There was no gunfire in Charlottesville this weekend, but I’m shocked there wasn’t after the recent NRA video rants that come close to advocating civil war. Their silence since the events of last weekend is deafening, given that they were the cheerleaders for the domestic terrorists parading around in Charlottesville. Yes, there were some counter-protesters that had no business engaging these reprobates. But make no mistake, the white supremacists on parade were there to pick fights and hurt people. And they succeeded using an ISIS tactic by causing carnage and the death of a young woman with a car.
This brings me to Congressman Tom Garrett. Before the 9th district was gerrymandered to accommodate Morgan Griffith, I was lived in Garrett’s 5th. Garrett, like all of his Republican colleagues in the house, is an unabashed lackey for the NRA. Now it was revealed he also welcomed Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Charlottesville white nationalist event, with open arms.
This was no ordinary constituent paying a friendly visit to his congressman. Garrett told Fox News that he did not know who Kessler was at the time of their meeting. “That’s what we do, we meet with people all the time,” Garrett said. “I didn’t know who that cat was at that point in time. I know who he is now and I don’t like him any more than anybody else does.”
He said Kessler and some associates drove to his D.C. office and requested a meeting. Really, Tom? Just like that? How welcoming of you to meet every constituent without knowing whether they are a good guy or a bad guy. Garrett would not say what they discussed or how long the meeting lasted.
Over the last two years, I’ve had countless meetings on Capitol Hill with lawmakers. Every time I met a congressman or senator, they knew in advance about me and my agenda as an advocate for common sense gun laws. Either Tom Garrett has a terribly incompetent staff, or he is a liar. My money is on the latter. Garrett takes a page right out Trump’s playbook. In an interview last year, Trump professed not to know KKK leader David Duke or anything about white supremacist groups, even though they endorsed him.
Our community and our country deserve better than legislators like Garrett and others like him who reserve the right to egregiously lie when it suits them. I know many reading this will think, “Yeah, they lie. So what.” I hope the majority think otherwise and speak out against growing racism, intolerance, and the NRA’s support of violence. For the real patriots out there, remember what Martin Luther King said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”