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Del. Ken Plum: Learning a Lesson from Charlottesville

by Del. Ken Plum — August 17, 2017 at 10:15 am 72 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The “Unite the Right” event that happened in Charlottesville this past weekend could have happened in any community in America, but apparently it was the discussion about removing a statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park that led to the white supremacists, Nazi sympathizers, and hate mongers to converge on the city. To bring their message of hate from distant places to Charlottesville, where its University has a world-class law school that teaches the rule of law and where its most famous resident who penned the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom lived, created a startling contrast.

The photograph widely circulated on social media of the Tiki torch carrying thugs marching on the lawn of the University of Virginia with the Rotunda of the University in the background heightened that contrast of the ignorance of those involved in the march of our history and the rule of law and their shouts of “Heil Trump,” “white power,” and other racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic language. They demanded their rights to assemble and speak while waving Nazi flags. They wanted their rights as white persons with no recognition of the rights of anyone who might not look like them. They wanted to use their liberties as Americans to tear at the very fabric of what makes America great.

As the President of the University of Virginia Teresa Sullivan expressed in a letter to alumni, “The University supports the First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceable assembly. Acts of violence, however, are not protected by the First Amendment. Violence and bigotry are not political positions. We strongly condemn intimidating and abhorrent behavior intended to strike fear and sow division in our community.” Too bad the President of the United States did not speak so clearly about the event.

One Nazi sympathizer who seemingly could not control his hate for society as he knows it rammed the only weapon he had available, his car, into a crowd of people, killing one and injuring more than a dozen. Fortunately, none of the agitators fired the guns they were carrying, for certainly a bloodbath would have followed.

Where did these people come from? Apparently, from all over the country. It was a rally to unite right wing causes of white supremacists, alt-right and Nazi sympathizers. They apparently felt safe crawling out from the figurative rocks under which they live and parade in public with torches to spread their revolting messages of hatred. They did not just happen. When leadership at all levels of government support openly and forcefully the rule of law under which we live and there is a general understanding of our history, these people do not have many public displays of their beliefs. But when leaders from the highest levels of government give them a wink and a nod, they move out into the sunlight. They do not represent any of what makes America great. In contrast, their disgusting and vile behavior makes us appreciate the real meaning of freedom for all and should motivate us to fight against those who would seek to take our country down a road of bigotry and exclusion.

  • Mike M

    Another predictable leftist attempt to shout down their opposition. Ken, did you notice the other thugs who magically appeared? Did you see their hammers and sickles? Did you see them lawlessly deface and pull down public property? Out from what rock did they crawl? They get a “wink and a nod” from you? Does the lefty nut who shot the Congressman get a “wink and a nod?” I voted for Trump. I’d do it again tomorrow. Don’t tar him or me with the white supremacist brush to suit your agenda and refusal to discuss real issues logically. The truth, it seems, is that the Nazis and White Supremacists are your bests friends right now. Because you are using them to divert attention from your own unsustainable policies and divisive tactics. Unfortunately, I expect the continued shout down will only lead to more violence. You can own that. And if Trump owns the Nazis, then you can own the other thugs who showed up at international finance meetings and trashed cities during the Obama administration. By the way, he never condemned them by name. In the short run, I suspect you’ll think more violence is wonderful for your side and their “righteous nous” angle. In the long run it’s very bad for the country.

  • whw518

    What about the vile behavior displayed by the Antifa thugs? Have you seen the videos Ken- they showed up with bats looking for blood & propagated much of the violence. As an elected leader you need to condemn Antifa commies and neo-Nazis in the same breath. There is no room for either. By not doing so you are accepting their behavior.

  • KIKI

    Because he is a dishonest liberal. The lying by the mayor and governor should be alarming to everyone. These people have no business in government if they cannot tell the truth. Perhaps they should listen to the police chiefs remarks again about the violence. It is a sad day when politicians side with one group of violent people over another.

  • VAGOPer

    Thank you, Ken. As a Republican voter, I must say this issue transcends politics, as has been made clear by the clear condemnations from (most) Republican leaders (operative word leader). You are spot-on in condemning this vile behavior, just as we would do if the terrorist act were committed by a member of another faith or race. There is no moral equivalence here between the two sides.

    • Mike M

      Respectfully, if the issue transcended politics, then why is the left politicizing it?
      Please explain “the two sides?”

      • VAGOPer

        The issue shouldn’t be politicized, and I’m not a liberal, so I can’t speak to your allegation that the left is politicizing it. It appears you are politicizing it by making this about left vs. right. As a Republican, I commended a Democrat on this one issue. Neither party should politicize it, nor should you be hyperventilating over it as you seem to be doing in the comments section here.

