To all the Tiki-torch carrying protesters in Charlottesville, Va., and those who silently support them:
You lost the Civil War.
You lost that great awful war that my dad and my uncles and probably your relatives fought against the Nazis.
You want to make America great? Feel free to leave. No one is keeping you here. You aren’t prisoners of war like my uncle was for three years in a German prison camp.
You are free to exit this country and head somewhere else. Somewhere your swastikas are welcome. Somewhere your hate and fear are appreciated.
If you decide to stay, our great Bill of Rights will protect your freedom to gather and to speak, even if it’s gibberish.
If you decide to continue your marches and chants and carry your swastikas, just do us all a favor: Set down your American flags.
You can’t have it both ways.
America sided AGAINST the Nazis.
America and the rest of the world won.
One of the most unpatriotic things you can do is stand against everything we fought for and fought against in World War II. The United States lost more than 400,000 people in that war. Your behavior dishonors every one of those who died.
In the Civil War, our country lost 500,000 lives before the Confederate army gave up. Yes, Robert E. Lee surrendered. That war is long over. It’s time for every monument to hate to be pummeled into dust.
That Dodge Challenger barreling through the crowd didn’t kill Heather Heyer. Your hate did. Your fear did.
That car slammed into counter-protesters as they were leaving the rally, as they peacefully marched away. A rally where mostly white men in their 20s and 30s yelled, “White lives matter! You will not replace us! Jews will not replace us!”
Black lives matter. Black people built America. Without pay. With their families torn apart, with their bodies bruised, beaten and broken. They built this country. That’s why the South fought so hard to keep slavery. The economy was built on the backs of those slaves.
Black people ARE America.
Jews built America. They fled from hate everywhere in the world and made America greater with every contribution imaginable from Broadway to Hollywood, from science to literature. Jewish people ARE America.
At least some leaders had the courage and honesty to choose the right side:
Cory Gardner, a Republican senator from Colorado, tweeted: “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., tweeted: “White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated.”
Sen. John McCain wrote, “White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special.”
And then there’s Joe Biden, who kept it as simple as it gets: “There is only one side. #Charlottesville”
That side lost one amazing American to domestic terrorism. That lovely woman with the amber eyes and face full of freckles used to post messages on Facebook about equality and love. She was at the rally to counter the hatred and bigotry.
Her friend, Marissa Blair, told The New York Times, “We were just marching around, spreading love – and then the accident happened. In a split second you see a car, and you see bodies flying.”
Only it wasn’t an accident. Someone drove into that crowd on purpose. The man who allegedly drove his car into the crowd was born in Kentucky. He now lives in Maumee, Ohio. According to police, James Alex Fields, 20, didn’t stop after the bodies flew. He fled the scene, hitting more people.
The governor of Virginia called it “car terrorism.”
The president wouldn’t choose sides, but Vice President Mike Pence did. He blamed the right people: “We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
Those fringe groups may be dangerous and loud, but they are outnumbered.
To all those who publicly side with them and those who silently support them: That hate you think is so supreme will quiver and crumble and break in the face of love. It’s already happening.
You aren’t the “alt-right” or “nationalists” or “supremacists” of any kind.
I say we call you what you really are: sore losers.
Read Regina Brett online at cjn.org/regina. Connect with her on Facebook at ReginaBrettFans and on Twitter @ReginaBrett.