A mob of white supremacists and neo-Nazis were seen in Charlottesville, VA once again on Saturday, Sept. 7, near the University of Virginia campus.
Led by Richard Spencer, the group of racists rallied in Emancipation Park, armed with torches and yelling comments such as, “You will not erase us” and “We’re going to come back again and again and again.”
Judging from the fact that this is not the first occurrence of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this year, it is hard to say who exactly is going to stop them from coming back again.
Although this mob included less than fifty participants and lasted about ten minutes, an earlier rally in August drew a crowd of over 200 people, from thirty-five different states, and incited a bout of violence that was covered by the media relentlessly. Rally participant James Alex Fields Jr. deliberately drove his car through a throng of protestors, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer and thirty-nine others injured.
Despite this crystal clear act of terrorism, President Trump never offered a direct response to their actions, instead deciding to comment on the “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” His lack of reaction is precisely what led to the reappearance of the group on Saturday.
When the president of the United States cannot condemn a blatantly racist and violent movement, he is turning a blind eye and handing white nationalists the opportunity for recurrence. Other than the risk of being identified by amateur detectives on Twitter, what is stopping white supremacists and neo-Nazis from returning? A grand total of five people from the August rally were charged with criminal offenses, one of them being James Alex Fields Jr. At the rally itself, the racist, xenophobic, anti-semitic and downright hateful bunch were actually protected by the police in the name of free speech. The vast majority of the participants returned home, slept in their beds and most likely went to work the next day, without any consequences whatsoever.
A powerful, direct and timely response from the White House on Saturday’s gathering is crucial in preventing future mobs. Laws need to be enacted that makes it increasingly difficult (and hopefully impossible) to hold protests fueled by neo-Nazis. We cannot normalize white nationalist rallies in America, and we cannot let it pass ignored.