As I contemplate the tragic events in Charlottesville this past weekend, I see our nation meandering down a dangerous road, asleep at the wheel.

I have lived and worked as a corporate energy attorney around the world and can sympathize with Brennan Gilmore, the ex-Foreign Service officer who described his visit home to Charlottesville from a conflict zone as a journey “back to the Shire after adventures in Mordor.” Like Brennan, I am surprised to see the United States seemingly fall victim to the same dysfunction that exists abroad. Alas, major economic disruptions and cultural schisms have worn thin the fabric of our society and, for years, political partisans on both sides have staked their careers on widening the gaps that divide us into angry and sometimes violent chasms.

Last weekend, Brennan was on site at Charlottesville when our culture wars entered a new era. He happened to film the despicable car attack that claimed an innocent life. Despite our shared horror at this crime, we won’t rescue ourselves by being shocked and sad at the spectacle of Nazis parading down our streets.

Our only solution is for each of us to show the courage to stand up and pull the nation back from the divisive politics splitting us into armies against each other. It’s time to turn back against the tide of political leaders who label our countrymen as some form of “other” — definitions crafted along the fissures of differing religions, racial and cultural identities and in-between socioeconomic bodies.

My opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz, issued a laudable statement condemning the nationalist perpetrators of the Charlottesville tragedy, one highlighted on this page this week: “These bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail. America is far better than this.” He is right, but these words are crocodile tears. His entire career as a public servant has been defined by exploiting the you-versus-them worldview that came to a violent head in Charlottesville. Cruz showed his hand when he vilified immigrants and refugees as terrorists, when he played to fears that the LGBTQ community might convert our children and when he labeled American journalists — the very next day — as Soviet shills. Each time Cruz blasts the judiciary, or likens them to tyrants, we take a step down the road to another tragedy.

Our country doesn’t need six more years of litigious culture wars. I quit my day job as a corporate attorney to run against Cruz, to offer America Morpheus’ red pill and to create the path of a nation not drunk on malice or hell-bent on furthering our differences.

The Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville are symptoms of what ails America. We need to treat the disease: the politics of division.

We must find ways to bridge our divisions and solve our most pressing problems — immigration, trade, health care, education — that, for 20 years now, have been festering sores. Without that, without action and positive results, all the condemnations in the world are meaningless.

Stefano de Stefano of Houston describes himself as a moderate, free-market Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2018.