        • Mike M

          I am ticked that the left has turned a planned rumble between left wing extremist and right wing extremists as a GOP problem. I am sorry you are OK with that. I believe we are in for more political violence.

    • drb

      You are correct that there is no moral equivalence between the two groups on the “left” they are both morally repugnant. Both are racists in their own way and haters of this country.

  • 40yearsinreston

    what a surprise !
    The usual polemics and whining from Ken
    Going from “its hard to be a legislator’ to ‘its the voters fault for not participating” to “its a particular voters fault’ is the mark of a lazy incumbent

    He is not helping

    What has he contributed to bipartisanship ?
    Absolutely nothing

  • drebt

    Ken and I disagree on a whole lot of issues and frequently we are wrong at the top of our lungs in this space. When we disagree we use words, logic, and woeful attempts at eloquence; because that’s how our government works. In this case, I agree with Ken. You have the right to be a bigot in this country; you have the right to convince people to become bigots; you do not have the right to physically assault anyone for their views. Someone needs to explain this simple concept to the troll behind the big desk in the west wing. Someone also needs to explain to the same troll that judging people by how fast their epidermis absorbs light is not a good way to judge people. Judging people by their character seems more reasonable.

    • Mike M

      You are wrong. Physical assault was in the game plan of both the lefties and the righties. Trump had no more to do with the righties than Obama did the lefties who trashed cities during his administration. I call “sap!” I am sorry you don’t like the duly elected President. Can you address this inconsistency a and b and c in your argumentation:
      a) “You have the right to be a bigot in this country; you have the right to convince people to become bigots. . .”
      b) Trump is somehow accountable for the violence?
      c) Trump is a bigot?
      Can you back up b and c with any clear statement by the President? I didn’t think so.

      Don’t fall for DNC diatribe. And get your mainstream Repubs to man up and Repeal and Replace!

      • drebt

        You should have your anger problem checked out by a competent psychiatrist. Oh that’s right we don’t have universal single payer health care. Pity.

        • The Constitutionalist

          So that’s a no then?

        • Mike M

          Yes, the Soviets declared those who defected from the party line mentally incompetent as well. Not surprised this is all you have.

        • KIKI

          We don’t have any heathcare fir people that buy their own because owebama destroyed it

          • drebt

            No the republicans destroyed Obama care because they would rather have people suffer and die than have slightly higher taxes. Look to republican greed, not to a compromise of universal single payer health care used by every single civilized nation on earth, except ours.

          • Mike M

            Obamacare is simply not sustainable. Neither are the entitlement programs of the left.

          • drebt

            Repeating a falsehood over and over again does not make it truth. We pay more in health care costs than any other nation on earth and many people before Obama care did not have health care. Single payer health care costs less, provides much better coverage and save lives. Not only is it sustainable, it remains the only reasonable approach. As far as the entitlement programs such as SNAP, they provide a life line for people that cannot buy what they need to sustain themselves and their children. I am flabbergasted that people do not vote for their own self-interest but instead seethe with hate over the simple concept that all people of our nation should receive the minimum amount of government assistance to keep those residing within our borders housed, clothed, educated, and fed. Less greed and more government payments that provide for the welfare of the population will promote a thriving society, and you too will also thrive, regardless of your silly anger.

          • Greg

            And where are your citations for your “facts?”

          • Mike M

            Hi. You are a Socialist whether you know it or not. Socialism is not sustainable. We need change to the healthcare system. But we’ll need more open market before we start thinking about the government’s role. I’ll agree that if people are going to the emergency room for free healthcare that the rest of us pay for, then there may be a role for the government. But, opening up insurers to cross-state markets is a vital first step.

          • drebt

            I am a pragmatist. We all pay for roads, schools, the military, parks, and many other goods and services that are beneficial to all. I don’t think government needs to transfer all wealth equitably; however, they should provide those goods and services that make sense, such as universal single payer health care. If the medical lobby wasn’t so strong and continuously fattening the coffers of all members of congress, we wouldn’t have this silly debate. The solution is obvious to any that seriously examine the economics, and an anathema to bigots that would rather deny someone else access than vote for their own self-interest. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face, wow! We are blinded by labels and leave critical thinking outside before we examine issues such as single payer universal health care.

