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The first summer of the Trump “administration” has, unsurprisingly, proved to be a difficult one. With a slew of scandal and now the tragedy of the Charlottesville riots, it’s hard to believe that fifty years ago this season was not marred with hideous hate, but instead was dubbed the “Summer of Love”.

Certainly, unconscionable hatred exists in this country today. There is no questioning that as KKK members, known Nazis, and “white nationalists” of the alt-right cloak themselves in labels that essentially mean the same thing: people who aim to form a more racist, exclusive, and uniquely undemocratic union. This is not what Democrats stand for. This is not what the United States stands for. The question then not only becomes what can we do, but what should we say? What do we say to our children when they ask about riot images flashing on the news? What do we say when their president refuses to lay blame on the very groups perpetuating hate in this country?

We must tell them to be tolerant. It’s that simple. When African Americans and people of color in this country find themselves having “The Talk” with their children to take extra care outside for fear of dangerous encounters in all of its forms, white families must teach their children to care about other people. When peaceful protesters prepare themselves to be met with mace as they resist the alt-right movement, we must educate ourselves about respecting others and creating safe spaces for everyone to work and live. When white nationalists storm a city and claim it to be their right to strip others of their rights, we must steel ourselves against hatred and learn love again. At this point, it is not so much instruction as it is a plea. Care about other people. It makes a difference.

Charlottesville, like Ferguson, will now be marked as one of the cities whose namesake we associate with the horrors of blatant racism in a supposedly post-racism society. But Charlottesville must teach us something. Some good must come from the bad. Let us remember the long hot summer of 1967, have we failed to make any progress since then?

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Montgomery County Democratic Committee
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