Two years ago, the Charlottesville rally woke America up. In 2017, many of us believed that we lived in a post racial and religious society. We judged our fellow citizen as individuals, not based on factors such as race, religion, family origin, etc.
Then Nazis marched through Charlottesville carrying lighted tiki torches stating that “Jews will not replace us”. By the time all was said and done, Heather Heyer was dead after being hit by a car driven by a neo-Nazi.
Looking back, the signs of a rising acceptance of hatred and prejudice was there, if one only paid attention to the signs. Though I firmly believe that you know who is partly to blame, he is not the sole reason for the riot.
Sometimes, change only comes with a hard knock. Two years, America had it’s hard knock. The question, as I see it, how we, as Americans proceed from here. Do we let these neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right hijack this country or do we tell them in no uncertain terms that this country belongs to everyone, regardless of labels?
In our politically and socially divided world, the easy thing to do is to do nothing and let someone else step on the soapbox. It is far more difficult to get on that soapbox and do what right, even in the face of massive opposition.
Two years ago, the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was the badly needed wake up call that America needed. We may think that racism and prejudice is a thing of the past. But that day proved that it is still alive and well in the United States.
Terry McAuliffe was then Governor of Virginia. In his new book, Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism, the former Governor writes about the time before, during and after the rally. He is candid about his frustration with the bureaucracy of the city government, his belief that the rally should not have happened and the steps he took after the rally to prevent another unnecessary loss of life.
I wish there were more politicians like former Governor McAuliffe. He saw the coming storm in the distance and did what he had to do. It was not easy what he did, but did what he could to stand up for democracy and against those who would use hate to further a destructive agenda.