After Charlottesville, A Time for Choosing

C’mon everybody
This is your life
I’m talking about a revolution
We gotta organize
We don’t need no segregation
We don’t need no race
New age revelation?
I think we got a case

–Prince, “Sexuality,” 1981

You know who you are.

Not the white nationalists, the all-wrong “alt-right,” the folks who want to make America whites-only again. We know they will never change. We know they will take their hatred to their graves.

I’m talking about the folks who have tolerated a little hatred–or a lot–in the name of sticking with their political tribe. The ones who turned a blind eye when Nixon invoked “law and order,” or when Reagan invoked “state’s rights.” The ones who ignored the subtext of the Willie Horton ad. The ones who weren’t horrified by George W. Bush going to Bob Jones University, or the McCain-Palin rallies, or Mitt Romney boasting that no one ever questioned where he was born. The ones who thought Donald Trump wasn’t that bad.

What are you thinking? Where is your soul?

Do you not have any friends from different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds? Do you not wonder what they must think, how they must feel after years and years of seeing Republicans pandering to the lowest common denominator?

Do you not feel, on any level, some responsibility for Charlottesville?

Remember when Barack Obama said that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin? Did that tick you off? Well, if you had a daughter, she would look like Heather Heyer. Now do you get it?

The hard fact is that the Republican Party has spent the past 53 years pandering to the sort of racial resentment that created Charlottesville. Barry Goldwater was morally wrong to oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He could have helped to heal this country by supporting that bill, but he willfully chose to divide it by opposing the landmark legislation. Ever since, the GOP has willfully chosen to divide this country, to attract every last voter who resented nonwhites being treated as equals under the law.

This hatred will never stop. It will never leave this country. However, it can be reduced. The first step in doing so is walking away from the Republican Party, depriving this radical political organization of your money and your votes.

The post-Goldwater GOP has become, for all intents and purposes, a hate group. The targets of its hate are not just people of color, independent-minded women, religious minorities and the LGBTQ community, but the very concepts that truly make America great: love of wisdom, love of democracy, love of science, love of facts.

If your soul was troubled by Charlottesville, you have to walk away. Not just from the party, but from the party’s media machine. Turn off Fox News. Change the dial from right-wing talk radio. Skip the websites that promote nothing but hatred of those who don’t usually vote for Republicans. Make a clean break.

If you do, your children and grandchildren will thank you. If you don’t, they will judge you.

In the wake of this bloodshed, you have the option to become a hero of American history. By saying no to the hatred the Republican Party has fostered for 53 years, you can literally save lives.

The choice is yours.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.