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Our View: The best and the worst

Friday's horrific scene on a Portland MAX train demonstrated the best and the worst of America.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, who grew up in Ashland, was one of three men who showed the best of this country by intervening when a man hurled racial and religious epithets at two teenage girls. He was also one of two who paid with his life.

Many seek to place blame after such an incident. It would be easy, as some have, to blame President Donald Trump, whose campaign rhetoric seemed to embolden white supremacists such as Jeremy Christian, the accused stabber. But that's too easy.

Meche's mother, Asha Deliverance of Ashland, asked Trump to "condemn any acts of violence, which result directly from hate speech and hate groups."

Trump tweeted: "The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them."

That's the right response, but it's the least the president should do.

Local residents gathering to remember Meche Saturday wondered what they should do in such a situation. The answer: Do exactly what Taliesin did. It will take everyone standing up every time to reverse the momentum of intolerance threatening the ideals that really make this country great.

In a court appearance Tuesday, the accused murderer shouted that his actions were "patriotic," and called on Portlanders to "get out if you don't like free speech."

Whatever the source of his twisted understanding of freedom, Christian should never again enjoy any.