Editorial: No moral relativism in the face of bigotry
Posted August 18
CBC Editorial: Friday, Aug. 18, 2017; Editorial # 8200
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
As the view clears following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. with the emergence of a dangerous white supremacy movement, what we find:
PROTESTS AND APPROPRIATELY APPLIED LAW ENFORCEMENT
In North Carolina, the response to the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va., were peaceful, generally civil and handled in appropriate and commendable fashion by local leaders and law enforcement authorities.
This was particularly the case in Durham, where protesters went too far and vandalized a Confederate monument. Law officers showed restraint when protesters toppled a statue. What was a volatile situation remained calm and peaceful. Fortunately, no one was injured, particularly when the statue came crashing down on the pavement.
Rather than enflame the situation, Durham law officers made the right choice to make arrests and take other action following the protest. As a result, the rule of law was upheld, while protesters and others in downtown Durham made their points in a peaceful manner.
RESPONSE TO UGLY WHITE SUPREMACY
TRUMP MUTED AND MUDDLED
At a time when we need clear and firm direction from the nation’s leadership, President Donald Trump was muted, confused and just plain wrong. White supremacy, swastikas and prejudice have no place in America. While our nation’s First Amendment correctly protects even the ugliest expressions of political viewpoints, that doesn’t mean our president should be endorsing them. He is out of step with most in his own political party and the nation. Our president has been tone deaf and weak.
COOPER CLEAR AND TO THE POINT
Gov. Roy Cooper issued an unequivocal denunciation of the bigotry on display by the KKK and racial supremacists in Charlottesville. He went further this week in a statement about Confederate monuments in North Carolina: “We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down,” he said, calling for repeal of a 2015 law that imposes legislative protection to the statues. Cooper has directed the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to look into removing the Confederate monuments and developing alternative sites “where they can be studied in context.”
Cooper is right. A bill should be drafted along the lines of his recommendation and the legislature should pass it.
DON’T PERMIT N.C. TO BE A SAFE-ZONE FOR BIGOTRY
The pictures of a torch light procession, with marchers on the University of Virginia campus chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans were all too reflective of horrific images out of fascist nations 70 years ago. Legislators should review recently passed laws, such as the so-called “Campus Free Speech Act to be sure they haven’t inadvertently turned University of North Carolina campuses into safe zones for bigotry and potential violence. Freedom of expression is particularly integral to the learning mission of our universities and the appropriate presentation and discussion of controversial and unpopular ideas is critical to a good education. However, unfettered access to campuses by violent radicals while simultaneously institutionalizing punishments for those who challenge hateful acts is not what is intended in the law. It must be reviewed before it is too late.
NO MORAL RELATIVISM IN FACE OF BIGOTRY
While President Trump on Tuesday talked with reporters and defended white supremacists, just a few miles from Trump Tower 30 new citizens from 19 nations including Argentina, Bangladesh, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago, tearfully took the oath of allegiance to the United States. One of them, Han Ali, a 35-year-old accountant from Sudan, summed up the day: “After all, it’s not what the president thinks or says — America is bigger than that, greater than that.”
Recognizing the rights of everyone doesn’t diminish the status of anyone. Like the tide, it lifts all of us.