Letter: A response to Rep. Costello’s recent Op/Ed

To The Editor,

The following is an open letter to U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-6):

Dear Representative Ryan Costello,

Thank you for making a public statement about Charlottesville (Op/ed: Hate is a dangerous thing in The Times of Chester County). We need to talk about it. Staying silent and pretending it didn’t happen is not an option. You defined hate as “a personal decision to decide to be intolerant and cruel toward another individual or group of individuals based on another’s skin color, religion, gender, ethnicity, or other similar type characteristic,” and we agree. The counter-protesters were not a “hate-group” based on your definition.

The only thing the counter-protesters opposed were those who hate. The counter-protesters didn’t care about race, religion or gender. They were there to oppose the hateful ones, again, as per your definition. There were a group of people chanting “Jews will not replace us,” which is a Neo-Nazi ideology. There were white supremacists and KKK members who want all people of color to leave the country, or worse. Those are the real hateful people. The people who opposed them were not hateful. They were heroes, they came unarmed to oppose hate. Heather Heyer, who was killed during the protest is a hero. She came unarmed, to support the people who had hate directed against them even if she wasn’t a target of their hate. She gave her life for the cause. Please use her name when you speak.

It’s not a false debate over who is to blame here. There is no organized “alt-left.” That’s a term made-up by the president to make it seem like there are equivalent hate groups on the left who are analogous to the self-described “alt-right.” Are there some people on the left whose tactics of fighting hate are distasteful? Sure, many of us agree that Antifa goes over the line sometimes. But remember, they don’t hate a person based on their physical characteristics or religion. They fight against white supremacists, the KKK and Neo-Nazis because they are hate groups.

Ignoring them only gives them more power. It gives them the impression that their views are acceptable to large numbers of Americans. This kind of hate will spread unless we call it out, specifically, by name:  white supremacists, the KKK and Neo-Nazis. Those are the hate groups. Call them out by name. The president won’t do it because he needs their support, they are part of his base. Failing to do so implies that you also want their support. Please call out the hate groups by name, it’s the American thing to do.

Additionally, we also have two simple and straightforward things that you can do to take a stand against hate. There is a resolution in the House to censure the president for his failure to call out hate groups. It’s clear that the majority of Americans agree. We ask you to support it. There is a group called “Life After Hate” founded by a former skinhead that received a federal grant through DHS for $400K to help combat far right extremism. Its funding was cut by the Trump administration. Take a stand and ask that their funding be restored. Thank you for your consideration.

Concerned Citizens Action Group PA-06

Jack Guida,

West Chester

Tammy Harkness,


Andrea Cauble,


and Claire Witzleben,


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  1. Tom says:

    I think Concerned Citizens Action Group PA-06 needs to reassess the article they wrote. I agree with them that white supremacists, KKK, etc are hate groups, but smoothing over the actions of the counter-protesters or Antifa is just wrong-headed. Two opposing “organizations” met, both with a preference, no a desire, for violence. Plain and simple.
    To say there isn’t an organized “alt-left” is simply ignoring the obvious. Were they merely picnicing at the Downtown Mall when the KKK just happened to show up? They found out about them, organized, and challenged them. Regardless of who threw the first stone they were both ready to escalate the situation to violence. During the summer months in Philly one sees them fairly regularly marching and protesting. Don’t try to convince people they’re not organized or mean-spirited. Are you unaware of their unprovoked violence that erupts from their unopposed marches? You can watch the videos on the net.
    Neither of these groups are healthy for our country and our elected officials have a very difficult job balancing the individual’s rights while keeping the peace. Your group, and everyone else, should denounce both extremist groups.

  2. Nathaniel says:

    I have my doubts that “Hate is rooted in a personal decision to decide to be intolerant and cruel toward another individual or group of individuals….”

    The hate that we are seeing in the country and world today is rooted in organized groups that encourage individuals searching for certainty to embrace a simplified ideology that claims to solve complex issues by spreading hate and fear.

    Our country is awash in intolerance, much more than many other countries often compared to us. We as a national community have the responsibility to solve the problem, just as a company that misleads or shortchanges customers can no longer get away with the “few bad apples” excuse.

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