Denouncing racism, Harris says diversity makes America great
Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) had some choice words for racists and white supremacists during a recent House discussion: Take your twisted language, hate and ideology, and put it “where the sun don’t shine.”
Harris spoke just prior to passage of House Resolution 569, which condemns neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations that spread messages of hate and racism.
“I just want to make a couple of remarks to those groups that spews their bitter bile: They will be protected under the foundations of our Constitution and the First Amendment that they can go out and they can say what they want ... but all of us know that their ideology and what they stand for is (nothing more than) hatred and bigotry,” Harris said. “Their language is repugnant; it is odious, and it is contemptible.”
Harris’ comments and HR569 came in response to the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12 that culminated when James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man affiliated with white supremacy, drove a car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring at least 19 others. Fields has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder and three counts of malicious wounding.
Heyer was one of a large group of demonstrators protesting a rally by white nationalists, which included neo-Nazis in their fold.
Harris considered the celebration of Nazism appalling, having visited several concentration camps and finding the experience overwhelming.
“I have visited Dachau; I have visited Bergen-Belsen; I have visited Sachsenhausen," Harris said. "They called these places concentration camps. They weren’t concentration camps. They were killing machines where the Nazi killed tens of thousands of individuals. When you stand at these places, you are overwhelmed, and you ask, ‘How could human beings do this to their fellow human beings?’”
Harris suggested that Nazism is based on “bigotry, discriminatory and a sense of inferiority,” while its opposite, diversity, is what makes a nation great.
“That’s what these folks don’t understand,” Harris said. “It is that diversity that make this country great – doesn’t matter the color of our skin, our creed or our ethnic background.”
HR569 passed unanimously 105-0, with all chamber members added as co-sponsors thanks to a suggestion by Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard).