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Events in Charlottesville a Wake up Call for Justice and Democracy in America

As most Americans watched in disbelief and outrage ultra right
wingers, white nationalists, self proclaimed KKK members and Nazis
rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia to assert their re-emergence as a
legitimate force in U.S. social and political life and an integral
part of the Trump coalition.  The President condemned the violence and
“hatred on both sides” but refused to disavow organizations such as
the KKK and the Nazi party or the slogans and ideology of those who
advocated racism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and
homophobia.

The KKK was outlawed by Congress in 1871 but has undergone several
iterations in the years since.  Nazism, which was outlawed in Germany
after World War II has reappeared in various forms in the U.S.  More
recently, a host of new ultra-right formations have incorporated many
of the most repugnant features of these organizations under various
guises.

The ultra right which gathered in Charlottesville under the banner of
“unite the right” to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee,
the slave owning, treasonous military leader of the brutal, horrific
armed uprising against the United States Government which resulted in
the death of 750,000 soldiers, more than the combined total of U.S.
military deaths in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and
Afghanistan combined at time when the population of the U.S. was just
7% of what it is today created a racially based, hate promoting civil
disturbance on a scale we have not seen in a generation.

The events in Charlottesville unfold in the wake of initiatives by the
Trump administration to turn back an array of hard won gains in social
and economic justice and democratic rights since World War II
including voting rights protections, protections for the LGBTQ
community, women’s rights and labor rights.  The racism, bigotry,
anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, the fomenting of hatred and violence, by
those who have come from around the country to “unite the right” in
Charlottesville is despicable and reprehensible.   Their actions are
unacceptable.  I reject attempts to create a moral equivalence between
the demands and actions of these ultra rightist fanatics and those who
gathered in response to protest.

Just as our nation could not survive half free, half slave, our nation
and our democracy will not survive unless we as a nation reject these
attempts to preserve and revive these insidious racial, religious and
gender biases and their social and political manifestations.

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