After Charlottesville: Trump needs to give Oval Office address that outlines our national goals, brings us together

After this past weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia, my own take, which is very much personal, is that what is missing is an attempt to unify the country.

No responsible actor from either political party is seeking a higher purpose to unify the country.

Let me be very clear, I am not speaking of the white supremacists on the extreme right and the protesters from the extreme left.

I am talking about the responsible political leaders, political parties, and indeed, even the media in our country.

I do agree with those who said that President Trump, particularly on Tuesday, unfortunately set back the cause by appearing to identify neo-Nazis and white supremacists with leftist protesters and draw moral equivalence.

What the president needs to do now is deliver an Oval Office address that seeks to set the record straight about where we are headed. An address that goes well beyond the tragedy that happened in Charlottesville and outlines our national goals, aspirations, and values.

Needless to say, I vehemently object to those on the right who turned to violence and intimidation this past weekend, with or without a permit to demonstrate.

As an American Jew, I find their actions abhorrent. At a very early age, I was brought up to understand the horrors of the Holocaust and to understand that Nazism in any shape, manner, or form as part of our political dialogue is beyond repulsive.

I feel the same way about racism, as someone who also grew up watching the passage of historic civil rights legislation in the 1960s, and was made to feel proud that our country could, on a bipartisan basis, pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Right Act of 1965, as well as Medicaid and Medicare thereafter.

Similarly though, I believe the president made a fair point when he said that we need to hold accountable those on the left, who marched without a permit and who did engage in provocative actions, as well as violence, too.

But there is a larger purpose rather than pointing fingers, and it is a goal that neither party, nor our political leaders, nor the media has addressed as I have suggested, which is worth reinforcing.

This is to make a conscious effort to unify a broad mass of the American people around our common ideals and common goals.

We Americans share a common commitment to liberty, equality, and most fundamentally, freedom of speech that has not been discussed, emphasized, or offered.

I refer people to John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural address, when the president said, quite rightly, that our freedoms and liberty come directly from “the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God,” and our shared Judeo-Christian ethic.

I held those sentiments as a young boy, I share those sentiments now, and I encourage all readers to consider those words, which remain prophetic and empowering.

Our freedoms have always been seen as forces that bring people together and unify us toward common goals.

Whether we are under assault in Asia by the North Koreans, dealing with a number of contentious issues in the Middle East, particularly with Iran, or faced with Russians attempting to destabilize Europe, or indeed the U.S. – to me the great tragedy is that in our country we are playing a blame-game that pulls us further apart.

To the extent that the president has been weakened by what he has done, I believe that most fundamentally the reason he has been weakened is his inability to unify the country.

I am not one of those that believes the president cannot govern. I wish, as I believe most do, that he had handled his press conference on Tuesday differently.

However, the president felt the need to say what he did about the protestors on both sides and while I disagree with much of what he said, he is still my president and he is still someone who is the commander-in-chief of our armed forces.

What the president needs to do now is deliver an Oval Office address that seeks to set the record straight about where we are headed. An address that goes well beyond the tragedy that happened in Charlottesville and outlines our national goals, aspirations, and values.

The president needs to speak to One Nation, Under God in a way that he has yet to do, seeking to unify both people who he may well fundamentally disagree with and those who share his worldview uncritically and in an unquestioned fashion.

More generally, I very much hope leaders emerge on both sides who seek unity as a goal, articulate our core values, and stand up for freedom and liberty at home and abroad in a way that was common in America when I was growing up.

Those ideals are not antiquated, they need to be animated.

I am a patriot and I am a strong supporter of civil rights. I abhor violence, racism, white supremacy, and most of all, Nazism.

I would also cast aspersions on anyone who would seek to gain political advantage through conflict, provocation, and aggressive acts in any form.

Let me be very clear, I am not saying there is moral equivalence between the groups protesting. There is none. The blame first and foremost is with the hate groups.

But the larger point remains: we must come together as a nation to recognize that our adversaries around the world are seeking to take advantage of our weakness at home – both politically and on a substantive policy basis – to undermine the American ideal, our values, and our position in the world.