My wife Melissa, son Joshua and I were in Monroe, Louisiana, sitting in the living room of our dear friends Win and Lisa Eckert last Saturday, talking about any number of things - most of them far removed from this place we (sometimes grudgingly) refer to as “the Real World” - when we got the news about the act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Like so many others - like anyone with even a trace of human decency in their soul and a modicum of gray matter between their ears - we were horrified and angered at the news. Horrified at the death of a 32-year-old paralegal and the injury of 19 others whose only “crime” was taking part in an event intended as an exercise of their First Amendment right to free expression.

Horrified, too, at the thought that any one person could be so filled with hatred towards his fellow man that he would be moved into driving his car at high speed into that crowd in the first place.

And angry that, here in 2017 - just over five decades after Dr. King’s speech at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the march from Selma to Montgomery, and so soon after the two-term administration of a man whose presidency owed so much to Dr. King and those who stood beside him - we should still be witnessing such hatred, still be mourning such needless death, still be having to have these conversations at all.

But perhaps our greatest anger was over the response (or, more correctly, the lack of an appropriate response) from the man who has succeeded the aforementioned president.

In what was almost certainly the poorest example of “presidential leadership” in recent history - perhaps in my lifetime - the current president issued an essentially generic condemnation; rather than speak out forcefully against domestic terrorism and specific groups who use it to advance the cause of their hate-fueled dream of a segregated America, he made a misleading and ultimately insulting comment insinuating that both sides were to blame.

Only after a massive outcry from the public did our president finally - in a carefully worded speech obviously written by someone else, and utterly devoid of any kind of genuine emotion - condemn the vile inhumanity that lies at the heart of Saturday’s attack in Charlottesville. But then, as been well documented and discussed and condemned by everyone from Dan Rather to John McCain to James Corden, Palpatine Incarnate turned around the very next day and went back to his “both sides are to blame" narrative, going so far as to invoke the menace of an “alt-left” fringe that until that moment I hadn’t even realized exists.

And while the outrage over Palpatine’s comments has been overwhelming, it has been by no means universal. Throughout the day, for example, I have seen post after post online complaining about the lack of similar outrage over the Black Lives Matter movement. Not one of those posters has been able to offer solid, factual evidence to support the alleged equivalence between efforts to stop the killing of African-Americans and the goals of white supremacists who’d like to see them dead but, hey, let’s not let a little thing like reality get in the way of a good old-fashioned neo-Nazi hate fest…

If there is anybody out there who truly believes that there is no difference whatsoever between a torch-wielding mob chanting slogans taken from the leader of an evil regime we fought a World War to defeat, and a group of freedom-loving Americans protesting against a resurgence of that particular brand of evil, then I have only two words for you: You’re nuts.

This special brand of stupidity has always existed in America, unfortunately, in spite of the lofty goals and eloquent words of the Founding Fathers - and the best efforts of those who have fought to make good on those lofty goals and eloquent words.

But all too often it seems that we either forget, or try to pretend it isn’t there.

Until we are confronted by an event like Charlottesville. Until we hear the words and see the actions of those who march on our city streets, at our places of education and even our houses of worship, with hatred in their voices and violence in their hearts.

It should not take a moment like this for us to remember that “We the People” means ALL OF US, no matter how I may be different from you or you from the next guy or him from that woman over there across the street.

It should not take the senseless death of a Heather Hayer to remind us that the whole concept of America was predicated on the ideal of creating a place where people of all races and all persuasions - ethnic, religious, political, sexual, economic, you name it - truly are entitled to the same rights and expectations of basic human dignity, thereby keeping the promise inherent in the words of the Declaration of Independence: "All Men Are Created Equal.”

If I love to be a million, I will never understand why that concept frightens some people so...