Saturday, August 15, 2020
US flag

U.Va. and Charlottesville, Va., in state of emergency

One person was killed and about 20 others injured this morning as a car mowed down a group of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the New York Times reports.

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Gov Terry McAuliffe of Virginia declared a state of emergency, and the University of Virginia cancelled several programs, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. A statue of Robert E Lee still stands in Emancipation Park, despite a year and a half having passed since an African-American high school student started a petition to have it removed. The cancelled programs were aimed at keeping things peaceful, but I guess that ship sailed a long time ago.

A few facts are undisputed:

  1. Nazi Germany was an enemy of the US during World War II (ca. 1945).
  2. The Confederacy was an enemy of the US during the Civil War (ca. 1865).
  3. Both Nazi Germany and the Confederacy were defeated by the US.
  4. Support for either the Confederacy or Nazi Germany is unpatriotic.

What happened this morning was that as protests and demonstrations were going on around Charlottesville, street fights erupted and turned into outright brawls. After one of the skirmishes was disbursed, a car with Ohio license plates came barreling into the crowd near a mall, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring the others. A video of the crash appears to indicate an intentional motive to kill people on the part of the driver.

James Alex Fields Jr, a 20-year-old from Maumee, Ohio, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and failing to stop at the scene of a crash that resulted in a death, but authorities declined to say if he was the driver of the car.

It is someone’s right to keep saying the South will rise again or the Confederacy is worth reviving or that Nazis are right. History tells us otherwise, but if people wish to continue wasting their breath to speak those words and our time to listen to them, fine. But the killing needs to stop.

For his part, President Donald Trump, whose election may have emboldened the kind of racism shown at U.Va. and in Charlottesville today, condemned the violence, both on Twitter and in public statements. His words were mild and didn’t make direct reference to white supremacy, but I don’t think anyone expected him to condemn the root cause here.

I know, however, that while his election may have brought these racists out of the woodwork, or the crawl space, they were here long before Mr Trump became president and they will be here long after he has moved onto his next challenge.

Part of me understands some of you may not want to let go of something you believe is your birthright. You look out and see your nation filling up with greater and greater diversity. But if that’s what you believe, especially if you believe you shouldn’t have to compete for jobs, for wealth, for anything, then your beliefs are inconsistent with the facts.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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