In “The American Crisis,” Thomas Paine wrote:
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.”
These are trying times for our country’s soul and Paine’s words describe the type of leadership that is needed — leadership I have never seen from President Trump and do not expect to see. When people shout “Jews will not replace us,” “I hope you get raped by a n – – – – –” and the Nazi slogan “blood and soil,” they are not, as the president said, “very fine people,” and the people who march with them, even non-violently and in silence, are not “very fine people,” either. They are, instead, people who carry the torch of centuries of lynching, church bombing, cross burning and other forms of domestic terrorism.
This is the same torch that was carried by those who built Confederate monuments — built, in many cases, at the height of lynching and Jim Crow — to attempt to intimidate African Americans and make us feel inferior. These statues must come down, both for that reason and because they pay tribute to traitors to our great nation. In response to the issues tragically underscored by the events in Charlottesville, the Congressional Black Caucus has committed itself to redoubling our efforts to root out racism in federal spaces and, most importantly, federal policy. (Washington Post)