One year ago this weekend the country dealt with one of the biggest hate rallies that we have dealt with in a long time. As white nationalists joined together in a rally under the name “Unite the Right” took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, under their right to protest the removal of Confederate Statues. However, this right should have been revoked when it broke out in violence. We have the right to be heard in this country. The first amendment proclaims that “Congress shall make no law…abridging freedom of speech.” There have been various standards that have been set in regards to this proclamation as can be seen on the US Courts website.

While we traveled through the south this past month we saw several monuments that were placed in commemoration of Confederate soldiers and their cause. I believe that their cause was unjust. In a country where we offer liberty and civil rights to all, in accordance with the Constitution of the United States, we should upheld these views by not publicly supporting those who fought against such ideals. To me it is sickening to see such displays of praise to those who fought to maintain the enslavement of blacks in this country.

Our country’s past is tainted and scarred with issues of racism, cultural and religious hatred and bigotry. I would expect that in 2018 we would be much more civilized. Biologically we are all the same no matter our religion, skin color or country of origin. If we continue to be dillusioned to believe that someone is less because of skin color or relgious belief then we have failed. By degrading others and looking down on them we are only furthering the problem instead of becoming a solution.

Just because “hate speech” is protected by the First Ammendment doesnt mean that we should engage in it. If we walk around saying or doing whatever we wish just because it is not strictly against the law, under the guise of “it is a free country” then what are we leaving for the next generation? Have we fulfilled the moral responsibility that we have to be neighborly and kind in all that we do? Are we seeking a higher standard of living or just creating walls of seperation among us? We should live better.

In a paramount case on hate speach in 1969 Brandenburg v. Ohio it was stated by Brandenburg in regards to Ku Klux Klan actions that “Personally I believe the [black] should be returned to Africa, the Jew returned to Israel.” And then Brandenburg continued, “We’re not a revengent organization, but if our president, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it’s possible that there might have to be some revengence taken.” The ruling by The Court was that such, though it might be hateful, was still protected by the First Ammendment and did not constitute “imminent lawful action”.

This, thus, gave action or at least a standard by which hate speech can apply their rhetoric and ability to say the harsh things that they desire. Under the standard of the First Ammendment we can speak our mind. We can freely declare our views, but does that negate our moral right to be more loving and respectful? Christ declared that we should love one another. He used a Samaritan, who was despised of the Jews, as the one who stopped and did the neighborly thing by helping the Jew who was beaten and left for dead. Are we being the Samaritan or the one who looks the other way and passes by on the other side? Just because the law of the land doesn’t claim it wrong does that make it right?

I have grown up in a predominately white area and understand somewhat the extended privileges that I have as a white male in this world. That means that I have to work harder to extend those same privileges to those of any other color. I spent two years in and around St. Louis, Missouri. There I met and befriended many individuals of color. By getting to know them I learned that these people are no different than I am just because of the color of their skin. It pains me to see that we still have to degrade others and despise them because of skin pigmentation. We ought to be better than this. It has been over 150 years since President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Where have we gone since then? The war ended. Can we finally unite as a Country and one human race? We need to put a stop to this hate.

How many more people need to die to bring about civil unity and liberty? The Washington Post did an excellent piece on the capturing of the images around the death of Heather Heyer today. I would highly recommend this. Much has been said of Charlottesville since a year ago, but has much changed? We all need to have a change of heart and look upon one another as brothers and sisters no matter our race, religion, or political stances. Let us be better!

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