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Signals and virtue

Bill Coffin | August 21, 2017

On August 12, dozens of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and various other members of the so—called alt-right attended a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate hero Robert E. Lee. The rally, organized by noted white supremacist Ricard Spencer, turned violent, culminating in a shocking act of vehicular homicide when an alt-right marcher rammed his car into a thick crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring dozens more.

 

After intense pressure to say something about the violence, President Trump held a press conference on August 14 in which he did not call out white supremacy or neo-Nazism. Politically speaking, this is the lowest-hanging fruit one could ask for: simply denounce hatred, bigotry, and prejudice; note that it isn’t welcome in this country; and call for unity. This is what any other President in living memory would have done. Instead, President Trump blamed violence on both sides, noted there...

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