Violence, hate in Charlottesville must motivate us to defend our values

There is far too much hate and divisiveness in our great nation … more than many of us can imagine.

And so while the images of swastikas, torches, anger, violence and death in Charlottesville, Va., over the past weekend sicken us, they must also motivate us to stand up to defend our nation’s values of equality, liberty and diversity.

Let’s be clear: Many of the protesters who went to Charlottesville were there simply because they are bigots.

Call them what you will, but the plain truth is that scores, perhaps hundreds of the protesters were white people who despise and often hate those of other races, creeds and even geographic backgrounds.

Neither in the plain wording of the First Amendment, nor in numerous court decisions reaffirming and elaborating on it is there any license for violence or inciting it.

Yet some of those who use free speech as a shield clearly are bent on doing harm to others.

What such people whose hearts are filled with hate should understand is this: The overwhelming majority of Americans despise them.

We want nothing to do with their sick mindset.

We want peace and harmony, especially amid differences of opinion.

Thomas Jefferson, who was born just outside of Charlottesville, became the third president of the United States of America and is the author of the Declaration of Independence, espoused our right to the “pursuit of happiness.”

He also said this: “I never considered a difference of opinion, in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

What dishonor these hateful white nationalists bring to his name … and to our country.