One person has been confirmed killed after being struck by a car that plowed into a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Recently, the City Council of Charlottesville voted to change the name of Lee Park to Emancipation Park and to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. When word got out, protests were planned by groups of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other alt-right organizations for this weekend in what would culminate in a so-called Unite the Right March. When word of this protest got out, counter-protesters planned to demonstrate their opposition to the agenda of the extreme right.
Signs were held aloft, flags unfurled, and a shouting match ensued. Protesters and counter-protesters assaulted each other with verbal insults that soon progressed to physical blows, and the protests turned violent. Several people were injured and some arrested. In the midst of it all, someone drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring some and killing one. At the time the article in the link was written, the driver of the vehicle had been apprehended, but it had yet to be determined if their act was intentional.
Charlottesville is one of the most beautiful communities in western Virginia, idyllic and peaceful. The University of Virginia, which dominates the town, was founded by Thomas Jefferson and is legendary for its beauty and its academic excellence. Jefferson asked that, when he died, only three accomplishments be written on his tombstone: that he was the author of the Declaration of Independence, that he was the author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and that he was the “Father of the University of Virginia.” It should be said that most of those bringing this horror to Charlottesville are not local, or even from Virginia.
The events in Charlottesville seem to encapsulate the polarization of American society today. The left has become too dominated by extremists who demand compliance with a divisive social agenda of identity and gender politics and an economic agenda too enamored of socialist ideals. They are too quick to slur anyone who thinks differently than they as bigots, fascists, Nazis, misogynists and homophobes. On the other hand, white supremacists and other right-wing extremists have been emboldened by the victory of Donald Trump in November and feel a new freedom to proclaim and defend their racist and divisive ideologies. Given that, it is imperative that President Trump condemn in no uncertain terms, not only the violence into which these events are more often descending, but the racism and divisive ideologies that spawn them. Silence implies consent. These racist and neo-Nazi groups are claiming Trump as the inspiration behind their actions. No decent person would want credit for that. If Trump isn’t willing to separate himself forcefully and definitively from these groups, then it’s reasonable to conclude that he supports their position. What other conclusion could one draw?
For now, let’s pray for the dead, pray for peace, pray for those charged with securing the peace, and pray for our country. With foreign threats looming, we can ill afford this internal menace.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.