A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 others were injured after a car plowed through a group at a “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. The 20-year-old driver fled the scene, but was later apprehended.
The rally was being held to protest plans by the city to remove a statue of the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a local park. White supremacists, neo-Nazis, skinheads, and Ku Klux Klan members described the event as their largest rally in decades to “take America back.”
On Friday night, white nationalists marched with torches, and police kept the group and counter-protesters at bay. But chaos followed on Saturday morning as the two groups clashed in Emancipation Park to the point where, the governor declared a state of emergency. Governor Terry McAuliffe said he is “disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence” and blames “mostly out-of-state protesters.”
As the counter-protestors were leaving the rally, a silver Dodge Challenger suddenly came barreling through the crowd, tossing people into the air. Then the driver reversed back into the street dragging bodies.
David Duke, the former KKK leader, argued that the rally “represents a turning point for the people of this country.” “We are determined to take our country back," Duke said. "We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in. That's why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take our country back."
When President Trump weighed in about the events, he said: “The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides...No matter our color, creed, religion, our political party, we are all Americans first...”
Trump never mentions 'white supremacy' or 'domestic terrorism' in his remarks. And, he seems to suggest that the violence was not the fault of the white supremacists, but that 'many sides' contributed. He said this even though white supremacists had just marched through Charlottesville’s streets shouting, “Hail Trump” and making Nazi salutes.
President Trump has still refused to condemn last weekend’s firebombing of a Twin Cities mosque. The president is often quick to tweet about events, and is especially quick to comment when suspects are Muslim or other minorities. Yet, after the bombing – an incident where Muslims were victims – the president said he would “wait and see” whether the attack on the mosque was a 'fake attack'. This is, at best, a cruel double standard.
This week, my latest political-legal thriller novel, Betrayal of Justice (click here for a synopsis) will be available for purchase as an Ebook (Kindle, Nook, etc.). The print version will be available in a few weeks. I finished the book in late winter, early spring. As previously reported, Betrayal of Justice is a fictional portrayal of how things might go in this country, if an anti-Muslim, pro-white, bigot was elected president of the United States. The events that have taken place in our country in recent weeks have, amazingly, mimicked much of the fictional and outlandish presidential actions and public reactions contained in the novel. It is quite distressing that fact has imitated my 'over-the-top' fictional account.
The president of the United States is the president of all of the people. He is not the president of white Christians only. He, and all of us, must, in the harshest and clearest language, condemn hate speech, hate crimes, bigotry and racism in all forms. Thus far, this president has turned a blind eye to attacks on Muslims, singled out various ethnic groups for criticism, and has encouraged, rather than discouraged, hate crimes and discrimination. On the campaign trail, he encouraged violence; is it surprising that we have seen more violence than ever before? Is it surprising that this president is the clear choice of white supremacists like David Duke?