The disingenuousness of politicians, journalists and protesters over the tragedy in Charlottesville is symptomatic of a virulent American malady: historical and cultural myopia. It’s the culmination of identity politics, blinding bigotry and intentionally one-sided media coverage.
Here’s what happened: Two militant groups collided, violence ensued and many non-violent protesters were hurt. One was killed by a lunatic who used a vehicle as a weapon—like a terrorist.
Our president’s initial reaction: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
On many sides? Mr. President, don’t you mean on both sides? And don’t you mean hatred and bigotry on both sides with one side initiating violence toward the side that was chanting, “Jews will not replace us?”
Trust me, Hitler fanboys
No one wants to replace you. We just want you to go back to your caves. And by the way, Hitler was a world-class loser who, if he were your Fuhrer, would sacrifice your lives for his ideological fantasy just as readily as he sacrificed his own people’s lives.
Back to our leader. Here’s what Trump should’ve said (and meant): “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred and bigotry. We denounce the white supremacists of the KKK, neo-Nazis and any other group or people who embrace racist ideology.
We also warn counter protesters, specifically ANTIFA, that if they come to protests and incite violence, as video suggests they did in Charlottesville, we will enforce law and order and hold all who do so accountable.”
ANTIFA is the anti-fascist, pro-communist, anarchist group that opposes fascists and their racism and bigotry with a weapon used by fascists—violence. It’s the group you may have never heard about because most media outlets say nary a word about it. They pretend there are only two sides: peaceful demonstrators and alt right brutes. ANTIFA is the enemy of their enemy—and ours, you see.
ANTIFA is the group that co-opts demonstrations against right-wing speakers like the anti-Milo Yiannopoulos spectacle at Berkeley.
Anti-freedom of speech
ANTIFA is the alt left group that incites college students to silence those whose views they cannot tolerate through violence and mob mayhem. And somehow, progressive politicians, educators and media members excuse this violence in the name of righteous resistance toward those who hold “intolerable” views.
|ˈbiɡətrē| noun: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
Helpful tip: When you label someone a bigot because you cannot tolerate him because of an opinion he holds, by definition, you become one.
Contrary to media and the left’s silence and even hero-making of ANTIFA members, they are not heroes. Nor are they on the side of the peaceful protesters of Charlottesville, Berkeley or anywhere else. They’re on their own side.
For those of you who are interested in learning history rather than tearing it down, here’s an apt historical comparison:
ANTIFA members, like the ones who came armed and ready to attack the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, operate similarly to the militant communists who clashed with the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) Brownshirts during Germany’s Weimar Republic.
These communists and especially those of the Alliance of Red Front-Fighters (RFB) routinely engaged in violent street fights with the police, the Brownshirts and those with whom they disagreed politically.
The SA and RFB simply could not tolerate the other’s viewpoints and rather than disagree and engage, they used violence. Just as ANTIFA used violence against the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville.
Zero tolerance for “intolerance”
The left’s argument is that the worldview of neo-Nazis and their ilk are fundamentally intolerable and should be resisted at every turn. I agree. I find them repugnant, brutish and nonsensical. However, I grant them and any other vile group in America their rights of free speech and peaceful assembly.
The left and alt left groups like ANTIFA grant them neither. Instead, they use violence and lawlessness to stamp out worldviews and political viewpoints they find intolerable.
Again, this is the essence of bigotry.
This self-righteous battle is why leftists in the media, politics and education are silent about ANTIFA, or worse, actually engage in hero-making and glorification of their cause. They justify violence in the name of anti-bigotry and anti-hate. How ironic.
Enough about the hypocrisy of ANTIFA and any group—left or right. Back to Trump’s incomplete condemnation speech.
Perhaps the president pandered to a fringe element of his base when he failed to name names. He should’ve condemned—by name—white supremacists, the KKK and any other vile group of fools who may or may not represent the criminal who plowed the car into the crowd and killed the young woman.
She should be the focus of this tragedy. Not political types like Mitt Romney and former Hillary spokesmen Brian Fallon.
Failing false equivalency 101
Consider this tangential Romney tweet in response to Trump’s initial “all sides” statement:
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry [with violence and bigotry, my words, not Mitt’s]. Morally different universes.
Uh, Mitt, did you just draw a false equivalency from a false equivalency? When Trump condemned hatred, violence and bigotry on many sides, did he say that each side is equally racist and bigoted? That each side operates in the same moral universe?
Speaking of false moral equivalencies, former Hillary campaign spokesmen Brian Fallon offered this tweet comparing ANTIFA to allied forces on D-Day:
Hey, Brian, do you seriously mean to equate ANTIFA’s clash with white supremacists in Charlottesville to allied forces braving machine gun fire and artillery shells on the bloody shores of Normandy?
Brian Fallon not only gives ANTIFA a pass, he hails them as heroes for triggering the violence that precipitated the death of Heather Heyer.
Now there’s your false moral equivalency, Mitt Romney.
Toppling history. One statue at a time.
You may have heard people say things like, “As Americans, we are not Robert E. Lee.” Okay. But Robert E. Lee is America. So are slave owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Does anyone truly believe we can erase America’s past by defacing or toppling statues of historical figures?
Removing statues—and history—is what fascists do. It’s what the Nazi’s did when they burned books and banned ideas they found intolerant. They recreated a new national identity by sanitizing German history.
Toppling statues robs us of our history and makes villains of the complex, imperfect leaders that are inextricably part of our national heritage. How can we teach our children about Robert E. Lee—about his foibles and faults and good and bad character traits—if we banish him from history?
How can we explain to students now and in generations to come how Lee, by all contemporary accounts, was a good man who was on the wrong side of our bloody, heartbreaking civil war?
Statues are temporary. History is forever.
When we remove statues, we forever lose opportunities to provide generations of young people with visual likenesses of men and women who helped forge and develop our nation. Men and women who, like it or not, are woven into our historic national fabric.
Remove their likenesses, and what’s left is incoherent history. And a raggedy and torn national tapestry that though imperfect, was once whole and comprehensible.
We may as well tear out sections of history books and burn them on bonfires—like the Nazis did. They created a fantasy Germanic history devoid of imperfection and weakness. Their sanitized self-delusion stripped their culture of the frailty of their humanity.
How shortsighted we are to repeat history in a vain attempt to wipe clean our own. If we continue down this road, there will be more Charlottesvilles, more more tragedies and less freedom.
And if we lose our freedom, we lose the very thing that makes our nation one of a kind. We have a special history. Rather than purging it of its bad episodes—let’s learn from them.