The white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville seemed to think that their movement is committed to taking America back. They are mistaken. They cannot take America back because it was never theirs in the first place.
It’s true that the legacies of slavery and centuries of legalized racism have long tarnished our nation’s history. That reality has always stood in conflict with our nation’s founding ideals of freedom, equality, and self-governance. For too many years, white Americans simply ignored the contradiction that they didn’t want to see.
That failure to confront evil allowed racists and white supremacists to continue their hateful traditions in America. But, from the very beginning, it has been our noble ideals that defined the nation and its aspirations. Both yesterday and today, being an American means believing that all of us are created equal and have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The real shame, perhaps our greatest national shame, is that so many who believed in those high ideals never did anything about the grossly unfair and unequal treatment of African-Americans. Martin Luther King, Jr. called out such so-called “moderates” in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” How can you claim to believe in freedom and equality without standing up for those who are denied such basic rights?
Long before that, Frederick Douglas correctly noted that tolerating slavery while celebrating the Declaration of Independence made the celebration a “sham” filled with “fraud, deception, impiety and hypocrisy.”
This article continues at [TownHall.com] White Supremacists, America Was Never Yours