With tensions in the U.S. growing between liberals and conservatives, it only seems fit to say that there are extremists on both sides. It is becoming a challenge to remain unbiased and respectful of others’ opinions as one side takes away the basic human rights of those who do not match their Republican agenda, while the other fights to counteract such extremism.
Charlottesville, Virginia has become the target location of the alt-right's "Unite the Right" white nationalist protest taking place this Saturday, August 12th. The state police department and Virginia's National Guard have been monitoring the issue closely as the city prepares for their second white nationalist protest in just six weeks. The last attack, organized by the KKK, happened on July 8th of this year. The series of protests is said to be sparked by the ordered removal of a statue in Emancipation Park depicting Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Though this park is where the protest was initially going to be held, city officials have stepped in to move the event to McIntire Park due to the size of the audience expected to inhabit the tiny space on Saturday.
White nationalists groups spoke out against the suggestion, claiming that it would "go against their First Amendment rights" for the protest to be moved.
Regardless, the movement of fascists, white nationalists, Nazis, and racists protesting in the once-peaceful city raises concerns for the locals of the area as well as Democrats across the nation. Counter-protests have been organized to fight in opposition to the alt-right's Saturday protest, and many fear this retaliation will only lead to more violence and chaos. Richard Lee, the man responsible for the torch-bearing protest in support of the Lee statue in May, is scheduled to speak at the protest. According to The Washington Post, Spencer is "concerned about violence, but he worries it will come from antifascists, or 'antifa,' activists."
The "one-percenters" have also said they will attend the protest to provide security for the alt-right protesters.
Saturday's protest could result in dire consequences as the rights of minorities including people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are called into question. Many activists will be met face to face with their oppressors. They will hear racial and homophobic slurs. Yet the majority of these activists will remain nonviolent so as not to allow the white nationalists, fascists, homophobes, and racists any ammunition against their cause.
In essence, both sides are more separated than ever. Each day adds more tension to the waning relations between liberals and conservatives, as neither are able to find common ground on an issue that is the root of lost friendships, separation between family members, and ultimately, the division pervading this nation.