Charlottesville hatred and violence a disgrace to the United States of America

The vile hatred and violence in Charlottesville is a disgrace to the United States of America. In 2013, I said that if we hope for a healthy, prosperous nation we cannot continue to demagogue our neighbors because they see the world differently -- suggesting that not only their opinions but they themselves are somehow less. Tragically, we now see not only demagoguery but physical violence and lives lost -- casualties of the incivility that is destroying the fabric of American society.

Hatred and fear are increasingly drowning out humanity and friendship. Basic decency has given way to demagoguery. Rancor has replaced relationships. We have become so blinded by the polarization and tribalization of American society that we often cannot see another person as anything but an ideology to be despised and defeated.

This internal scourge on our nation threatens the future of the United States. A healthy and vibrant society cannot survive amidst such attacks on the humanity of our fellow Americans.

Please join the Listen First movement to restore civil discourse one conversation at a time -- conversations that prioritize respect and understanding. Listening has the power to restore relationships, build bridges, and mend the frayed fabric of American society.

I pray we unite to move beyond slander and violence to seek common ground. This must stop. Our future depends on it.  -Pearce Godwin