If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then photographer Ryan Kelly’s heart wrenching image of victims flying through the air during the course of a terrorist’s action in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend says a lot about the state of our nation.
A little piece of America’s soul died Saturday. It seems our current president seemingly isn’t willing to single out a group of terrorists whose hateful, bigoted and racist speech directly led to violence.
Perhaps what’s worse is how the course of Saturday’s events may very well embolden those who wish to follow suit.
Friday and Saturday’s “Unite the Right” march was disheartening in almost every sense.
Those groups of white supremacists and white nationalists weren’t marching to keep a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in a public park, which had been the alleged intent.
They were marching with the intent to spread their hate-filled speech in order to induce violence. Photos showing men holding torches, carrying hate-speech related signs, and even those carrying shields and wearing helmets prove this point.
This group wanted to cause a riot. They wanted to instigate conflict. They wanted to hate.
This is not the America our forefathers fought so hard and shed their blood for.
We’re a land of equality. A land of opportunity, that is tolerant, just and peaceful – for all peoples.
It wasn’t long ago our nation fought to ensure future generations wouldn’t bow down to similar hate-filled rhetoric.
Yet, when our president casts blame on all sides, rather than the instigators, it diminishes everything our predecessors fought for.
What the white nationalists did during the course of the past weekend is domestic terrorism. We as Americans should all be equally disgusted and outraged by their actions.
We must push our elected officials to be more proactive in speaking out against this sort of action. We’ve got to push our law enforcement officials to be a little more proactive when policing such marches.
We also must ensure our education system discourages hate related and bigoted speech. Texas A&M would be well advised to move the “White Lives Matter” away from campus in order to avoid the potential for conflict. While we must allow free speech, we don’t have to allow it in a way that foments violence.
We cannot allow this shallow group of people to divide our nation. We are a group that advocates for the rights of all, not just one group.
What happened in Charlottesville is not who we are.
We are better than this, America. We’ve got to work together to show the world just that.