The disgusting race riots we have witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia, have been revolting for a range of reasons. The so-called “alt-right” has sought to hijack the conservative mantle and make it about ethnicity instead of ideas. Most left-leaning media outlets have tried to make the alt-right rioters, and klansmen, spokespersons for the Republican National Committee. Neither of these things are true. It is now necessary for leaders of the conservative movement to make-clear that the alt-right is not right, and being Republican is not racist.
That was the point I tried to drive-home yesterday on Fox News. Liberal politicians have generally used the unrest in Virginia to paint all Republicans into the corner on race. This is wrong and hypocritical. Where were these same liberal finger-wavers when riotous protesters last year were calling for the murder of law-enforcement officers and calling police “pigs in a blanket? Would Democrats want to be painted by such a broad brush?
Our politics must not be dominated by race; it must again be about ideas. My message to the alt-right is clear: you don’t speak for me or American conservatives. Conservatives stand for freedom, but you stand for racial fascism. Conservative ideas aren’t just for white people, but are the principles needed for all Americans to prosper.
The central tenet of the American founding is that “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That credo, contained in our Declaration of Independence, is the heart of who we are as a people. Both parties, and all political leaders, must work to foster a conversation in our country about our shared American identity, consensus values, and common dreams. Conservatism can drive that conversation, so long as we make clear that conservatism is not specific to color.