In the wake of last Saturday’s terrible events in Virginia, most of the media attention has focused on the astounding non-scripted comments of Donald Trump. That an American president could equate White Supremacists, including neo-Nazis, with those gathered to protest against them is indeed mind boggling. But I have ceased to be surprised by any non-scripted dialogue of Trump. He is so unfit for his position that I wonder why we continue to be amazed at the lies he tells or the total idiocy of most of his comments, those that are even intelligible that is.
What I am most dismayed about after Charlottesville is that I fear many Americans do not relate to either of the sides that mobilized on Saturday. Obviously White Supremacists make up only a tiny minority of Americans. But I think a great many more Americans do not relate with those gathered to protest against the White Supremacists. The mainstream media sympathizes with them, but I wonder how many look at the images on the television and think that both groups are extremists and as rotten as each other. And if that is the case, it is utterly horrifying.
I am not suggesting that those who gathered to protest against the White Supremacists are heroes. On the contrary, everyone who has any sense of community and civic duty should have been counter-protesting. Being outraged that in the year 2017, White Supremacists can brazenly assemble and parade armed in the streets should be the norm, not the heroic exception. But maybe American history moves slower than this. After all, it took a hundred years after slavery was abolished for segregation to be legally struck down. It’s taken half a century more, and real integration is still a long way off. How else could you explain the convergence of these frightened, modern day Klansmen. For if America was truly integrated, these men would be terrified of being shamed for taking such an antithetical stand. But they are not afraid of this. They clearly feel emboldened. Emboldened enough to demonstrate their fear of change. If we thought that World War II would solve forever the problem of men who violently cling to fatherland and tradition in the face of technological and demographic change, look again. History is repeating itself. Let us pray that the conflict this time will not take as catastrophic a toll. But beyond prayer, let us peacefully stand up and express our outrage so that these fearful men will be more terrified of mass condemnation than they are of freedom.