You don’t usually hear this word at a rally
(CNN)All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. I’m singing that old Beatles song in my head and trying to wrap my mind around a beautiful love-fueled relationship between members of Black Lives Matter and the most passionate Trump supporters.
Had you told me even a week ago about such a thing, I would have asked how long it would take before you got to the punch line. But, the other day, something strange happened. Something that evokes that song, and, that on reflection, is partly a solution to our current challenges.
So, yeah, no joke, that word — love — came up in a conversation with Hawk Newsome, who represents Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. “We’re on the verge of a civil war,” he told me. “At some point, we’re going to have to talk to the other side.” And realize, he added, sometimes the situation calls for “words, for love, for compassion, as opposed to words of anger and fists of fury.”
He realized that smack in the middle of hundreds of pro-Trumpers at the Mother of All Rallies event last Saturday in Washington, DC.
As Newsome and his fellow activists waded through the mostly white crowd, ready to do battle, something totally radical happened. A Trump supporter, speaking from a makeshift stage, invited him to speak.
“We’re going to give you two minutes of our platform to put your message out,” the Trump supporter told Newsome. “Whether they disagree or agree with your message is irrelevant. It’s the fact you have a right to have the message.”
“It was the last thing I expected,” Newsome told me.
“Would Black Lives Matter have done the same?” I asked.
“I can’t say that we would have,” Newsome said. “This was a first-time occurrence. It was hostile before we were invited on that stage. We were ready to stand and fight for what we believe.”
But, when he took the stage and started shouting his beliefs and found that some in the crowd actually listened, that word popped into his head — love.
Newsome does not mean “love” in a hippie-dippy kind of way, but in a “love for your fellow man” kind of way.
“As Christians, as concerned people, we care about everyone,” he said. “The reason we march in the street is because we love people. We fight for people.”
Now, I know those who viscerally dislike Black Lives Matter are rolling their eyes. And I am sure those who viscerally dislike anyone associated with Trump are doing the same, but consider this:
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When Newsome ended his impromptu speech by shouting, “If we really want to make America great, we do it together,” the crowd went wild.
Since that day, Newsome has circulated a video of that moment via social media, and while some of his fellow BLM activists are unhappy
with him, he’s been embraced by people on all sides.
It’s a small thing, which shines the light on what we already know — love and compassion go a long way.
We just have to listen to that song in our heads.