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CHARLOTTESVILLE WHITE SUPREMACISTS ARE DOMESTIC TERRORISTS

ter·ror·ism:

“the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”




The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures that expressions of almost all speech are protected while simultaneously guaranteeing “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” These are deemed fundamental rights because a vibrant political dialogue (a true staple of American democracy) is essential to the wealth of ideas our democracy yields, even when that dialogue is offensive.

There are limits, however. The line is crossed when expressions of violence and threats of harm violate and diminish the individual rights of others.

Among the handful of expressions that fall outside the First Amendment’s protections are statements and actions meant only to instill fear in the population to achieve certain political outcomes. We call such expressions terrorism. The white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville last weekend, violently disrupting a peaceful community with hate in their hearts, campaigned to undermine many great American values which have been protected by a long line of patriots since our nation’s founding.
Let’s be clear: These white supremacists are domestic terrorists. They marched with their tools of intimidation — Nazi salutes, flags emblazoned with swastikas, tiki torches and eruptions of force and violence — in order to intimidate and terrorize a community and its people and to drive home a message of hatred. All Americans of good will must stand in opposition to their vile delusions.

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