By George Mitchell
The statements by President Donald Trump regarding the events in Charlottesville were unwise and unfortunate, and represented a failure of leadership.
Most of the world’s nations were formed around homogeneous groups of people, in race or religion. The United States was formed around ideals. Set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, they’re not easy to summarize. But surely they include:
The sovereignty of the people; the primacy of individual liberty; an independent judicial system under the rule of law; opportunity for every member of society; and equal rights and equal justice for all.
It is our commitment to these ideals that make us Americans, not our race, our religion, or our heritage.
When the United States was established, it had a small population clinging to the Atlantic coast. For most of our history we have received people from around the world to fill a vast continent where we created a new and free system of governance. Obviously we cannot now return to the days of open immigration. But we should and must respect all of our people, whatever their race, their religion, their background.
The angry, violent and supremacist views of the neo-Nazis and white supremacists must be categorically and unequivocally rejected by all Americans.