesterday’s news, the worn shoe of apathy discarded along the media highway. But for many, and I’m sure for the residents of Charlottesville, they continue to live this flashpoint in history over and over again. I could talk about Groundhog Day but too soon for jokes. Perhaps never on this one. It’s a kind of post-traumatic stress that has traumatized the otherwise peaceful college community.

Recently, Charlottesville mayor Michael Signer, used the word “surreal” to describe the turbulence of being on the world stage and the stain left behind by this summer’s events, as Charlottesville became ground zero for tragic and unconscionable reasons, unmasking the racial divide within the country and perhaps the president’s true colours.

On October 2, Charlottesville city council unanimously passed a resolution to rename part of 4th Street in memory of Heather Heyer, a homage to a hero, a patriot who chose freedom of speech and expression over hate and violence. Heather did not engage in anti-Semitic chants, or hatred, that was the other side. “Fine people” indeed.

Teachers returning to their classes are deciding how, if any, the events of this summer can be salvaged into a teaching experience. Some wade in, while others avoid. The apt and resourceful teachers will find the light amongst the darkness of the event, turning history into a learning opportunity.

The world at large has moved on dealing with Trump’s ongoing political and moral blunders, each leaving an indelible mark on the country as Americans continue to pay for Trump’s Jerry Lewis style approach to the presidency. Trump, his approval rating now at an all-time low, remains nothing more than a businessman trying to hock his tarnished brand, a once high-priced ticket item quickly finding its way to the bargain bin. But no bargains here, not for the average American. Nothing for an American like Heather Heyer. No leadership. No understanding. No empathy. Most of all for Mr. Trump who is most deserving of them—still no real consequences.

 

k.g. Sambrano is a Canadian writer known for his works of literary fiction and poetry, and is an occasional freelance writer.

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