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2017-AUG: The Nazi/Alt-right/
White Nationalist Rally in
Charlottesville, VA.
President Trump's reaction:

Part 15

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This topic is continued here from the previous essay.

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Hawes Spencer and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, writing for the New York Times, said that:

"... Charlottesville has become a flash point in a debate about how cities across the South should reconcile themselves with their past and, specifically, with the Civil War.": 1

That war was fought between the U.S. Government and the Confederate States of America, between 1861 and 1865. The main point of conflict that triggered the war was whether the national government had the consitutional power to prohibit slavery in those U.S. territories that had not yet become states. Seven states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Lousiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas were the first states to separate from the Union between 1860-DEC and 1861-MAR. They were joined by Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, by 1861-JUN. All of the states were readmitted into the Union by 1870-JUL. Four other states, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri had previously also legalized slavery but had remained in the Union during the war. 2

During 2017-APR, the Charlottesville City Council voted narrowly to remove and sell the statue of General Robert E. Lee -- a famous General in the 19th Century Civil War -- from Justice Park in the city. The Virginia chapter of the Sons [sic] of Confederate Veterans launched a lawsuit. During the next month, a circuit court judge issued a six-month injunction

 

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2017-AUG-11: Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville:

By 8:15 PM on Friday, AUG-11, a group of about 250 demonstators assembled at "Nameless Field at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. They carried tortures and marched in pairs through the city streets. They yelled slogans like "Blood and Soil" and "You will not replace us!" and "Jews will not replace us!" Many waved nationalist banners, and carried revolver or rifles. They reached the Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Part at the corner of East Jefferston St. and 1st Street. They were met by counterprotestors who consisted of anti-fascist groups, local residents, church groups, civil rights leaders, an informal, well armed militia, and onlookers.

Virginia State Police and city police surrounded the park along East Jefferson, 1st Street and 2nd Street. However, none were posted on the fourth side of the park: East Market Street. It was there that the violence began, and was suppressed by the police. At 11:22 on AUG-12, the police declared an unlawful assembly. At about 7 PM, a state police helicopter which was sent to monitor the rally crashed. Two state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Berke M.M. Bates, 40, died. 3

One of the demonstrators was James Fields , Jr., 21. He travelled from Ohio to Charlottesville, VA in order to attend the rally. Sixteen months later, a jury found that he intentionally drove his car into a crowd of counterprotestors. One woman. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed. Estimates of the number of injured range from 15 to almost 40. He was convicted of first-degree murder and nine other charges including leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and malicious wounding. After his conviction, Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, the leading Jewish anti-discrimination group, said:

"This verdict sends a strong message to others that hate has no place in our society." 3

The jury recommended life plus 419 years in prison. 8

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2017-AUG-12: President Trump discussed the Unite the Right Rally:

At a press conference, President Trump held a press conference and read a previously prepared statement, saying:

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. On many sides. Many sides. This has been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long long time. ... We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one! We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST." 5

He was widely criticised for his statement, including by some leaders from his own party.

  • Ted Cruz (R) said:

    "Mr President –- we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism." 5

  • Irvanka Trump, his daughter and senior advisor, tweeted:

    "There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis." 5

Mayor Mike Signer of Charlottesville (D) blamed President Trump's presidential campaign for inspiring far-right groups, Singer said:

"Look at the intentional courting both, on the one hand, of all these white supremacists, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups," Signer said. "And then look on the other hand, the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, you know, put to bed all those different efforts." 6

"... these anti-Semites, racists, Aryans, neo-Nazis, KKK [have] been given a key and a reason to come into the light." 6

An unidentified White House spokesperson defended the President, saying:

"The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together." 7

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This topic is continued in the next essay with a discussion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals"
(DACA) Program

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Hawes Spencer & Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "White Nationalists March on University of Virginia," New York Times, 2017-AUG-11, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  2. "The Confederate States of America," Fact Monster, 2017, at: https://www.factmonster.com/
  3. Joe Heim, "Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death," Washington Post, 2017-AUG-14, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  4. "James Fields Guilty of First-Degree Murder in Death of Heather Heyer," New York Times, 2018-DEC-07, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  5. "Trump Fails To Condemn White Supremacists In Charlottesville," First to Know, 2017-AUG-14, at: https://firsttoknow.com/
  6. Daniella Diaz, "Michael Signer: The Charlottesville mayor who's now in the national spotlight," CNN, 2017-AUG-14, at: https://www.cnn.com/
  7. Vanessa Romo & Martina Stewart, "Trump Saw 'Many Sides' While Some Republicans Saw White Supremacy, Domestic Terrorism," National Public Radio, 2017-AUG-12, at: https://www.npr.org/
  8. "Charlottesville Jury Recommends 419 Years Plus Life For Neo-Nazi Who Killed Protester," The Onion, 2018-DEC-14, at: https://www.theonion.com/

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Copyright © Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2017-AUG
Latest update: 2018-DEC-16

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