          • Mike M

            No. The problem is that Americans love life more than anyone ever. You have to look at where our medical payments actually go. The majority is spent to keep people alive for a very uncomfortable last year. A lot goes to discretionary care. Doctors obviously cannot control themselves in terms of covering their tails and prescribing super costly pharmaceuticals and even anit0biotics and opioids. We can let them run up the tabs and then make us all pay. the truth is we could bankrupt the planet five times over if we subsidize healthcare. We have to live within our economic limits in every regard. If you insist upon calling people with whom you disagree, you will find you cannot compete with me. But to what end?

          • drebt

            And yet the majority of the elderly are on Medicare and they seem to be doing just fine. I don’t need to compete with someone that make facetious arguments, their words render them ridiculous. I don’t see anyone asking for your citations for your cost estimate but seeing how single payer healthcare systems seem to be thriving elsewhere, it seems unlikely that these systems will “bankrupt the planet five times over”, since their combined economies are much larger than the US economy. The European Union alone has a larger economy than the US. I would like to respond to your last sentence, but it is gibberish, alas.

          • Mike M

            Your name is ridiculously close to ‘debt.” For good reason I suppose. Where do the people in the EU go when they really need healthcare? They come to our broken system. The reason is because you can still get better care here than is offered in Europe. Socialism never ever works. I stand by my point. I am sorry you don;t understand that healthcare is a bottomless pit and that federal subsidy would be a disaster. The EU is NOT a model for the US. It is struggling and provides lower standards of care that most Americans would not tolerate.

          • drebt

            Universal single payer health care does not preclude private insurance. Right now the poor get marginally served while the employed people with benefits and Medicare beneficiaries receive slightly better care. Now it is true that US hospitals and clinics advertise in Europe to get their super rich over here for treatment, but most people have to work for a living. You may wish to read https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-many-myths-of-european-health-care/. When you manufactured “facts” to support a hopeless position you actually enhance the positions on the other side of the debate. When you use the term “most Americans” and not realize that there is no such beast in this diverse country of ours, you also aid the position that the only viable solution is single payer universal health care. Your predictions based on no source belie your fevered attempts at coherence and have no merit.

          • Mike M

            – Most Americans will have a health challenge in the next year. Fact.
            – Most Americans are prescribed pharma solutions over lifestyle adjustment.
            – Most Americans prefer eating Cheetos and ice cream sandwiches over regular vigorous workouts.
            – Most Americans would spare no expense to get the best possible healthcare.
            – Most Americans do not want to die.
            These are “most Americans’ facts. There are many that must be considered when social engineering “solutions.”
            All Americans will die. Diversity notwithstanding.

          • drebt

            Most Americans spout nonsense because they don’t know any better. If you can cite a specific study which show that most Americans do anything other than generalizations that fit all humans such as “we do not want to die” then you might become more adept at written communications. Anyway we agree that most don’t want to die; we are just discussing the best way to achieve that noble outcome. You would rather give insurance companies’ profits than fund universal care. That is your right, just as it is your right to blab on and on about a topic that you obviously have researched very little. You form opinions from the nattering crowds. Good luck with that approach; it seems to suit you.

          • Mike M

            I think insurance companies would go out of business if they didn’t make a profit. By the way, Obamacare did not exactly deprive insurance companies of profit. As for citations, I feel the things I said about most Americans are pretty self-evident. But I do get a kick out of the notion that everyone has to back up everything they say with somebody else saying it. You can find back-up for almost anything. There was a time when I thought the NYT was authoritative. But I grew up and they got even more leftist. I stand confidently on my statements.

          • drebt

            Obviously you get a kick out of saying anything without having to consider it critically. Let me write slower so you will understand better, you know how when speak slower to a non-English speaking person, they understand a whole lot better. Fire departments, public schools, police forces, make no profit, however because they exist you pay less on home insurance, and education. See we all pay a little so society will benefit a lot. It makes sense for health insurance too. May I recommend also that reading periodicals from many points of view is an edifying experience. It helps you understand the basis for a reasonable discussion and allows people to refine ill-considered logic. As I said earlier, good luck on that.

          • Mike M

            So, your logic is that if we have fire departments, we should have single payer? The same “logic” could be used to get the government involved in ANYTHING, and has been. Note we have thrown trillions at poverty and we have more now than ever. We have thrown trillions at education and still they say they need more. We already spend more than others who supposedly get better results. This is the nonsense that was big during the Obama administration. “You didn’t build your business because we have roads.” You are taking leaps that I find to be preposterous. Oh, don’t look now but the country is going bankrupt. It is a matter of time thanks to your “logic.” The schools and fire department get their money because the government will throw you in jail if you don’t pay your taxes. Is that the way to run healthcare too? Basically, you are a Socialist. I am a capitalist. I say that markets can’t handle national security too well, for example. So we have to collectivize it. But I say the markets can handle insurance, if we get the states and feds OUT of it. I am in the midst of a review of Russian history 1900-1941. I am fascinated how they played at the things you modern American Libtards fantasize about. They got burned badly and repeatedly. There was a time in this country where everyone understood that. Unfortunately, it looks like your ilk will lead us to widespread poverty and civil war in your righteousness.

