Following the horrific white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia — which resulted in three deaths and dozens of injuries — people on the right and the left have spoken out against both the event in general and President Trump’s cowardly response to it. Trump refused to specifically condemn white supremacists for their actions over the weekend; instead, he chose to vaguely address hatred “on many sides” when he said:
‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.’
After the president issued this statement on Saturday, renowned journalist and outspoken Trump critic Dan Rather published a Facebook post calling it a “general message of false equivalence” that was “disgusting and counterproductive.”
On Sunday, Rather returned to Facebook to once again address the rally and Trump’s response. He also wrote about what the American people can learn from Saturday’s events moving forward.
In his second post on the matter, Rather began by reflecting on the civil rights movement of the 1960s and argued that, “tragically,” the lessons learned during that period “must be repeated.” He then asked his followers, “will we have leadership out of the White House or will have cynicism and cowardice?”
Rather went on to discuss other responses to yesterday’s events and said he is “heartened by the response from across the political spectrum.” He added, though, that things like yesterday’s rally do not just come out of nowhere. Instead, they stem from “more subtle forms of discrimination” that often go unquestioned.
‘But we cannot merely cleave the most grotesque incarnations of this national malignancy. We must recognize that the seeds for yesterday’s carnage can be found in attacking voting rights, demonizing immigrants, the coded words of anti-Semitism, and all the other more subtle forms of discrimination and false victimhood. They are just as dangerous as what was on display in Charlottesville, perhaps more so because they are allowed in “polite company” – with a knowing wink and a blow of the proverbial dog whistle.’
Rather then suggested that yesterdays’ rally was necessary so that Americans could see “how easily our order can break down.”
‘Perhaps we needed to see this hatred so raw. Perhaps we needed to see how easily our order can break down. Perhaps we needed to feel the empathy for those in our society who are subjected daily to racist taunts and actions.’
He ended his post by calling the current situation a “moment of moral clarity” for the nation and urging everyone to stand up against hatred.
‘This is a moment for moral clarity as a nation. It is a time for everyone to line up and be counted, are you on the side of love or hate. The central question of the moment is will we pledge actions that do not only mitigate the crisis but lead to real and substantive change. The world is watching. History is watching. I hope we are up to the challenge. I think we are.’
Featured image via Mike Coppola/Getty Images.