The bitter, deadly clashes between protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday, should serve as a warning of the growing unrest and confusion lurking in the United States.
As a backdrop to the violence that erupted, the gathering was initially billed as a white nationalist rally as the City of Charlottesvilles planned to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The problem with the event was it drew various incarnations of white supremacist groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation. Those groups and others who thinly veil hate speech and the desire to establish a white-ruled government are congenital threats to the purpose and foundation of the United States.
The thousands of people who descended on Charlottesville as part of the so-called alt-right movement were met by counter-protesters who oppose anyone who spews hate speech.
The moment was ripe for high tension and confrontation, which initially consisted of a few punches thrown, hurling water bottles and a lot of shouting.
Things turned ugly later in the day when a young Ohio man drove his vehicle into a crowd of the counter-protesters who were marching down a street. One person died and dozens were injured.
The driver was known by former teachers as someone fascinated by Nazi Germany and Adolph Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and others who did not fit into Aryan vision.
Another troubling aspect of Saturday’s clashes is the blasphemy of anyone sporting a Nazi-inspired swastika and declaring they are patriotic Americans. Today, many people are showcasing this symbolism of hate associated with this mark.
Americans fought and died by the thousands to stamp out the murderous hate of Nazism in World War II. Those remaining veterans among us must surely be appalled by the ignorance and viewpoint of those who are gravitating toward hate of this type.
Let’s be clear, there is a sensible debate in the public about the display of monuments, and that topic doesn’t make someone a racist. Southern heritage or any real American heritage has no room or place to be associated with Nazism.
On Monday, President Donald Trump echoed the feelings felt across the nation when he condemned “repugnant” hate groups and declared “racism is evil.” Trump said, “Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.”
Those who proudly display symbols of hate and make pitches for supremacy are standing opposite of America’s clear purposes. Their speech is no different than the Taliban and other groups that bring unrest, violence and the loss of freedom to millions around the world.
If those who continue to preach hate and Nazism are unhappy with the freedom, liberties and Constitutional protection of equality they find in the U.S., they should consider giving up their citizenship and go somewhere that better suits their pathetic and polarizing views.