          • Ana Ham

            Nobody wants single payer after what the democrats did to healthcare. The dems also let Veterans die in line waiting for care. Thank God President Trump let Veterans go elsewhere for their medical care.

          • drebt

            Obviously you meant to say “What the republicans did to the system despite the efforts of democrats to make it succeed.” Despite what you discuss with your buddies at the local tavern, many people want single payer because it is the tried and tested viable system used by the rest of the world. I agree with you though; veterans should be on the same single payer system as the rest of us. Thank your lucky stars that Trump will be out of office before November.

          • Greg

            Again, where are your citations?

          • Trolling Down the Street in my

            Well said, because everyone knows that internet comments must include source citations. Kudos for bringing some rationality to the table rather than throwing straw men via pointless what about-ism.

          • drebt

            https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/07/upshot/why-single-payer-health-care-saves-money.html?mcubz=0

            http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-single-payer-health-system-costs-for-1496254510-htmlstory.html

            http://www.pnhp.org/sites/default/files/Funding%20HR%20676_Friedman_7.31.13_proofed.pdf

            https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/102nd-congress-1991-1992/reports/91-cbo-039.pdf

            There are many more projections that give estimates for increases and decreases for per capita costs. However, it just makes sense that if you take out the for-profit insurance companies and do not have to pay their overhead costs (advertising, etc.) and do not have to pay for their profits, per capita costs will diminish.

            So I cite logic and common sense.

          • Greg

            Left leaning. Now, where’s the other side’s arguments and the neutral side?

            Government has no overhead? Advertising costs? Waste? Fraud? Abuse?

            Ask a vet how s/he likes single-payer. Or those with Medical.

            We’ve spent at least $23 trillion on so-called poverty programs and we have more people in poverty than ever.

            Many things “make sense.” Depends, of course, on the readers’ sensibilities.

  • meh

    What’s the lesson we can learn from Spain today Ken? Or do you not have the resolve to respond to these comments? Easy to preach from the pulpit and make RestonNow your mouth piece.

    • Greg

      Has he ever responded to any of them, ever?

  • Captain Obvious

    So the democrats found a sudden interest in removing 100 year old statues around the same time they were finding it difficult to raise money. So they give a reason for the far right nut jobs to hold a rally, give them permits to hold the rally, then they also invite their brown shirts “antifa” to clash with them. Make sure there are plenty of cameras around to film the violence and tell the police to let it happen. If this happened in DC the police would of been arresting people by the buss loads. Ken and McAwful are just happy fundraising is picking back up again thanks to their manufactured tragedy.

    • drb

      By what criteria do you label them “far right nut jobs” ? They are the left all the way.

      • 30yearsinreston

        Nut jobs are politically neutral

        • drb

          You labeled these “nut jobs” with a political position not me. So I ask what was your criteria for the political label you applied?

  • Willie Reston

    LOLZ at our conservative commentariat trying to explain this one away. Drumpf could burn a cross on the White House lawn tomorrow and they’d find a way to convince themselves that the liberals did it.

    Drumpf is going down, folks. Right now you’re all just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    • TheKingJAK

      Calling the President petty names really detracts from any points being made.

      • Willie Reston

        Not petty. That’s his family’s real name.

    • drb

      You are correct that it is the left that has been violent in all the instances. Yes, even in Charlottesville. The Left is out of control. But, as long as they are attacking and killing their own I don’t have much of a problem with it.

      • 30yearsinreston

        I do
        Are you just ignorant or a fool

        • drb

          What problem do you have with the left knocking off each other?

          • 30yearsinreston

            The same problem I have with the right knocking off each other
            Physical Violence as a tool to resolve political issues is called War
            Are we at war against each other ?

          • drb

            I would say no we are not at war with each other. But the Left is at war with themselves for now. So much so that one side of the left wishes to call part of themselves the right. Just as had been done many a moon ago. The issue is whether or not we on the right will accept the label and then denounce ourselves after sliding the political bar to the far left to justify the labeling. It would seem that the politicians that say they represent the right are willing and eager to do so. This would be a mistake because we have seen this movie before and know they come after us after one of the groups take control of their side. Leaving us with our metaphorical pants down and not ready to fight them for control of the country.

