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A time to step up to the plate

Whether one calls the malady white nationalism, white supremacy, neo-Nazism or any similar label, the resurrection of hate-based politics is a troubling development in society.

While the United States is not alone in facing this stain on our humanity, a lot of us hoped that the combination of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II and the success of the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s would have inoculated our country from this scourge once and for all.

But, in recent years, attacks on synagogues and black churches have killed the innocent. In 2017, Charlottesville, Va., showed the world the ugly faces of U.S. neo-Nazis in a torch-lit parade chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”

Two weeks ago, a deranged gunman drove nine hours from Dallas to El Paso to kill people because of their ethnicity and brown skin.

We lived through the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s. We’ve seen films of Ku Klux Klan marches in the first half of the 20th century.

We are not old enough to have been alive during the Nazi reign in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. Our mental images of those days are based on old newsreels.

What is surprising to us is that after the battles with the Nazis in World War II that saved the world from savagery and hatred, there are people in our country who admire that tyranny.

What is also amazing is that some 55 years after the passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, we have citizens who believe that people with darker skin color are inferior to them.

It is time for all our political leaders to unequivocally denounce neo-Nazis, the Klan, white nationalists and white supremacists. It is time for the rest of us to join hands and push back against their violence. It was painful, but Martin Luther King Jr. taught all of us that nonviolence will triumph.

We’re not certain what bred this surge of hatred that is brewing throughout the world. We are certain, though, that it will not stop if good people stand by silently. All of us need to let these hate groups know bullying and belittling our fellow citizens will not be tolerated in the United States.

(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.