This morning that was precisely what I needed. I’d been sitting with my morning coffee, reading the Sunday paper, catching up on what’s been going on, most especially yesterday’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia. This morning was my first real chance to sit down and try to get a fuller picture, as I often do, from various sites which offer a range of takes on the news of the day.
The events of Friday and Saturday are deeply disturbing. In the ever-widening rift that divides our nation, a right-wing, White Nationalist rally was alarming to contemplate even before it convened. In what I believe must be called domestic terrorism, one of the attendees at the rally drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors. He took the life of a 32-year old woman while injuring almost a score of others. Two state troopers lost their lives later in the day in a helicopter crash, as they were assisting with crowd control. Three lives lost in an ugly scene that should leave a bad taste in all our mouths.
Voices calling for calm were heard. Leaders from both sides of the political spectrum responded, on Twitter and other media, to call out the evil and banality of the racist, hate-filled gathering. Even our First Lady, Melania Trump, tweeted (well in advance of her husband) a responsible message in reaction to the violence and hatred. Our Tweeter-in-Chief, however, seemed to be missing in action. Even popular author J.K. Rowling noted in a tweet that it was an ironic time for our President to “forget how to tweet."
As it happens, perhaps it would have been better had he not spoken out. While the President did condemn the violence, he served up moral equivalency. This I believe, bespeaks his continued support for the hate-mongering and divisive climate that his candidacy, and now his presidency, have nurtured across our nation. It is true that fault can be found on “many sides” when it comes to the divisions and intolerance found in our nation. However, yesterday’s events in Charlottesville were a poor choice for him to choose as an example of the many corners in which hateful rhetoric can be found. The hateful rhetoric, the overt expressions of racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry on display in the past 48 hours were not “on all sides.” They were on one side – that of White Nationalism, neo-Nazi, anti-Black, anti-Semitic, and a host of other expressions of hatred which had gathered for the “Unite the Right” rally. Indeed, one white-nationalist outlet, The Daily Stormer saw in the President’s remarks an affirmation of the central message they had hoped to trumpet in Saturday’s gathering – America belongs to White Christians.
non-violent protest. Our protest must not be limited to condemnation of these past few days. It is well past time to call for accountability from our elected officials in our nation’s capital, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, at all levels. To those who still say, wait, the pivot is coming, I say forget about it. There will be no pivot. As I have written previously, this President reminds me of Maurice Ogden’s powerful poem, The Hangman in which the protagonist in the end proclaims, “I went no further than you let me go.” Let’s take our President at his word, for he does not mince them. Rather he fearlessly and irresponsibly speaks hatred and division, every day of every week. Stop waiting for the pivot, or for the latest grown-up like General Kelly to rein him in.