Despite the fact it’s about 3,000 miles from Laguna to Charlottesville, Va., plenty of people in town have been talking about what happened there last Saturday. It is beyond a crime when someone makes himself judge, jury and executioner. That is exactly what a KKK sympathizer did when he drove his car into a crowd of protesters killing one and injuring 19.
Last year the KKK began recruiting followers, both here in Southern California and across the country, by leaving candy, hate messages and a toll-free telephone number in bags on people’s driveways. This past weekend in Virginia, they traded in their robes and hoods for slacks and white golf shirts. But don’t be fooled. No matter how sweet the KKK tries to flavor its message or dress like they are about to tee off at a country club, their message is the same as it always has been: hateful and disgusting.
When President Kennedy delivered his inaugural address in 1961, he told the world, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
I believe the same could be said today to those who hate their fellow Americans because of the color of their skin or their political beliefs.
Twenty years after Kennedy, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan called America, “A shining city upon a hill.”
Unlike the KKK, both Kennedy and Reagan were appealing to our better angels. Their messages were positive and full of grace. My hope is no one in Laguna forgets this as we remember what happened in Charlottesville.
Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach