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What Went Wrong in Charlottesville: At All Levels, Government Is Still the Problem

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Corruption. Graft. Intolerance. Greed. Incompetence. Ineptitude. Militarism. Lawlessness. Ignorance. Brutality. Deceit. Collusion. Corpulence. Bureaucracy. Immorality. Depravity. Censorship. Cruelty. Violence. Mediocrity. Tyranny.

These are the hallmarks of an institution that is rotten through and through.

We have been saddled with the wreckage of a government at all levels that no longer represents the citizenry, serves the citizenry, or is accountable to the citizenry.

It doesn't matter whether you're talking about the federal government, state governments, or local governing bodies: at all ends of the spectrum and every point in between, a shift has taken place.

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"We the people" are not being seen or heard.

Everything happening at the national level is playing out at the local level, as well.

Take my own hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, for instance.

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From flickr.com: Charlottesville {MID-204801}
(Image by TheNoxid)
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In the summer of 2017, Charlottesville became ground zero for a heated war of words--and actions--over racism, "sanitizing history," extremism (both right and left), political correctness, hate speech, partisan politics, and a growing fear that violent words will end in violent actions.

In Charlottesville, as in so many parts of the country right now, the conflict was over how to reconcile the nation's checkered past, particularly as it relates to slavery, with the present need to sanitize the environment of anything--words and images--that might cause offense, especially if it's a Confederate flag or monument.

That fear of offense prompted the Charlottesville City Council to get rid of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that has graced one of its public parks for 82 years.

That's when everything went haywire.

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In attempting to pacify one particularly vocal and righteously offended group while railroading over the concerns of those with alternate viewpoints, Charlottesville attracted the unwanted attention of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and the alt-Right, all of whom descended on the little college town with the intention of exercising their First Amendment right to be disagreeable, to assemble, and to protest.

When put to the test, Charlottesville did not handle things well at all.

No one--not the armed, violent, militant protesters nor the police--gave peace a chance on August 12 when what should have been an exercise in free speech quickly became a brawl that left one dead and dozens more injured.

The police, who were supposed to uphold the law and prevent violence, failed to do either.

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)

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