MARC H. MORIAL

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” —Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1986

President Donald Trump usually is quick to share his immediate response to any event—usually on his preferred platform, Twitter.  And he usually is reluctant to back down, once he’s made a statement. So it was significant from the start not only that his initial response to the racially motivated violence that took place at a White supremacist rally in Charlottesville was slow to come but also that it was revised several times. And none of the versions have been satisfactory.

In his eagerness to remain neutral and build a bridge of equivalence between hate spewing White nationalists and counter-protestors united against the cancer of racism metastasizing in our country, President Trump–whether through callousness or political calculus–has emboldened White supremacists and signaled tacit, if not clear support, to hate mongers.

Let’s be clear. There were not “many sides” in Charlottesville.

There were alt-right adherents, nationalists, neo-Nazis, and whatever new-school euphemisms are out there to describe devotees of old-school racist ideology. And you can put them all on one side–or if you prefer–a basket of deplorables. There were also people there who put their lives on the line, including 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who lost her life while fighting for civil rights, human dignity and the promise of a better America for all its citizens.

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