America has long been marching toward the road of liberty, equality and justice for all. It has been a tough, hard climb, but always toward higher and better ground.
Then comes a tragic day like Saturday in Charlottesville. It’s the kind of day that makes us shiver and wonder where we really are on that road? It’s like we lost our footing and shows us we still have a long way to climb.
This rally in Charlottesville was aimed at protesting the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, according to organizers. The protest included a march of men carrying fire-lit torches — bringing back horrific imagery of the KKK — and chants by white nationalists of “Jews will not replace us” could be heard.
Counter-protesters confronted the protesters and, almost as expected, fights broke out in racist-dominated ugliness right here on one of our streets in America. Charlottesville became a battleground. We should be more than disturbed. We should be outraged and must refuse to let it just wash over us as the news of the day.
Then there was the horrendous sight of a motorist speeding his vehicle into a crowded intersection of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19. The driver was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder. Adding to the tragedy, two Virginia State Troopers lost their lives in a helicopter crash while trying to protect the public.
The events in Charlottesville are far beyond tragic and should serve notice to us all that these fringe groups involved in the racist hate must be rejected and eliminated. These groups are demeaning many great Americans by injecting the term “right” into their slogans and rallies, falsely implying they are part of the overall conservative agenda. They most certainly are not, and claiming as much is a horrible lie that further muddies the murky water that is drowning this country.
The U.S. Justice Department and federal law enforcement need to take on and investigate these fringe groups because of the domestic terrorist dangers they represent to all of us. We all have a role, too, to reject this hatred in what we do in our own walk of life. We need to be a country united, not divided, now more than ever. We need to respect each other and respect our differences. Hate must be fought with love, a love for our fellow man and a love for a God that created us all equally.
Showing that kind of love is the one way we can start to take down this enemy that is pulling us apart at the seams. Our country and each citizen in it deserves better that what happened Saturday in Charlottesville. The solution starts with each of us.