It is unfortunate, that after 241 years since the signing of our Declaration of Independence, certain citizens of America continue to desecrate the very principles this country was founded upon. The foundation of our democracy is mutual respect for life, liberty, and property.
This past weekend, thousands of ultra right political zealots gathered in Charlottesville Virginia’s Emancipation Park to protest the city’s decision to remove a long standing statue of Robert E. Lee, the defeated civil war general from the South. The gatherers were mostly composed of those who are white supremacists, neo nazis, skinheads, and other similar thinking groups carrying torches as a symbol of unity among them. Needless to say, violence broke out, a woman was killed when struck by a car, and several others were hurt.
Life, liberty, and property. These are the only three quantifiable things we have. As such, we have a political system designed to protect and ensure the mutual respect of these things. A crime occurs when the boundary of one of these is crossed. If you steal property not belonging to you, take someone’s life, or hold someone hostage denying their freedom, you have committed a criminal act. The political system provides remediation for such acts by similarly taking your property (fines), your freedom (jail), or your life (death penalty) to pay for the initial crime.
The real tragedy in Charlottesville is that many of the protesters on BOTH sides of the violence advocate for, or commit for themselves, criminal acts. By assaulting someone else at a rally, or by holding them to the ground, or by hitting them with a car, criminal activity has taken place, and those committing such acts should be dealt with according to the law.
Equally as abhorrent are the opposing groups who attempt to squelch free speech, and similarly assault the protesters.
In America, we are guaranteed the right to free speech, the free exchange of political ideas. Ideas are are not criminal. Ideas, no matter how disgusting, repulsive, or obscene they may be to you cause no harm to another person’s life, liberty or property. They are protected by our Constitution. If you disagree with the promoters of a particular idea, walk away! It is not okay to punch a speaker or threaten their life, or unlawfully block traffic because you hold a different opinion.
In closing, to avoid any confusion, I totally disagree with the ideas put forth by the ultra right groups. Those ideas are a contradiction to the founding principles of America. At the same time, I completely disagree with those who want to silence the protesters by punching them, assaulting them, or restricting their peaceful freedoms.
The real tragedy in Charlottesville is that after 241 years, our own citizens still do not understand why America was founded. The principles of having mutual respect for life, liberty, and property demands a peaceful coexistence, regardless of which side of a debate you are on. When you truly understand American principles, you will honor and advocate for peace.