Much of the country was stunned and horrified that after the first death yesterday, Trump was finally forced to say something. But his message was basically to blame both sides, referring to what happened as an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."
Many sides of what? The movement he's the titular head of?
Politico noted that "white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially-tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension."
The organizers had named their weekend of racist rallies, "Unite the Right." Both avowed Nazi Richard Spencer and KKK leader David Duke were present. Duke was quick to declare Charlottesville a "turning point" for a movement that aims to "fulfill the promises of Donald Trump."
When I asked Alan Grayson what he thought of the conflagration he told me that "David Duke said it far beyond my poor power to add or detract. Duke said that the racists are trying 'to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.' If the hood fits, wear it."
Michael Keegan, President of People for the American Way, spoke for all Americans-- except Nazis and racists, obviously, when he said that yesterday's events were "heartbreaking and infuriating. When Donald Trump was elected president, many of us feared that his election would embolden radical extremists and white supremacists. Today shows that those concerns were entirely justified. Moreover, the President’s refusal to clearly and emphatically denounce a group of Nazis and white supremacists underscores his longstanding willingness to exploit the Right’s most hateful impulses for political gain-- as well as the GOP’s willingness to abide Trump’s tactics of hate in order to push its own ideological agenda. Elected officials should make clear in no uncertain terms that they condemn the hate and racism of the 'Unite the Right' rally and its leaders, and they won’t associate with those who do otherwise. Our thoughts are with the victims of today’s terror attack, as well as with their families and loved ones. I’m grateful for the activists of every race and creed who are standing up for their values every day in nonviolent protest in Charlottesville and across the country. They, not those who spew bigotry and hatred, represent the true American way."
We got in touch with Jenny Marshall, the progressive candidate running in the central North Carolina district represented by bigot Virginia Foxx.
"Americans across this country," Jenny told us, "must stand together in condemning the aims of white supremacy and white nationalism. While our government must protect freedom of speech, we, as its citizens, have a duty to reject the violence provoking, hate speech and intimidation shown by the alt-right. Our president and his administration have been silent as our fellow Muslim citizens in Minnesota had their mosque attacked and again during these horrific events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We cannot wait for his leadership in this matter, as it is obviously lacking. So, now is the time for America's citizens to gather together and resoundingly reject bigotry and racism. We must show the world that love trumps hate."
We reached out to prominent civil rights attorney is Jim Thompson, who is running for the Wichita-based Kansas congressional seat. We want his eloquent words to be the official Blue America response to the tragedy in Charlottesville:
"My heart aches for those injured in Charlottesville, especially for the families of the three who lost their lives standing up to hatred and protecting our democracy. The thoughts and prayers of myself and my family are with you all. As a civil rights attorney and a U.S. Army infantryman, I have sworn to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. What we witnessed in Charlottesville is no less than a domestic enemy intent on the subversion of our American principles and embracing the evil of terrorism. We saw White Nationalists, Nazis, and the 'Alt Right' claiming to 'Unite the Right' and seeking to destroy equality. They consider themselves superior simply because of the color of their skin and religious preference. They raise their hands in salutes paying homage to Hitler and Nazi principles, which included the killing of millions of men, women and children of different races, colors, religions, and those who did not fit the stereotype of the “master race.” Our grandfathers fought in World War II to eliminate this stain on humanity, and we must continue their fight. In a land where all men and women are created equal and entitled to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, there can be no ultimate peace between the Nazi/white supremacist/'alt right' philosophy of government, and our American values stated in the Constitution. I unequivocally reject their philosophy and will continue to fight all enemies of equality, justice, and the United States of America.
"I embrace our diversity of religion, race, and opinion in this country. However, the right to an opinion does not mean that the opinion is right. When immorality, hatred and intolerance form the basis of an opinion or movement, we must exercise our freedom of speech to identify those who hold that opinion and condemn them and their beliefs. Mr. President, you must lead that charge. I ask you Mr. President to formally and unequivocally reject the alt right movement, white supremacy and Nazi philosophy, and to state their beliefs and philosophies are inconsistent with American values. Contrary to your assertion, there are not “many sides” to this issue, there are only two sides: right and wrong. Mr. President, it is long past time for you to choose which side of the fence you are on because riding the fence will just get splinters in your ass."
Want to help put a stop to this quasi-condoned racism and violence? Help elect progressives like Jenny Marshall, Randy Bryce, James Thompson and the other Blue America-endorsed candidates here.
We'll leave off with an eloquent and simple statement from VoteVets that puts into context the tragedy that this country suffered in November, 2016: "Hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives fighting the hateful ideologies that fueled yesterday's protests and subsequent violence in Virginia. The president dishonors their memories with his 'many sides' response to yesterday's domestic terrorist attack."
Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,
--Howie, for the entire Blue America team