Well over a year ago I wrote a blog that outlined my concerns about the Alt-Right. It was not a particularly well received piece. In fact it was one of those days when my topic of choice was obviously not something that my readers wanted to consider. I had written it after being totally shocked by an article that outlined the despicable nature of the members of this fringe group. I had learned that they were so out of mainstream thinking that most of them hated even rather conservative Republicans whom they described with words so disturbing that I chose not to include them in my essay. I simply alluded to the filth that comes from their lips, but I also warned that they were warming up to then candidate Trump and that he had failed to denounce them. My purpose in writing the piece was to make people more aware of the presence of hatred so vile that it should be shunned by every American. Sadly it appeared that my words fell on mostly deaf ears and I returned to writing feel good blogs that skirted mention of the evil that exists in our midst.
The events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend have at long last shed an unflinching light on the horrific nature of the Alt Right and other neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups who have been gaining power even while most of us ignored their existence. We have seen with the precision that only a camera can capture just how crazed they are. The images of these people parading through Charlottesville carrying torches, chanting unbearably hateful slogans and raising their arms in imitation of the Nazi salute has surely sickened most Americans. The fact that this rally ended in the tragedy of terror and murder only compounds the disgust that we should all be feeling. Unfortunately at the very moment when President Trump might have roundly condemned this domestic poison, he chose to water down his remarks by offhandedly noting that there is hatred on both sides, thus missing the mark and the reality of what had happened. This did not surprise me, but it certainly disappointed me. The swamp of his ignorance appears to be deeper than the extent of his thinking.
There was no reasonable response to the tragedy other than to condemn the Alt-Right and the other white supremacist groups without any excuses. These are people whose hatred goes far beyond wanting to keep Confederate monuments in place. They want to redesign the very fabric of our nation. In their minds minorities of all races and ethnicities should be silenced and possibly even eliminated. In their warped universe even Catholics and Jews are inferior beings who don’t deserve to coexist with them. This is the truth about them, and yet very little has been written or discussed about their beliefs until now. Anyone who truly loves this country and feels that we should all be equal should abhor such groups without reservation. That is why I can’t imagine that President Trump watered down his prepared remarks with an impromptu aside that indicated that he was still unwilling to call them out and severe any ties that may have bound him even loosely to them. Perhaps many of these people voted for him, but such support should be an embarrassment, not cause for reserved condemnation. President Trump often criticized President Obama for not referring to terrorists as implicitly as he should have, and now it seems that Trump is reluctant to follow his own advice. The man who has no problem using bellicose language in defense of himself fell short in decrying the violence and prejudice of this weekend.
I pray that none of us will miss the point of what has happened. These evil groups have existed in the shadows for decades, but now they have the confidence to come out in the open. This is so because we have been willing to look the other way when we should have been letting them know with certainty that we as a nation will not stand silent while their bigotry and hate exists. All of us should loudly and soundly protest everything for which they stand. There is no room for their prejudice in our society. We must all denounce them here and now. There is no other hand.
I pray for healing in our country. We all share responsibility for silence when we should have been voicing our common disdain for any persons or groups that espouse a return to the kind of evil that tore the world apart not that long ago. There is nothing about the Nazi political thinking that is worthy of emulation. We have clear documentation of how evil their philosophies can be. Why we would allow it to rise again in our own country is beyond me.
It is also clearly true that slavery was an evil that needed to be eradicated. The fact that it took a civil war that claimed the lives of 600,000 young men only compounds the tragedy of this dark chapter in our history. It is up to each of us to enlighten our children and help them to understand that we must move forward together, united in a determination to be a just and inclusive nation.
We must also be more vigilant and willing to face the realities of our world. We must educate ourselves even when what we learn is disturbing. We have to be honest with ourselves so that we will not become victims of our own ignorance. The fact is that the forces of evil exist and we must bring their horrific philosophies into the light of day so that we may reveal their true intent. Adolf Hitler’s goals were an open book, all contained in the pages of Main Kampf. Too many people ignored the warnings that he provided until it was too late. We can’t let that kind of thing happen here.
I want to end with the wisdom of leaders whose words are a guiding light particularly on this very sad day:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” —- Nelson Mandela
Our Founders fought a revolution for the idea that all men are created equal. The heirs of that revolution fought a Civil War to save our nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to that revolutionary proposition.Nothing less is at stake on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a violent attack has taken at least one American life and injured many others in a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons.White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special. As we mourn the tragedy that has occurred in Charlottesville, American patriots of all colors and creeds must come together to defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry. —-Senator John McCain
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let us all stand together against hate. With one voice we must demonstrate to our children that our human hearts choose love.