The rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend were disheartening, frustrating, and tragic. White supremacists rallied in the city itself and on the campus of University of Virginia, inciting violence and hatred.
Friday night's rally took place at the University of Virginia and was likely held in anticipation of the "Unite the Right" rally the following day. Friday's events were considerably more tame, but just as regressive and un-American. Mostly young white men gathered around the University's statue of Thomas Jefferson, carrying tiki torches and chanting phrases like, "Jews will not replace us" and "White lives matter”. Other students counter-protesting the rally showed up, some of them holding a sign that said, "UV Students Act Against White Supremacy” and, eventually, fights ensued.
The long-anticipated "Unite the Right" rally that took place the next day became increasingly more violent and even deadly. Neo-nazis, white supremacists, and members of the KKK traveled from all over the nation to demonstrate their eagerness to "take back" their country by spewing hatred and becoming violent. Fights between the racists and counter-protesters broke out again, without any police interference, and a group of counter-protesters was run over by car, injuring 19 people and unfortunately killing one woman, Heather Heyers.
While the President has claimed that there was violence “on many sides”, it is clear that neo-nazis and the like initiated the violence and were the ones responsible for the many people who were injured and killed that day. Trump has even more recently gone so far as to claim that some of the people belonging to these antisemitic and racist groups are “very fine people”.
At some point, a line has to be drawn.
Someone who actively and blatantly hates entire demographics of innocent people is not a good person, and tolerating and sympathizing with these white supremacists sends the wrong message, or the right one depending on Trump’s intentions.
First, he refused to call these groups out by name until days later, after republicans and democrats alike bombarded him with their frustrated comments and questions.
Then, he went on to claim that the “alt-left” was also responsible for the violence that took place.
And now, he is insisting that not all nazis are bad. This lack of total condemnation gives these groups the green light to continue publicizing their hatred throughout rallies and acts of violence. Trump’s tendency to sympathize with nazis by fabricating the notion that “many sides” contributed to this hatred and violence, instead of just condemning white supremacy and anti-semitism is completely regressive and wrong.
And by doing so, he has finally pushed the people of his own party over the edge. For Trump, there’s no coming back from this.