My wife has a tender heart and prodigious empathy. Her recent Eagle & Journal letter, implored those who had dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement with a disparaging label, to chose sympathy and compassion instead. Many embraced her message of inclusion and kindness. However, one individual doubled down by forwarding an anonymous article about a BLM “ leader” who claimed to be a Marxist. He/she used the belief of one to excoriate the message of many.

Why denounce and reject an international movement for human equality, with a label designed to foment division and subvert compassion? Labels are dismissive, the written equivalent of fingers plugging ears. “Snowflake, Nazi, Nasty, Communist, Loser,” all defensive dog whistles. Name calling is an offensive form of bullying we hope our children don’t learn or have to tolerate hearing.

The more than 400 years of American systemic racism is a history that should be taught both at home and in the schools. Unless we learn and understand this history, we will never be a truly educated and humane society.

Before dismissing my message with a label, I am a retired Navy Captain who likes my Medicare, sewer system, fire department, public works, police, public highways, and military, (all socialist programs). Does that make me and all likeminded people “socialists”?

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