Charlottesville demonstration hits too close

How far have we fallen as a country? We went from electing our first black president to electing a president who cannot call out blatant racism and bigotry for what it is. Who ignores questions from the media of whether he wants support from white nationalists. Who doesn’t name domestic terror as it runs down peaceful protesters, even killing one.

Charlottesville

The Unite the Right rally was a protest to oppose the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, but quickly turned violent. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Unite the Right demonstration that took place in Charlottesville, VA needed to be countered by citizens who still believe in equality. We cannot live in a country where racism walks down our streets and waves its flag of evil. The south has too much history of violence committed by the KKK and white supremacists to ignore a demonstration that encourages hatred and ignorance. Too many black people have died by bigots like these to allow white supremacists to go unanswered. I salute the courage of those counter demonstrators who were there to oppose a rally that is founded on hatred. And I shake my head in frustration that President Trump didn’t have the balls to call out a rally of white supremacists, that brought violence and death, for being wrong. His ambiguous comment of “many sides” needs to be recognized for what it is. Trump has taken a side, and as most of us have realized all along, it is the wrong side.

As a mother and grandmother of children of mixed races I watched the violence erupt and came close to tears. I thought we had come further than this. I thought I lived in a country that had beaten racism down enough that it couldn’t be thrown in our faces and disguised as some kind of sick pride. I know that people of color still face an uphill battle when reaching for success. People who believe blacks don’t have to be smarter, more talented and work harder for success have put up blinders to the world around them. I have seen family and friends of color treated differently, and I know that racism still exists. I had hoped by the time my children were grown that it wouldn’t be something that we must battle on such a large scale. I now find myself questioning what kind of America my grandchildren will face when they become adults. In 20 years, will we have come any further to the ideal country that doesn’t recognize color or religion? As long as we continue to put people in power who cannot name racism, point it out and condemn it, I feel the answer is no.

Americans cannot put someone like Trump in power and then act confused when he doesn’t face down racism. We knew he had ties with former KKK leader David Duke and we know that Duke continues to support Trump. Why are we surprised that our president refused to say anything to condemn white supremacists who rallied for him, and then wore Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats while violently attacking counter protesters? We knew what he was before he took office. Let us take a good look at our leader and learn from our mistakes. If we want America to be great one day, we cannot put someone like Trump in power again.

Author: Maria Muller

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