On Saturday, August 12, a hate-filled white nationalist drove a car through a crowd of peaceful protestors, injuring nineteen individuals and murdering 32-year old Heather Heyer.
In her own hometown, Heather died while peacefully protesting the vile hatred running through the heart of the very person who took her life.
The President of the United States, who has never been afraid to use his words, dragged his feet on calling for peace in Charlottesville and throughout the nation. When he finally decided to speak up, he still couldn’t bring himself to outright denounce the actions and motivations of the various groups that exist only to promote hate.
That’s where we are in this country.
This morning in Arkansas, Republican elected officials expressed public sentiments that mirrored the President’s harmful statements. Trump’s “trickle down indecency” has made its way to the Arkansas Legislature and we couldn’t be more ashamed. You may have seen the following statements from State Representative Bob Ballinger and State Senator Jason Rapert:
Nazis are responsible for the deaths of millions of people around the world. White nationalists are domestic terrorists. Driving a car to kill and violently attack a group of people you disagree with is terrorism. In fact, it’s one of the primary tactics we see from members of ISIS. Yet, we continue to be met with silence or ridiculous equivocations from Republican leaders who seek to tie hate groups to groups that actively work to promote justice and civil rights.
There are 917 active hate groups operating in the United States today. Arkansas is home to sixteen of them – and this includes the headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Arkansas is one of five states that does not have a hate crime law. Democratic elected officials have tried to pass such legislation and have been met with a complete resistance from the right wing of the Republican Party.
The people of Arkansas deserve far better than this. We can defend free speech and work against hate in meaningful ways that will create safer communities across our state.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas is fully committed to standing against hate and the tactics of intimidation regularly utilized by those who cannot see beyond the color of their own skin or accept the differences that make this country great.
We call upon every Republican leader in Arkansas to do the same. When it comes to hate, silence is unacceptable.
– The Democratic Party of Arkansas