There’s nothing “right” about purveyors of hate

Last weekend, we witnessed the worst of humanity descend on Charlottesville, Virginia. Bigoted, hate-filled, angry people who refer to themselves as the “alt-right.” But don’t let that moniker fool you. There is nothing right about their twisted ideology: morally, ethically, or politically. They are radical racists, pure and simple. Not right. Not left. But somewhere far off the political map in a dark, cold place that most of us dare never go.

I know plenty of people who fall on the right side of our artificial political construct. The people who gathered in Charlottesville bear no resemblance whatsoever to any of them. The people I know care about their fellow human beings. They love their neighbors. They care about society. We disagree with each other about many things politically, but I know their beliefs come from a place of love and genuine concern. They are good, decent people who I am privileged to know. Equating them in any way with the pond scum that descended on Charlottesville is an insult I cannot and will not abide.

I’m a proud progressive. I supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary and still consider myself a Berniecrat. I’m also a peaceful person. I abhor violence in any form. The images coming out of Charlottesville shook me to the core. The senseless murder of Heather Heyer and barbaric beating of Deandre Harris — two of Charlottesville’s own — filled me with a rage I never want to feel. These two brave souls — and so many more like them — chose to stand up to a group of heavily armed thugs — mostly from out of town and out of state — who came to Charlottesville to provoke fear and intimidate the good citizens of that city into changing their minds about removing monuments that nobody but the people of Charlottesville should have any say in deciding how to handle.

In the hours and days following Saturday’s mayhem, I’ve seen commentators looking to spread the blame in many directions. One meme posted by at least two of my friends slandered the memory of the young woman killed by accusing her (with zero evidence) of being nothing but a racist killed by another racist while protesting against other racists. I have to admit, that one pissed me off big-time, and I’ve lost a great deal of respect for both of the people I know who posted it. It’s disgusting, and they should have known better. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen others try to lump all conservatives in with these butchers. That is equally deplorable.

The fact of the matter is that racists and purveyors of hate don’t represent any of us. They aren’t Republican. They aren’t Democratic. They aren’t right. They aren’t left. They’re antithetical to everything we stand for as a country. The sooner we all realize that (myself included), the better off we’ll be.

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