The events that unfolded in Charlottesville at the weekend were a microcosm of a larger story of racism in America.
As Hubert O’Hearn wrote here, Donald Trump has legitimised America to hate again, and where racial hatred had once become a marginalised facet of American society it is now out for all to see.
On Friday night hundreds of white supremacists marched with torches down the long green lawn that leads to the University of Virginia. They chanted Nazi slogans in the open, undisguised, unafraid of being photographed, proud to be seen.
It may seem like a random target for neo-nazism, a small town of fewer than 50,000 people, but this was very much premeditated.
Charlottesville was a blue island in a sea of red counties in the 2017 election, with Hillary Clinton capturing 80 percent of the vote. But its progressive ideals have been put under attack from all four corners.
The city’s ongoing debate between nationalists protective of what they term “Southern heritage” and the city’s progressive population is one that was bound to boil over at some point, as it did at the weekend with a strongly racist tilt.
Remarkable, that in 2017, skin pigmentation can be the cause of so much divide, but that’s the sorry state we find ourselves in.
As Les Nicholls beautifully expresses here, “we must embrace all our differences and end this insanity”.
THE MIRROR: A Poem for Charlottesville
WHEN I LOOK IN THE MIRROR WHAT DO I SEE.
DO I SEE THROUGH THE COLOUR THAT STARES BACK AT ME
THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS I JUST SEE WHO I AM
MY SKIN JUST A VESSEL THAT CARRIES THE MAN
WE ARE NOT BORN TO BE RACIST, WE ARE NOT BORN TO HATE
THESE THINGS ARE DISEASES THAT MONSTERS CREATE
THEY FEED ON OUR FEARS AND THEN PLANT THE SEED
THESES SEEDS HARVEST INTOLERANCE OF RELIGION AND CREED
WHITE SUPREMACISTS OR NAZIS THEY ARE ONE AND THE SAME
BUT THE BLOOD IS STILL RED THAT RUNS THROUGH THEIR VEINS
THAT BLOOD THE SAME COLOUR IN EVERY MAN ON THIS EARTH
WE ARE ALL BORN WITH COMPASSION AT THE TIME OF OUR BIRTH
I FEAR FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND MINE
WE MUST UNITE EVERY COLOUR BEFORE WE RUN OUT OF TIME
WE MUST ALL STAND TOGETHER AND SAY WITH ONE VOICE
IF WE ARE TO WIPE OUT THIS CANCER WE MUST MAKE A CHOICE
TO EMBRACE ALL OUR DIFFERENCES AND END THIS INSANITY
FOR WE ARE MANKIND WE ARE ONE RACE, WE ARE HUMANITY.
FOR ALL THAT PERISHED AND WERE INJURED IN CHARLOTTESVILLE AND FOR ALL OF MANKIND. LOVE ONE ANOTHER NOW AND ALWAYS.