This past weekend has been one of the hardest for many minority groups and those who identify themselves as “left-wing” citizens. The “UNITE THE RIGHT” rally was a nightmare come true for many minorities and immigrants of this country, as various alt- right groups came together in protest. The group not only included those who only identified themselves as “alt-right” but also those who have openly identified themselves as part of a neo-Nazi group or a white supremacist group including members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The rally began as a protest against the removal of the Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. Back in February, after much deliberation and controversy, the City Council of Charlottesville voted to have the statue removed. This created a series of protests and backlash from citizens who believed that this was a way of trying to erase history, while those in support of the removal indicated that it promoted white supremacy and the ideals of the past South.
The Unite the Right rally, led by Jason Kessler, turned violent amongst the clashing of protesters and counter protesters. Although the city had declared a curfew and ultimately for the rally to end, after chilling images of hate chants and lit tiki torches, the weekend did not end without tragedy. During a counter protest, a 32 year old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed while crossing the street as a 2010 Gray Dodge Challenger purposefully accelerated into a crowd of protesters who were trying to protest the Unite the Right rally. The video of this attack shows the car charging through a heavy crowd of people, backing up hitting more people, and then speeding away, injuring at least 20 people in the process as well as the death of Heather Heyer.
As if this wasn’t enough for many devastated viewers, the remarks of President Donald Trump have left many speechless as he condemns both sides as violent. During a press conference in the Trump towers this past Tuesday, President Trump stated “There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for the country, but there are two sides to a story.” He then went on to ask if all major historical figures statues were to be taken down as important characters of American history such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were all slave owners as well. Many took this as an outright siding with alt – right and white supremacist groups. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself: ‘Where does it stop?'” Trump asked. This came as a shock to many who already condemned the President for taking approximately 48 hours to respond to the events in Charlottesville.
Although many more details are still unfolding in regards to the tragic weekend of the Charlottesville Unite the Right riot, there is an undeniable tension between those who consider themselves “alt-right” and “alt-left” in the United States. Many fear that the events in Charlottesville, Virginia are only but the beginning of a “racial war” between both parties, leaving many wondering if the current President is fit to be the leader of the country during these tumultuous times or if he in fact is the fire that ignited the violence that has overcome certain parts of the country.