Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

Let it be noted: "On Friday night and Saturday morning, Ku Klux Klan members, would-be Nazis and open white supremacists marched under President Trump's name." (Photo: YouTube/Screenshot)

There Are Only Two Sides to Charlottesville. Trump Is on the Wrong One.

As the leader of our nation, our president should know that some conflicts don’t deserve forbearance or false equivalence

Christine Emba

 by The Washington Post

Things that have many sides: a Rubik’s cube, a baseball diamond, a complex personality. Things that don’t: the racism and hate seen in Charlottesville this weekend.

Alas, our president doesn’t seem to know the difference. No, that’s too generous. He must know, but he does not care. Or worse, he would rather allow the confusion than endanger his base of support.

On Friday night and Saturday morning, Ku Klux Klan members, would-be Nazis and open white supremacists marched under President Trump’s name. Former Klan leader David Duke, speaking at the rally that sparked this wretched affair, crowed that the marchers were going to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump” to “take our country back.” His friends and followers spewed repugnant rhetoric and fought with counter-protesters. Three people are dead. But rather than swiftly condemning the instigators of this violence, as a president should, Trump kept silent. And when he finally did break from his golf vacation, his statements were a disgrace.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”

Our country is one of free speech and open debate: about our policies, our priorities, the best solutions to our ills. The First Amendment applies to all, even vile white supremacists. But when it comes to accurately describing what they are and what they do, and when it comes to assigning blame — yes, blame — for the consequences of their actions, there aren’t many sides to the issue. There is good, and there is evil. There are those who represent our country’s values, and those who stand against them. There is domestic terrorism, and there are its targets.

As the leader of our nation, our president should know that some conflicts don’t deserve forbearance or false equivalence. There weren’t many sides in Charlottesville. There were two. Through his cowardice, complicity and unwillingness to confront what he has enabled, President Trump has chosen the wrong one.


© 2021 Washington Post
Christine Emba

Christine Emba

Christine Emba is the editor of In Theory, and writes about ideas for The Washington Post's Opinions section. Follow her on Twitter: @christineemba

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo