Thoughts on Charlottesville

Published 8:46 am Monday, August 28, 2017

Last week, neo-Nazis, KKK members, and other white supremacists came together for a rally in Charlottesville at the heart of the University of Virginia’s campus, which led to the death of a 32-year-old counter protestor, Heather Heyer. We must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting and denouncing this hateful ideology. I am extremely saddened by these acts of violence, bigotry and hate that occurred last Saturday — my heart is still grieved. In order to move forward from this act of domestic terrorism, we must shine light on the darkness and talk openly and honestly about this abhorrent ideology.
As I said last week in response to this tragedy, racially-motivated intimidation and violence have no place in today’s society, and groups fueled by hate must be condemned in the strongest terms. These groups are not representative of American values.
While we must be unequivocal in condemning these groups, protest groups on the left, such as Antifa — which advocates violence in response to speech it disagrees with, also escalated the conflict unnecessarily. The right to free speech can lead to discourse that must be condemned, but as a free society we must also be committed to addressing it peaceably.
When America declared its independence, we aspired to create a nation in which “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” While the path to equality hasn’t always been straight, we can unite around this founding moral principle and become stronger as a country.
As always, feel free to contact my office if I can be of assistance to you or your family.

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