Editorial: Hate must not win

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bisecting Virginia, and running through Charlottesville is U.S. Route 29, known in the state as the 29th Infantry Division Memorial Highway.

The road through the Old Dominion is named after the Army division, which, along with the 1st Infantry Division, led the charge onto Omaha Beach in Normandy in World War II to retake the continent of Europe back from the horrors of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

The division saw some the heaviest casualties of the fighting, with the earliest units seeing catastrophic losses.

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As we saw this weekend, hate, sadly, does not die, and several groups affiliated with the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements descended on the city for the so-called “Unite the Right” rally, with hundreds carrying swastikas and other regalia of the enemy vanquished by the Greatest Generation more than 70 years ago.

These hate groups were, in turn, met by protesters, and things took a turn for the tragic when one of the white supremacists, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, intentionally plowed his car into a crowd of protesters.

When the scene cleared, 19 were injured and Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, described by her family as passionate for social activism, was dead.

The resurgence of hate groups, such as those who invaded Charlottesville over the weekend, should trouble all in this country.

Many, including several Republican senators, took issue with the president’s lack of a specific condemnation of the white supremacists at the rally in his statement on Saturday.

As U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, said, “This is not a time for vagaries. This isn’t a time for innuendo or to allow room to be read between the lines. This is a time to lay blame — to lay blame on bigotry, to lay blame on white supremacists, on white nationalism and on hatred.”

It is imperative that the White House makes it abundantly clear that these groups will not be tolerated, and the words of cabinet members on Sunday were reassuring.

Trump’s national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, was quick to declare the Charlottesville attack an act of terror and Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a federal civil rights probe will be conducted into the matter.

While most Americans are repulsed by the event of the weekend, what happened in Charlottesville is a symptom of the division our country has faced in recent times.

The issue of domestic terrorism must be addressed. While international terrorism should always be a priority, agencies dealing in law enforcement and homeland security must also be directed toward this growing problem at home.

And now, more than ever, it is critical that those involved in politics dial back the poisonous rhetoric that has polluted our discourse.

From the defeat of Nazi Germany to the victories of the Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1960, the forces of equality and tolerance have pushed the world and nation toward progress.
Americans should be vigilant and ensure that no attempt to resurrect the dark movements of history should succeed.