Words can’t accurately convey how saddened and disgusted I am by yesterday’s events in Charlottesville.
Nazis marching for white supremacy. A car driven into a crowd of counterprotesters. One dead, nineteen injured. All in the name of the alt-right.
First of all, let’s not do the neo-Nazi movement any favors by coining generic and indirectly positive terms to legitimize it. White nationalism? Alt-right? Too ambiguous. Let’s call these monsters what they are. Racist. Bigoted. Nazis. Un-American.
Why are you protesting now, Nazis? You got what you wanted. A bigoted President. Immigration restrictions. More police shootings. A racially charged environment. A dramatic uptick in hate crimes. Is being white really so bad in America? Is being a part of the human race, and sharing this great land with brothers and sisters who might look a little different from you, really that unfathomable?
Words also don’t do justice to express my disappointment in the ongoing inability of Donald Trump to denounce racism. Once again, given an opportunity to put his overwhelming catalog of previous racist statements behind him and unify the country, he blamed “many sides” and touted his own achievements.
Can you imagine George W. Bush, in the wake of 9/11, failing to denounce terrorism for what it is? Can you imagine him, after finishing casting the blame for the 2,996 who died in many directions, launching into a self-glorifying diatribe on the economy, unemployment, and foreign trade?
Neither can I. Because Bush, for all his flaws, was a decent human being who empathized with the plight of the suffering and understood the need to unify the nation following tragedy.
All that Donald Trump cares about is Donald Trump.
Chris Cillizza puts it this way: “Chalking [Charlottesville] up to a violent political rhetoric that occurs on both sides and has been around for a very long time contextualizes and normalizes the behavior of people who should not be normalized.” In other words, we are all given basic, inalienable rights by our Constitution. Rights that continue to be our rights as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. In Charlottesville, rights were infringed, and people were killed and injured, not to mention emotionally scarred, in a cowardly terrorist attack. Our President, meanwhile, stood by, blaming our country’s history and pointing fingers at both sides, rather than denouncing the detestable dystopian demon in our midst.
Donald, you have hit a new low.
Not that I, or many others for that matter, am all that surprised. Charlottesville’s mayor, Michael Signer, certainly wasn’t surprised. “Look at the campaign [Trump] ran,” he said. “Look at the intentional courting both, on the one hand, of all these white supremacists, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups. And then look, on the other hand, the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, you know, put to bed all those different efforts.”
This is the “leader of the free world” Signer is referring to, ladies and gentlemen.
We all have rights. However, white supremacy is not a right. It is hatred. Plowing a car into a group of nonviolent protesters is not freedom of speech. It is hatred. The President pussyfooting around a racially motivated terrorist attack isn’t being politically correct. It is hatred.
We have seen the face of hatred, and it belongs to Donald Trump.
This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s a human race issue. Republicans and Democrats alike across the country have been quick to condemn Trump’s bigoted, shameful statements. About the only people who have applauded his remarks are David Duke and other white supremacists.
If Charlottesville, and Trump’s response to it, don’t leave you appalled and irate, you either condone Trump’s beliefs, or you aren’t paying attention.
Pay attention. There is no middle ground on this issue. It’s impossible to “not be racist” and yet tolerate racist speech and actions.
Open your eyes, America. Stand up. Speak out, peacefully. Don’t sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to.
It’s not about being a Democrat. A Republican. Black. White. Christian. Muslim. It’s about being American, and recognizing that we are all in this human race together. Recognizing that only love can conquer hate. Recognizing that the sum of our country’s residents is greater than its parts, and that we all desperately need each other. Recognizing that even though our President refuses to foster an environment that will produce peace and decrease racial tension, we all can still do our part to love. Everybody.
This. Is. America.