If the white supremacists planning to rally in Laguna Beach on Sunday really wanted to put “America First,” they would stay home.
There is no place in this country for racism, xenophobia, or hatred.
America is hurting. Heather Heyer was murdered. Bodies have been beaten. We are dealing with a form of hatred that we have chosen to ignore. And the failure of political leaders, including this community’s current congressman, to adequately address and condemn the violence in a way that deters future actions inspired by hate is unacceptable.
Dana Rohrabacher, like President Trump, blamed “the left and the right” for stirring up violence in this country. Let us be clear: all sides are not to blame for Charlottesville. As almost everyone from both political parties has said, it is white supremacist and neo-Nazi thugs who intentionally caused this violence.
They are part of a national movement, given cover by this president, deliberately targeting communities like Charlottesville and Laguna Beach. They test our tolerance, unravel the American way of life that we love and provoke fights. Make no mistake, their aim is to cause mayhem.
I do not expect supremacists to be reasonable, but I urge them nonetheless to cancel their demonstration. If they do not, I am confident that law enforcement will not tolerate violence.
Many in Orange County and across the country have feelings of anger clouded by disbelief — this is not the America that we know and not the America our veterans have fought for and given their lives for. Our America stands for equality, dignity, and respect for all people. When the Office of the President of the United States does not exert the moral leadership to preserve our American way of life, we have to rely on the rule of law to defend what we hold dear.
As Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said earlier this week, “We will not be pawned off by tweets. When we don’t have norms and we don’t have ethics, we use law.” At its core, our rule of law is based on the first American promise that we are all created equal. Period.
I call upon all members of Congress to take action and demand the high prioritization of resources for hate crime investigations by the Department of Justice. Attorney General Jeff Sessions needs to be held accountable. Paying lip service is not enough.
For those of us in Southern California, if you’re as disappointed as I am with the conflict in our streets and the lack of moral leadership in the White House, join me at a peaceful gathering of our neighbors on Saturday at 10 am in Laguna Beach. Details here.
We live in the most diverse region in the country. Our community is a model for tolerance and progress when we stand together. Please stay safe, show our love, and #StandUnited this weekend.