Lessons from Charlottesville

Lessons from Charlottesville

In the wake of an act of terrorism and hate in Charleston, South Carolina several years ago, President Obama exemplified our nation’s moral compass, condemning the white supremacist who perpetrated the act, calling on all Americans to rise above our past, and famously singing “Amazing Grace” at the memorial service. This weekend, President Trump could not find the words to condemn an act of hate and terror by a white supremacist that injured dozens of people who were calling for tolerance and taking a stand against white supremacy. The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, celebrated President Trump’s response to the tragedy, applauding that when he was asked to condemn the neo-Nazi marchers, President Trump walked out of the room.

President Trump’s instinct to blame “many sides” gave comfort to white supremacists who he had refused to call out for their un-American and hateful conduct and viewpoints. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, by contrast, emphasized that the “violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of ‘many sides.’ It is [the fault of] racists and white supremacists.” Senator Orrin Hatch took a similar tone, stating that “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

For me, like Senator Hatch, the battle against Nazi ideology is personal. My mother was born in a concentration camp, bringing light out of darkness. She was named, by my grandmother, “Estare,” meaning “star” of liberation. My grandparents, after surviving the Holocaust, came to our country because of its commitment to freedom and opportunity. They appreciated our country’s tradition of supporting immigrants and giving them a fair shot.

We in Colorado value the ethos of our nation’s motto:  E Pluribus Unum, out of many, one. In Colorado, we pull for one another to thrive and believe we all deserve a fair chance to succeed in life, regardless of our religion, race, or ethnicity. In one of our proudest moments, Governor Ralph Carr opposed Japanese internment camps during World War II. Today, we must all call out evil when it emerges, condemning white supremacy and hate before they have a chance to take root.  As our next Attorney General, I will do just that and continue our nation’s fight for equality, freedom, and opportunity for all.  

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