Charlottesville's Politics: Examining the Impact of History, Culture, and Politics

The history of racism and ethnic hatred in the United States is long and profound. What are the cultural, economic, and political currents that have led us to the events of a year ago in Charlottesville, Virginia? White supremacists marched, unmasked, and a neo-Nazi crashed into a crowd of counterdemonstrators, injuring dozens of people and killing a woman, Heather Heyer. After the march, a crowd of white supremacists savagely beat DeAndre Harris, an African-American man. It can be tempting to think of Charlottesville as an aberration or as something that could only have happened in the Trump era, but neither of these things is true.

The protests that took place in Charlottesville are part of a long legacy of racist violence in the United States. This legacy has been shaped by the culture, economics, and politics of the region. In 1906, Dry Goods Ellington bought the first car in Albemarle County, sparking the car craze. With his purchase, Ellington became the proud owner of number 494 of Virginia's first 500 cars.

While car use was limited in the first decades of the 20th century by several factors such as climate, road quality, and money, by 1922 there were more than 1,800 cars in Albemarle County, along with 363 trucks. To ensure safety, the local government approved regulations for the use of cars. All vehicles had to be kept within a speed limit of eight miles per hour within the city limits and twenty miles per hour beyond. At all road crossings, drivers had to ring a bell or horn and had to stop to see the horses that were passing by.

The roads were not yet numbered, so drivers used printed guidebooks. Despite security measures, some people saw the loud new technology as a threat to public safety - a fear confirmed by the first car-related death in the county. The tragedy occurred in June 1910 near Covesville when Goulay Martin's car hit and killed Willard Moseley, a boy who was driving his cow on the road at the time. It's tempting to see the Unite the Right demonstration last month in my hometown of Charlottesville and the counter-protests it inspired as another tragic episode of the culture wars.

In fact, history has long been a source of conflict in this culture war. In 1992 similar arguments were presented about the meaning of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. The deadly “Unite the Right” demonstration a year ago in Charlottesville was supposed to be a time when disparate ideologies could come together openly and feel real popular political power. The political challenge is to expose this scam and help lead a broad multiracial majority towards a more inclusive policy.

A broad coalition of voices in political and civil society must ostracize politicians who traffic in white nationalist language for political ends. The central political question is how to move away from this latest dark turn in U. S. politics.

Formerly called Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS), Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) provides bus service in the city and in some built-up parts of Albemarle County. In such a changing landscape, outdated racist and xenophobic appeals are unlikely to be politically successful beyond a small swath. As such, racist propagandists have had to develop more subtle approaches to stoking fear and hatred for political ends. The purpose of this report is to help readers recognize and denounce attempts to smuggle white supremacy into everyday politics and to support civic leaders of all political persuasions who oppose this poison. The events that occurred in Charlottesville last year were not an isolated incident but rather part of an ongoing struggle between those who seek to uphold white supremacy and those who strive for equality for all people regardless of race or ethnicity.

This struggle has been shaped by history, culture, economics, and politics throughout our nation's history. The first car-related death in Albemarle County occurred in 1910 when Goulay Martin's car hit and killed Willard Moseley while he was driving his cow on the road at that time. This tragedy highlighted how new technology can be seen as a threat to public safety. In 1992 similar arguments were presented about Christopher Columbus's discovery of America which sparked debates about its meaning. This shows how history has been used as a source for conflict between different ideologies. The Unite The Right demonstration last year was meant to be an opportunity for different ideologies to come together but instead it resulted in violence which highlighted how racism still exists today. Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) provides bus service throughout Albemarle County which helps people get around safely without having to worry about outdated racist or xenophobic appeals. Politicians have been using white nationalist language for their own political gain which needs to be exposed so that we can move away from this dark turn in U. It is important for civic leaders from all backgrounds to come together and oppose this poison so that we can create an inclusive society where everyone is treated equally.

Jasmin Migliorisi
Jasmin Migliorisi

Extreme food ninja. Unapologetic bacon evangelist. Lifelong bacon geek. General food junkie. Avid web aficionado.

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