Watching the Charlottesville meltdown last weekend was painful.
Painful for many reasons. But for an eternal optimist like me, sitting and watching some 500 miles from the eye of the storm, it was an exceptionally blunt reminder that our American experiment still has glaring deficiencies.
Don't get me wrong, although I see the glass half full most times, I'm not blind to the other half unfilled. It's just that thanks to the hundreds of news cameras and thousands of smartphones live-streaming events as they happened, the whole world was treated to the most graphic and startling images representing our great nation's (yes, I still believe we're great) shortcomings.
To me, the most amazing thing about the entire debacle is that so many people didn't feel comfortable immediately naming the evil that spurred the events.
Growing up in the Southern Baptist church, I was routinely instructed on the importance of naming evil, calling it out specifically.
It's not "get thee behind me."
It's "get thee behind me, Satan."
There was never to be any confusion about who or what you addressed. That was always Step One.
Step Two? Tell it to go back where it came from: hell.
Yet for some reason, there was (and remains) hemming and hawing and but-what-about-the-other-siding galore. Only after much criticism did some finally cave and admit that Friday and Saturday's root evil was racism in the form of white supremacy.
Sure, sure, there were some bad actors in the masses besides the Ku Klux Klan folk and the Neo-Nazis who ventured out of their parents' basements for a chaotic two-day frolic in scenic Virginia.
Indeed, there are "many sides," as Mr. Trump noted, to hatred and violence.
However, the reason hatred and violence were on full display last weekend was because of racist white supremacists. It's that simple.
Violence, in that case, was the symptom of the disease that is race hate. One begat the other. Let's not muddle the two. The violence didn't just up and happen.
"What about those leftist Antifa thugs? They're bad people too," has been an argument that has gotten plenty of mileage this week.
Of course they are. They stink as well. I'd even say they're the worst.
Racists, however, are the worstest.
Humans have, throughout history, found innumerable reasons to devalue one another: politics, religion, culture, college football, and so on. Racism, though, is the one that strikes at the core of our humanity. Racists believe that because a person was born with a different skin pigment, the value of their humanness is compromised.
This belief runs counter not only to our founding American principles, but to our creation.
And you don't even have to flip far in the Good Book to see. From the New International Version of the Bible, "God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27)
If you believe in the Bible and Christ's teachings, then there is no way around the fact that we have all — every single one of us — been made in his image. It's very clear.
So yeah, those Antifa jerkwads (basement dwellers in their own right) have lost their way and are terrible for America, but their misguided qualms are political in nature. Racists on the other hand are calling into question our maker.
It's a sad day for our country when we're we're passionately arguing over which extremist groups are worse than the others, but hey, that's 2017 for you.
They're both abominations. One is the worst (and I'll specifically address them later). But racists are the worstest.
Contact David Allen Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DMart423.