Residents in Washington D.C. may have to endure a white supremacist rally being organized by the same person whose previous gathering saw one person die and several others get brutally injured at the hands of white supremacists last summer.
The organizer of the Unite the Right rally, which took place last August in Charlottesville, Virginia, intends to hold another rally across the street from the White House this year. Jason Kessler gained approval to stage the rally on Aug. 12, exactly one year after the horrific events of the last Unite the Right protest.
Counterprotesters at the Unite the Right rally in 2017 showed up in droves, and it wasn’t long before violence erupted between the two groups. A group of white nationalists from the rally, for example, beat down a black man in a parking garage who dared to confront their hate. Another white supremacist with neo-Nazi sympathies purposefully ran his vehicle into a group of counterprotesters, injuring several and killing activist Heather Heyer as a result.
A week after the tragedy, Kessler derided Heyer as “a fat, disgusting Communist,” and suggested her death was “payback time” on his Twitter account.
The rally has been approved by the National Park Service, although a permit hasn’t yet been given to Kessler. He submitted the application for a permit on May 8, hoping to hold a rally to highlight “white civil rights” on the anniversary of the event from last year.
Ordinarily, presidents would likely condemn such a hate-inspired rally, but President Donald Trump isn’t an ordinary president. After the violence of the first Unite the Right rally last year, he actually commended some of the neo-Nazis in attendance as “very fine people.” It isn’t likely that he’ll be too bothered by their presence across from his residence this August, even though any sane-minded president would be.
The rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, but it is beyond reproach that Kessler and his ilk think it’s appropriate to highlight the anniversary of a national tragedy. The push for “white civil rights” is also dubious, as civil rights don’t differentiate among separate races — they are universal, and belong to everyone.
This country must reject racism and other forms of bigotry wherever they rear their ugly heads. America can be — and should be — better than this. Hopefully, in the years ahead, we can rededicate our ideals toward equality and freedom, pushing away white supremacy in favor of a society that works for all.
Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Reuters