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Charlottesville and Trump: A spiritual exercise for the overwhelmed and exhausted

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Two people comfort Joseph Culver of Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12 as he kneels at a late night vigil to pay his respects for a friend injured in a car attack on counter-protesters rallying against white nationalists. (CNS photo/Jim Bourg, Reuters)

  • Each new day finds us inundated with more data, the latest takes and the prospect of another crisis.
  • How do you continue to “bear witness” when every three or four days there is another crisis?

Jim McDermott, America 

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August 16, 2017 | Five days after the horrific events in Charlottesville, Va., our country continues to grapple with their significance. As has been true from the start of the Trump administration, each new day finds us inundated with more data, the latest takes and the prospect of another crisis. Simply trying to keep up with it all can be difficult. Gaining a broader perspective seems at times near impossible.

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For instance, we have condemned those who marched at Charlottesville in the strongest of terms; they have been outed on social media and excoriated in the press. But stepping back, that seems to be exactly what these groups wanted. Waving Nazi flags, shouting racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs, they certainly were not looking for approbation. No, they wanted a public spectacle of conflict. They wanted to provoke opponents to show up and get in fights with them; they wanted the press and others to mock and abuse them. Those moves serve their argument that the “other side” is just that: another position of equal standing, its supporters just as aggressive and partisan as them.

https://www.americamagazine.org/sites/default/files/styles/medium/public/profile_photo/Jim%20McDermott.jpg?itok=4Lwq1XMB Jim McDermott is America’s Los Angeles correspondent. 

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