What happened over the weekend in Charlottesville was awful. When someone loses their life for standing up to evil, it’s heartbreaking. When white supremacists stand up and declare that other races of people are inferior and a threat to the western world, they are evil. It’s so easy to say that. Trump did a terrible job with his wishy washy “on many sides” statement. When he came out today and specifically denounces different groups, his words ring hollow. How should we respond to what happened this past weekend?
The white supremacists that gathered in Charlottesville are despicable human beings. Groups like this are not new. I learned about them in 8th grade when I visited the Museum of Tolerance. Anyone that thinks a race of people is inferior to their own holds to an ideology of hate, and one I simply can’t comprehend. How do we respond in a way that brings unity, and not division?
People that espouse hateful ideology should be condemned. It’s really simple. When you see evil, call it evil. Argue with them. Counter-protest them. Make your voice heard. Trump screwed this up big time with his response, and it was such an easy response to make. He got way too cozy with the alt-right during the election. Watch Jared Taylor define it himself. This is evil. Last year Trump couldn’t even denounce David Duke correctly. He’s not good at this.
Mr. President, when a racist organization is protesting and saying racist things, come out and say how awful they are. Say their names, call them evil, and make it clear that violence from those groups will NOT be tolerated.
Where does that leave people who voted for Trump? Are they all alt-right racists who are culpable for what happened in Charlottesville because they voted for Trump?
Of course not. Yet all over Twitter I’m hearing call after call for Trump supporters to condemn the white supremacists in Charlottesville. Yes, we should all condemn them, whether you voted for Trump or not. Saying that Trump supporters have a greater duty to speak up is essentially a threat. “If you don’t speak up and condemn this for the world to hear, then you have some blame to share.”
I didn’t vote for Trump. He’s not a conservative, and I didn’t think he exemplified the character necessary to be President of the United States, but I understand why some people did vote for him. Given the choices they had, people made a decision.
Should Trump supporters condemn the violence and racist ideology? Absolutely. Should they be held liable for evil in the hearts of others? No.
I saw a lot of interesting posts on Twitter from people who aren’t big fans of Trump.
- After blaming the racists in Virginia, people jumped at the chance to blame Trump and his supporters. Someone even said Donald Trump mobilized the white supremacists.
- If your church was silent the next day, you need to find a new church. The implication being that if your church said nothing, they support white supremacy? Did you demand churches condemn Islamic terror after 9/11?
- Some Christian leaders supported Trump, these white supremacists like Trump, therefore there is white supremacy in the church, and we must continue dealing with the deep racist roots of America.
Call out evil, and let’s do it together. We make the world a better place when we stand up to violence and dangerous ideologies. But using Charlottesville as an opportunity to wag your finger at people you disagree with is a missed opportunity.
Charlottesville isn’t your big chance to judge all the Trump supporters you can’t stand. It’s not a reason to hit people over the head with “white privilege.” It’s not a litmus test, where you warn people that they better denounce what happened, and denounce it really good, or maybe you really don’t denounce it.
Unity Over Division
Many things can be true at the same time. There can be racist and evil people protesting in Charlottesville, and there can be millions of people that love their neighbor, regardless of the color of their skin. America can have a past filled with racism and discrimination, a present where a lot of progress has been made, and a future with more hard work to do. You can scream at the top of your lungs on social media how disgusted you are by Charlottesville, and others might say it quietly to their family and neighbors.
When facing dangerous ideologies, we should unite together, protect people from violence, and denounce evil.
Photo Credit Bob Mical