Letter: Live in the present and create a better future

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Slavery was certainly one of the most reprehensible institutions in the history of humankind. Others include what whites did to Native Americans right here where we live, as well as what Nazis did to Jewish people (including some of my ancestors). There are still horrific things going on all over the world at varying levels of atrociousness (and more to come should a certain orange-tinted white nationalist be elected president in 2024, or if orange-haired white hamburger salesman Chuck Edwards puts more AR-15s into the hands of the mentally ill).

At what point do we give up the oxygen-sucking activity of railing against the past and focus on the battles before us here and now? I’m not offended by faceless monuments representing the many failures of our forefathers, but I’m appalled by the actions of inept, greedy, angry, current-day self-serving politicians, just as I’m appalled by domestic terrorists pummeling one another with the American flag — a misunderstood symbol that I have the right to kneel before (or even burn) in peaceful protest if I so desire.

Here in Asheville, we have grocery stores owned by wealthy white capitalists paying below the living wage, and (as I witnessed last weekend) we have multitudes of rats running around parts of lower Broadway downtown, perhaps chewing the toes of inebriated tourists or disadvantaged folks lacking basic needs.

Let’s stop wasting so much time and energy on what was; let’s focus on what is and what’s to be.

— Robert McGee


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