If ever there was a time to be counted as a citizen, now is it. The hate and violence highlighted by Charlottesville is not new, but its boldness is. The Nazis and terrorists are on the march, with torches held high. They have killed and maimed and intend to do so again. This is not a partisan issue. To paraphrase President Kennedy, there is no Democratic or Republican response to this destructive hate and terror – there is only an American response. Those who wear hoods to conceal their identity, who use torches to instill fear and terror, who raise their arms in fascist salutes, have placed themselves outside the political discourse and civilized society. They may have a right to hate, but they need to be quarantined for the sake of our country and our families. Regardless of your party affiliation, we all have a duty to identify them, punish them for their crimes, and make sure their hate-filled ideologies do not infect the rest of our country.
Unfortunately, these criminals did not spring out of thin air. The roots of discrimination against the “other” in American society run deep and long. Now is the time to strike at those roots of hatred and finally root out discrimination – to truly live up to our creed that all persons are created equal. Doing so will not be easy, because it comes in many forms, most of which are not wearing cowardly hoods or waving racist banners.
And that’s why it’s up to all of us. Make no mistake – the list of those who the terrorists like is very short and their list of those they don’t think deserve to live is very long. Chances are high that you or your family are on the hate list somewhere – maybe not because of the color of your skin, but because of your religion, or who you love, or your gender, or whether or not you have a disability. There are many, many more of us than the haters, and we are in very good company. We at FND serve all persons with disabilities and their families – period. We are happy to work with all people of good conscience to truly make our country better by stamping out this hate and intolerance wherever it’s found. Let’s all join together and make this happen. Now is the time. I promise – we’ll feel so much better when it’s done. Come join us. We need to change this world.
Richard La Belle, Esq. | Chief Executive Officer | Family Network on Disabilities