As members of the Virginia Tea Party Federation, we are veterans of many protests and demonstrations. That is where we cut our political teeth and also where we display the character of our members. The passion for the causes we stand for runs high, but we always maintain a respect for the ideas, individuals and politicians we disagree with, even though the MSM and our political opponents make every attempt to paint a different picture. In fact, we have always been proactive in policing our own ranks, keeping order and civility among our ranks.
As we watched the demonstrations in Charlottesville unfold this Saturday, we saw none of that respect or discipline. Extremists from both sides of the black and white spectrum picked at the scab of a sore created by a misguided local government that mistakenly believes erasing history is the answer to today’s problems. Then, as the demonstrations turned ugly, the assembled police made no arrests, allowing the demonstrations to get further out of hand, turning into a violent race-baited brawl between the bussed-in white supremacist and neo-Nazi extremists against the also out-of-towner Black Lives Matters and Antifa extremists. Even when the police were pushed, shoved and pelted with thrown objects, no arrests were made until after a 2010 Dodge Challenger tragically was used to mow down protesters. One wonders if pressure was applied from outside sources after 23 were arrested Friday at a much smaller, tamer demonstration.
That being said, the behavior of both sides was reprehensible. In a country that stands for free speech, the abuse of that right tears at the very fabric of the culture of our American society and beliefs. It was clear after watching videos of the confrontations that both sides came for a fight. And a fight they had, but to what good? There was no good that came from this shameful display of “hatred, bigotry and violence” as President Trump so correctly labeled it.
The Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation strongly condemns the acts and actions that took place Saturday. We pray for the victims of the violence and we also pray for the citizens of Charlottesville that have been dragged into the national spotlight for actions they did not invite nor promote. As my friend George Urban, a political leader in Albemarle County, stated,
“Political terrorism cannot be tolerated, excused, or rationalized; it must be rejected in whole. Each of us has a responsibility to embrace civility, reject poisonous ideologies and condemn those who engage in political violence. Our common humanity demands as much.”
Chairman, Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation