It took American president Donald Trump two days to condemn the repugnant acts of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left three dead and 35 injured. Only to shamefully backpedal 24 hours later, declaring that “both sides” were responsible.
From the start he seemed ambivalent about denouncing the Saturday, Aug. 12 attack involving those white supremacists who wanted to “unite the right” but ended up exacerbating the bigotry that still isn’t a thing of the past. On Monday, Aug. 14, Trump said what’s expected of a democrat: “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs,” he declared, under pressure due to the indignation his initial lukewarm response had caused. Following Trump’s sad and mistaken statements on Tuesday, this condemnation has completely lost any ounce of legitimacy it ever had.
Trump’s hesitation stands in contrast to the brave and inspiring response from the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. “Go home,” he told the protesters who filled Charlottesville’s streets with violence. “You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.” And he added: “You pretend that you’re patriots, but you are anything but a patriot.”
Gone are the times when racism wasn’t considered violence. At this point in history, after decades of fighting for civil rights, a democrat simply should not hesitate when it comes to denouncing protests that involved white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan. It’s just a matter of siding with the law.
Ambivalence when it comes to condemning racism legitimizes racism: The hatred the leader of the Loyal White Knights shows towards Colombian journalist Ilia Calderón, in a recent interview for the nighttime edition of Univision News, is just another sign that pro-segregation bigots have been feeling free to hate, to persecute, to call for a level of spite that had become unthinkable.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of KKK groups went from 71 to 130 in the past two years. This proves that it’s necessary to become intolerant of intolerance again.