It's time to declare what you believe in

That a protest held by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and alt-right fanatics recently in Chaslottesville, Va., turned violent is no surprise.
Hate and violence go hand in hand. The screaming, torch holding, and death – they are sadly not new to this country. And for anyone who thinks this type of hatred is a thing of the past, this recent event shows the truth.
It is alive and well.
In the wake of this hate and the killing of a young woman counter protesting, we have to look at ourselves and ask who we are? What do we believe in? Is this who we want to be?
Is this the future of our great nation?
We have to make these decisions ourselves, of course, and declare them. We cannot simply hide in the shadows anymore and wait for something good to happen. There is too much bad going on all around us these days.
There is hate, hate and more hate.
Well, I will not be one to simply take a seat and let the wave wash over me. I will declare what I believe in, and I will stand against the negativity now consuming us.
I would bet that many of us believe in the same things – maybe not completely, but there is enough common ground that we should be able to move in a more positive direction. We must be able to overcome our differences and stop the hate.
What do I believe? Here is a partial list.
I believe in people.
I believe that our differences can truly be our strength.
I believe violence is not the answer.
I believe that education is probably more important now than ever.
I believe the rhetoric from everyone needs to be toned down.
I believe that people should be held accountable for their actions.
I believe that racism is a disease that is killing us.
I believe that ignorance can be fatal to a nation.
I believe the current partisan divide in this country is choking democracy.
I believe we need strong leadership now maybe more than ever.
I believe we need to focus on what unites us, not what divides us.
I believe knowledge is power.
I believe in this country.
Again, it is a partial list, and one that not all would agree with. That's fine – the differences are part of who we are.
But I would also guess that most of us have a lot more in common than some would think. Most of us want to live in a country that is united, positive and not hateful. We don't want to live in fear. We don't want to be surrounded by uninformed people slinging anger in every direction.
Sadly, people like us are the ones that are never heard. We just go about our daily lives, trying to make our way through life while making the effort to be kind to people. We don't always succeed, but we try.
And do you know what? We come in all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds. We are religious, and not religious. We are different, and yet very similar.
We are Americans. Remember, that means something. We are a light shining in the darkness that can often be this world. Now is the time for us to rise up and act like it.
Resist the hate, embrace the positive. We can do wonders together.