          • RestonAssurance

            Thank you.

      • RestonAssurance

        The right murdered someone, the left did not murder anyone in C-ville. Two state troopers lost their lives in the helicopter crash responding to torching Nazis. My family fought Nazis in WWII. Our troops died doing so. Your tolerance is sheer trifling disrespect to our troops. Shame.

        • drb

          I respect your families fight against the Nazis. They are the “Left” not the “Right”. The troopers died responding to two “left” groups in conflict with each other. No “Right” group was involved. The women that died, murdered, was a person on the “Left”, even if she was snookered into participating, by a person that was on the “Left”, even if he was snookered into participating.

    • Mike M

      I didn’t see Trump at he rally. But hey, I wasn’t there either. He was dealing with the North Korean mess that his predecessors left him. I voted for Trump. Would do it again tomorrow.

      So, what’s so funny about political violence Willie?

  • John Pinkman

    Thank you Ken. BTW when will folks find the courage to use their own name when providing commentary?

    • KIKI

      When the left is tolerant of other people’s views.

      • John Pinkman

        When folks reside in the chasms of anonymity they fall into an illusion that their opinion matters in the conversation of change.

        • 30yearsinreston

          Please credit the author when you plagiarize

        • Mike M

          My opinion matters. That’s why so many of you libtards hate me.

          • RestonNow Awards

            Congratulations, Mike M!

            We at RestonNow Awards continually search out the best of Reston. Today, we are happy to be able to present you with the following award:

            “The Heightened Sense of Self-Importance In Positing Excellence Award”

            Continue your wonderful posts! We look forward to reading them!

            -RestonNow Awards

          • Mike M

            Congrats to you in your desperate attempt to put me down because you have no logical retort. I am sorry to have upset you.

          • RestonAssurance

            Hey, we can agree to disagree. You typically write eloquently and even if I don’t always agree, I enjoy your writing. Rhetoric shouldn’t include libtards or conservatards.

          • Mike M

            Well, you are diplomatic for a [email protected] And thanks for looking past my typos.

        • Mike M

          Pinky. Let’s be clear. I don’t feel the need to say my name in here because of punks who disagree with me but cannot logically articulate their disagreement might just go after my kids, my property, or even my pets. There are connected people who try to damage people for their political opinions. There are people paid to do this. That’s pretty sick in the 2017 USA. But that is today’s left.

          There was a guy in here a few weeks back who showed up suddenly and was DEMANDING to know identities. He was shown to be someone who worked for the Clinton campaign.

          So, Pink. Why do YOU want to know people’s names? What would you do with that information, Pink?
          Why can you not debate the ideas?

          By the way, people who know me know my views. They don’t change when I come in here.

    • Mike M

      When we can be assured that our family’s won;t be harrassed and our property not damaged for our political views. Got it, Ace?

    • Greg

      No, Johnny, when will Ken Plum respond to his constituents? He hides behind orchestrated town halls.

      When has he ever made a comment here?

  • drb

    Ken is so just ill informed. I know he isn’t and is just a torch lighter like all the left.

    Let us first break down the sides. Both are the left. As in pre-WWII when the Nazi’s (National Socialist) and the Communist clashed for supremacy this was the same type of situation. Both sides are trying for control of the “Left”. The only thing about the Nazi’s and white supremacists that is right is that they are to the right of Communists which Ken sounds like he is aligning himself with. But, make no mistake they are all on the “Left”.

    As we had witnessed from “Trump’s” inauguration till now the “Left” has demonstrated their violent behavior as well as their recruitment of the innocent uneducated to attend these events. What we have seen is the attempt to label those of use on the right (const tutionalist) as part of their fight. I for one enjoyed the spectacle as any other sporting event.

    Was it sad that someone lost their life? Perhaps, if they were one of the duped of the”Left”. But, as we see all over the world where the “Left” has control and excessive influence, people will die because of them.

    • 30yearsinreston

      Its a circle
      The far left are indistinguishable from the far right
      Political Labels just mask the real issues which are not beng addressed
      At least President Trump is attempting to remedy that
      Plum and the professional politicians arent even aware of the reality

      • drb

        I disagree. The far right or any on the right is very distinguishable from the far left, or any left. The world views are just the opposite.

  • 30yearsinreston

    The only lesson Plum learnt was how to play the insider party game so that he has no opposition

  • TJ

    Well, at least it was refreshing to here Ken speak nicely of Thomas Jefferson for once. Usually he comes on here and throws him under the bus.

  • drb

    Please stop calling these two groups “Left” and “Right”. They are both the “Left”. There is no “Right” political position involved.

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