Racism, white supremacy, and Nazism are antithetical to everything that conservatives hold dear. We seek to conserve the ideas of the American founding, including as the Declaration of Independence says, that all people are created equal in the eyes of God and the law.

It’s sickening that these groups on the so-called “alt-right” want to align themselves with the Trump presidency or any part of American politics. Their march was called “Unite the Right,” but they have no place near the conservative movement and never have.   

To the contrary, those who stand to benefit politically from the events in Charlottesville are on the left. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that many Democrats — and the mainstream media — have intentionally played politics with recent events, even paved the way for these hateful episodes, and are now seeking to highlight and twist them for political gain.

First, the ACLU sued when the city of Charlottesville attempted — for reasons of public safety — to locate the rally outside of downtown. Of course free speech is to be respected, but the city was attempting to strike a balance and keep people safe.

Then, even though Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe knew about the protest weeks ahead, the state did not prepare for it properly. Instead, it seems McAuliffe intended to amplify and promote these twisted folks, maybe even embolden them, for the left’s own political ends.

The media consistently uses the terms racists, fascist, and nationalists together and interchangeably, in an overt attempt to confuse and conflate abhorrent beliefs with policies that recognize America’s unique, national interests and embody legitimate patriotic pride. The media would have people believe that the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups are in tune with President Trump’s supporters and anyone who agrees with his America First agenda. This is an irresponsible attempt to socially shame people for supporting Trump or his trade and economic policies.

This dangerous narrative has real consequences. By greatly exaggerating the influence of hateful, racist groups, they give them more power, embolden them to take action with the misperception that they have larger support. The truth is they do not. The tiki-torch-lit march turned up only about 100 participants (in a nation of more than 300 million people) and Saturday's failed rally in Charlottesville took months of planning. This entire incident — the small number of instigators and followers, the huge outpouring of disgust — confirms that this is a great nation overwhelmingly filled with good people who reject racism and white supremacy.

Many of those good people support President Trump and or his agenda. Americans will disagree on many ideas, but the accusation of racism where it doesn’t belong does serious harm: It stifles intellectual debate and dilutes the very serious meaning of such accusations, so that we have no words left to decry real racial hatred, like we’ve seen over the weekend in Charlottesville.

Even so, while ignorant people (on both sides) must be free to express stupid and wrong points of view, we can all work to elevate political discourse and counteract bad ideas. There is more value in public debate than an authoritarian impulse to shame and silence as is being done on college campuses today, and apparently at major corporations, such as Google, where a young engineer was recently fired for his opinion on the company’s diversity policy.

That is what the social sphere is for. We should all do our part in our individual communities to work toward mutual understanding, as well as better race relations, in politics and all parts of life. This is more productive than hurling insults, looking for how to be offended, or emphasizing and promoting division. 

The left should stop pretending that racism is about left versus right. It’s not. Truly, it is about right versus wrong. Racism is wrong; violence is wrong; using either for political gain is wrong as well.