By Allen West
Charlottesville. This past weekend I was honored to be in a most picturesque place with some great and hospitable folks ib Prescott (Yavapai County) Arizona. I was there to address the Republican Women of Prescott, the nation’s largest Republican women’s club, on their 75th anniversary. The scenery there was just breathtaking and there was just a sense of solemnness that we all need experience from time to time. How great a contrast it was from what was happening across the country in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Let me begin by saying, I deplore any form of supremacist view — white, black, Hispanic, Islamic. I will be the first to openly state and embrace, a sense of American exceptionalism and supremacy that is rooted in our founding principles and values. Any and all else that is contradictory is to be condemned. What I have witnessed post the events of Saturday 12 August is the typical Rahm Emanuel mentality and political posturing: “never let a good crisis go to waste.”
Therefore, I seek to assess what really happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.
First, may God rest the soul of 32-year-old Heather Heyer who tragically lost her life. My sincere condolences to her, her family, and those others who were injured. I fully support seeking the death penalty for 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio who committed this horrific act of violence.
But, how did we get to this place?
This all began because someone decided, as other elected officials have across the country, to cave in to partisan political pressures and seek to erase American history.
History is not there for us to love or hate, but for us to learn from and seek to not repeat its mistakes.
If there are those who truly believe we protect ourselves by trying to revise history due to false emotions, then we miss out on who we are as a nation, and our evolution. The statues of long since deceased leaders of the Confederate Army do not stand to remind anyone of oppression. And if a statue can oppress you, then I submit that you have greater issues.
I certainly did not appreciate former President Barack Obama taking a photo op in Cuba before the image of Che Guevara, nor do I enjoy seeing anyone wearing said image on t-shirts here in America…but I do not go into some whimsical state of “oppression.”
And so it is that we do possess in this Constitutional Republic a freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It would appear that said group who didn’t wish to see the statue of Virginian, General Robert E. Lee, who was a commissioned U.S. Army officer, graduate of West Point, and served the nation in the Mexican War, taken down did apply for a permit to hold a rally.
We can dislike these individuals, but they took proper measures to secure permission to express their First Amendment right.
Contrary to their position, the word went out for a counter-protest to occur which included groups from a different side of the political spectrum, who have also been very guilty of hateful rhetoric and violence.
What should have happened is that these two groups should have been kept miles apart. I do not understanding why any local law enforcement agency would allow these two groups close proximity… the first lesson learned.
And we must also ascertain, did the counter-protest group seek permit or did they just “show up” in order to provoke, and elicit a response they could use “politically?”
Yes, motivations are important to understand in this case, if we’re serious about getting to the bottom of what happened in Charlottesville and not just the typical media-driven frenzy.