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Demonstrations and counterprotests in some situations have the potential to bring together the two sides for meaningful conversations and better understanding.

At a recent event in Alexandria, reporter Andy Knight captured a moment that we hope to see more often: that of two people on opposite sides of the political divide clasping hands.

Peaceful demonstrations are a key part of our First Amendment rights, and some area residents have joined the nationwide movement to take a stand against systemic racism and police brutality. Often, protests affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement are met by counterprotesters carrying Trump flags and firearms.

In many places around the country, these confrontations have turned violent.

Fortunately, the demonstrations in our area have remained peaceful, which would seem to indicate that Madison County residents on the left and right care about their community.

Liberals and conservatives have lived side by side in this community long before President Donald Trump took office and will continue to do so long after he is out of office.

We won’t all agree, but it is important that we remember to see each other as fellow Americans and fellow human beings.

If you choose to take to the streets to stand up for what you believe, do so with all of the courage of your convictions, but do so peacefully and leave the guns at home.

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