Unite to fight

Charlottesville rallies have left a mark that will not be unheard

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Pain, peril, and anguish fill the world. Threats of war between major world powers, hate crimes, and anger fuel the news. It seems as if everything is going downhill, especially after the rallies and marches broke out in Charlottesville, VA this past Friday and Saturday.

The protests were held by the alt-right, or alternative right, a large group of people with far-right ideologies who reject modern conservatism for white nationalism. The rally was referred to as “Unite the Right.” The marchers and protesters included white supremacists and other sects of the alt-right. The march was organized in an effort to stop the removal of a confederate Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park. Before the big rally Friday night, protesters spilled onto the University of Virginia campus spewing anti-Semitism.  

Like many others, I avoided the news, thinking “not again” and sliding my phone back into my pocket. I wasn’t shocked by the fact that yet another rally had broken out; in 2017, marches and protests just seem to be the latest craze.

As my day went on, the headlines kept popping up, kept showing up on my social media feeds, kept interrupting a perfect, sunny day here in St. Charles. It nauseated and appalled me, but it didn’t shock me. The shock factor came when neo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into the crowd, injuring 19 and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Heyer was a liberal, protesting  against the alt-right crowds that invaded the park to riot the statue’s removal.  Removing these statues ends in nothing but conflict. These rallies to “defend” statues are nothing more than an excuse for racists and bigots to gather and feel as if their ideas aren’t outlandish, biased, and ignorant.

With ignorance trending and so many of us becoming used to this constant cycle of bad news, we ignore it, either for mental health’s sake or because it’s become the “norm.” Being the “norm” doesn’t make it okay. It doesn’t mean we can become complicit. We can’t stick our heads in the sand. We can’t plug our ears, close our eyes, and pretend racism and other issues aren’t dominant in our society. It’s not an option anymore. We have to take a stand. We have to stop this.

Now, in a time where the country seems to be in shambles, and we are torn apart by our political views and our moral views, it is important to remember to do something about it. Do something for yourself, your neighbor and the country, and work towards being a free country again.