Two years now have passed as I revisit this day that so dramatically illustrated the pandering to the violent nature of white supremacy by Donald Trump—while still among us are many individuals …
Two years now have passed as I revisit this day that so dramatically illustrated the pandering to the violent nature of white supremacy by Donald Trump—while still among us are many individuals who rise to defend his sociopathic character. Fortunately for the soul of our society there also are a greater multitude of us who will ever ally with Heather Heyer on the virtuous side of history. Many tears have been and will continue to be shed for her. No tears ever will be shed for Donald Trump. That to me helps to illustrate the battle between good and evil.
While savagery lives on, the world lost at Charlottesville a symbol of hope whose Facebook pages were filled with messages of equality and love. Heather worked as a para-legal. In an interview following her murder, her employer told how he had found her at her computer crying many times, having seen something on Facebook or read something in the news and realized someone had been mistreated.
On Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, white supremacist protesters — made up of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan — brandished torches and marched onto the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. They surrounded and eventually attacked the counter-protesters whom they met, triggering brawls.
The following day, these white supremacists and their “Unite the Right” militance descended on Charlottesville to protest the city’s plan to take down Confederate monuments, particularly a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The demonstrations quickly got violent, as the white supremacists again intimidated and attacked counter-protesters—and then a car, driven by a man with the white supremacists, rammed into counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer.
After the Charlottesville rioting on Saturday, Donald Trump held a previously scheduled bill-signing photo op. He deigned to utilize that moment also to comment on the chaos in Charlottesville. He said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.” I haven’t been able to determine how long it might have been before he went off to a golf course to ruminate over is personal greatness.
There is much more detail, the nazi-flag-bearing individuals chanting against Jews, the near-fatal beating of a young black man, etc. But it was Donald Trump’s reaction — or lack thereof — that became (and remains) a major story in its own right after he refused to condemn the white supremacists who initiated the riot, initially blaming “many sides” for the hatred, bigotry, and violence.
Several days later, Trump spoke the words that remain etched in history: “You also had some very fine people on both sides,” he said.
On April 25, 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden declared his 2020 candidacy for the Democratic nomination and the presidency by recalling the events in Charlottesville and Trump’s comments. "With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it," Biden said.
I have drawn freely here upon various branches of a free press in putting together my brief remarks—The New York Times, CNN, the Atlantic, etc. As usual, there is no “fake news” (the blithe dismissal of reality Donald loves to proclaim broadly without pursuing detail).
I hope to encounter no further troll-speak on the matter of Charlottesville, but I remain prepared to carry into the future a torch for the late Heather Heyer—for whom I just shed a few more silent tears.