A woman is dead. Rather, a woman was killed in Charlottesville. We can all agree that this is not good. Preservation of life, along with liberty, is the cornerstone of our democracy. Her death arose out of a conflict over the definition of that democracy. This is where the debate starts. The debate about hate.
Hate is unfiltered, unchecked, and irrational ill will toward others. It can have dire consequences if acted upon, hence all the hate crime laws that have been enacted and all the pushback against hate speech. The saying goes now that hate speech is not free speech. And this is where the chasm in our political divide is opening wide. Fringe groups are arising on the very premise that their thoughts will not be controlled. The Left and the Right are growing farther apart, because of this one issue: The definition and the boundaries of Liberty.
Heather Heyer is a martyr. By definition, she died at the hands of the opposition to her ideals that she was in the act of fighting for. She died on the battlefield. No one on any side can deny that. The fact is, however, that Kathy Steinle, the woman murdered by an illegal immigrant on a pier in San Francisco, is also viewed as a martyr by the Right. How much melodrama being kicked up on either side for each of these women is what is rubbing emotions raw. And this is where the disconnect lies. This is where divided Americans need to look if they want to see eye-to-eye.
If we the people are going to hash out who is hating, and who is race-baiting, and who is to blame, then we must all respect one anothers’ opinions. The beef from the Right is that Liberals always seem to come off as condescending, or morally holier than thou. The Right comes off as hateful for even standing up to them. Neither side wants to bend, and hence, we get nowhere but further toward the fringe. Not all the right-wingers at Charlotesville are Nazis. Not all leftists are bleeding-heart open-border hippies. The spectrum of name calling can go on and on.
And that’s where we need to look. Yes, James Fields, the Charlottesville killer, is a hateful, despicable person. Are all Trump supporters responsible for his actions? If you say yes, then that is a problem. It is the same as a Trump supporter saying that Hillary Clinton is responsible for the death of those Americans at Benghazi. Each side will fight and die for their viewpoint, of that we have seen the evidence.
The point is, do we all want to fight and die on American soil? No one backs down from a fight. It is human nature. We are all human. We have to ask ourselves, what is driving this hate? I think the answer is disrespect. Each side feels disrespected by the other. Are there Nazis in America? Yes. Do they belong? No. Is calling Trump and all of his supporters, and offering them a reprieve or sanctuary if they recant their support going to change their minds? Hell no. If you believe that, you are back to the same stance that fueled their support in the first place… your sense of moral superiority.
The President said what he needed to say, and has moved on. I urge you to do the same. Protests and demonstrations by people considered to be repugnant by each side will continue to occur in this country. We must learn to deal with it, because it is not going away. If you want it to escalate to all-out civil war, ask yourself if you are prepared for that. Because no one wins in a civil war, except the arms dealers.