Learning from leaders’ words
To the editor:
We believe that you can learn a lot about a leader by their words. We learned a lot about our elected representatives in Michigan recently after violence and death erupted in Charlottesville Virginia, between a gathering of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and counter-protesters.
Many of our elected representatives responded quickly to these events, disavowing white supremacy as racism, hate, and evil. Our Michigan senators issued rapid statements on Twitter.
Sen. Stabenow stated: “The violence in #Charlottesville is horrifying and does not represent who we are as Americans. We stand united against racism and hatred.”
Sen. Peters tweeted: “Racism & hatred displayed in Charlottesville go against our nation’s values. We must stand together to condemn these hateful actions.”
They were joined by many Republicans. Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted a passionate, personal response: “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.”
But not all of our representatives specifically denounced the white supremacists. Rep. Jack Bergman released a statement on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, stating “The bigoted acts seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, mar the very foundations on which this country was founded, and should be condemned and denounced by all Americans.” Many across the political spectrum called the deliberate use of a car to kill counter-protesters “terrorism” (such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz), not just “bigotry”. President Trump blamed the violence on “many sides” and finally denounced white supremacy by name on Monday after members of his party asked him to do so. Former Vice President Joe Biden quickly responded to the president’s statement on Twitter: “There is only one side #charlottesville.”
We agree. All elected officials have a duty to call out white supremacy for what it is; a hate-filled terrorist movement that generations of Americans have given their lives to resist.