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.
N.D. B. Connolly, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University, advocates violence against white supremacists when he writes, “Charlottesville showed that liberalism can’t defeat white supremacy. Only direct action can.”
In other words, we tried liberalism. It failed. Now it’s time to use violence to show white supremacists that we will not tolerate their racist views and ideologies. Nor do we recognize their right to free speech and assembly.
|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.
11 Replies to “Charlottesville hate and hypocrisy: How bigotry and intolerance afflicts all sides.”
Mr. Luscri, You are an excellent writer and I do enjoy reading your blog.
You are right, both sides came looking for trouble. The police should have cordoned off each side to keep them apart.
But, one person who had marched with a group of self-proclaimed fascists used a car as a weapon to commit murder. He was not being attacked by anyone.
Personally I feel people who carry Nazi flags align themselves with those who participated in the annihilation of Jews. People who align themselves with the KKK align themselves with those who participated in the hanging of black people. The others who marched with them aligned themselves with those 2 groups. Neither group should have a voice anywhere. Both equate with murder. Murder should have no voice in this country.
Removing statues does not equate with tearing up books. I would think people learn a lot more from books than staring at a statue. I thought some of them were going to go to museums which makes sense. If statues teaches us our history – are there statues of white-hooded men with torches surrounding a hanging black man in the middle of a town? Are there statues of white men bidding on naked slaves? Are there statues of Indians being forced off their land? Are there statues of the owners who locked women and teenagers in a shirtwaist sweatshop factory where they were all burned alive? America has loads of history.
The issue with our President is he is lacks the human emotion of empathy. Personally, I feel the only emotion he can feel is self preservation. He doesn’t know how to fake it. He has exploited racism since his birther campaign. He is absolutely the wrong person to look to in times of crisis.
Everything he touches he ignites.
Peace Mr. Luscri
Thanks, Joanne. Or should I call you Ms. Musto? Why the Mr. Luscri formality after all we’ve been through together on JP’s blog? 😉
Not sure I agree with you about cordoning off sides. How would the police do that without trampling everyone’s right to peaceful assembly? I’m for waiting to see if they can behave like civilized people first. And then when they start doing what they came to do, pin ’em, zip-tie ’em and haul ’em to a cage where they can act like they belong there.
You’re right—the murderer who used a car as a deadly weapon may or may not have been attacked by anyone. But is it possible that he may have remained a chanting marcher and not a killer had ANTIFA not thrown the first punches and club shots? It seems probable that ANTIFA’s instigation may have propelled his hatred to new levels and galvanized him to go rogue. Or he may have planned vehicular homicide from the get go. We don’t know yet. Neither do we know whether he was attacked.
Are you saying that aligning oneself with dead, Jew-killing Nazis and/or black-lynching KKK members is tantamount to murder? I say that if anyone is convicted of either vile deed, he should not only not have a voice in this country, he should not have a life in this world. As far as I know, none of the doofuses on either side are convicted murderers. Aligning oneself with Nazis and/or the KKK makes one a fool, not a murderer. I say every free citizen in our country has a voice and a right to use it.
“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” ~ Noam Chomsky
It seems that you find less value in staring at statues than in reading. I find value in both. And so does my wife. Staring at statues helps me feel closer to the person the statue memorializes. The longer I stare, the easier I can pretend I’m looking at the real person. Staring at statues coupled with reading about the person they depict, helps me gain an understanding of their minds and the historical context of their words and deeds. So for me—and my wife—tearing down statues is akin to tearing up books. I wouldn’t say that statues teach us history; I think they remind us of it and can help us better understand those whom they depict.
Do you really think Trump lacks empathy? Have you spoken with him? Met him? Do you know his heart? I would bet you all the money Trump owns that his family and friends would utterly disagree with you. I don’t see what racism has to do with his silly birther tripe. But I do agree with you that he is not presidential material. He does not have what it takes to help us in times of crisis. He has made a complete mess of a job that’s too big for him. What do you think of a President Pence?
This time I will try Patrick (I was presented with 3 choices – I can’t even pick the right grocery line) – although I will miss calling you Uber – I was the biggest fan of your variety of names on John’s blog. I love your imagination. My friends call me Jo which is my favorite name. I also love your passion in your writing.
As for the murderer in Charleston you might have come up with a good defense for him. The defense wouldn’t want me on that jury – I have already made up my mind.
Neo is a prefix from the ancient Greek word for young. – Young Nazi’s. They could have picked a different name if their views were different from the first Nazi’s. They know perfectly well what they stand for. Come on I am an old lady who raised four boys and who now has 8 grandchildren. No one gets a pass once they know better.
Wouldn’t statues be appropriate for a museum? We learn all kinds of things at a museum.
Of course I expressed my own personal opinion of our President. I make it a practice to look for the good in everyone. I think after all these years I am good at it. I looked and looked and no, nothing, zip. Even though I thought President Bush’s presidency was a train wreck – seeing him with his wife and family would feel like a beautiful breath of fresh air right now. For the record I blame Cheney and his cohorts as the evildoers in that Presidency. Personally I think President Trump is the human embodiment of the seven deadly sins.
As for a President Pence – Where do I start? I have this thing about liars – a bias, a prejudice. If I was to rate sins lying would be right after murder. I think when someone who professes to be so religious but never has called out our President lies, who repeats them, or excuses them, those lies become his. I know, I know it is was a politician does. Trump is an exceptional liar – proven to be untruthful 69% of the time. Just to me and me alone – Pence has surrendered part of his soul every time he supports Trump lies. That certainly does not disqualify him for being President, but I do not like his policies either. So Ugh. The good thing would be that the constant chaos from the White House would end. It already feels like Trump has been President for 4 years. See I can find a patch of blue in every grey sky.
Thanks for your kind words. You can call me Uber, if you want. Have you been back to JP’s blog lately? I noticed that he’s engaging with commenters now. He even took time to slap Joe the Catholic around a little.
There’s NO defense for the Charlottesville car murderer. He’s ruined a lot of lives, not to mention his own.
I think all groups should be free to march or speak. But once they break the law, I say punish them to its fullest extent. It seems to me that neo-Nazis do more damage to their cause BY talking about it. If someone is actually attracted to that brutish drivel, allowing them to coalesce under one silly tent is a good way to keep tabs on them.
I don’t have a problem with moving statues to museums. Whatever it takes to protect them from low-information vandals. However, it seems better to keep the ones located in battlefields and such where they are for context sake.
Don’t know what to say about your assessments of Bush, Cheney, Trump and Pence. I will say that I respect Obama’s treatment of his family. I respect his intelligence and character (as far as I know). I think he kept things comfortably fair-to-middling for eight years. I just disagree with him doctrinally over just about everything and think he did a lot of damage to the tenets and institutions that made our nation great. The economy rebounded in spite of him and his party. Now, doesn’t my assessment of Obama seem much more measured and realistic than yours does of the other guys? ;-).
pj Uber, Nope. Maybe you are just nicer than me. That is good. I would say the same thing about VP Pence as you said about Obama. We have his track record in Indiana. I know you will probably think less of me but I feel anyone who thinks “conversion therapy” is anything other than a form of torture of innocents is not someone I respect.
I thought I said nice things about President Bush II.
That said do you believe it is a sin to lie? Do you believe Trump is not an exceptionally prolific liar or just an average Joe? Do you believe that for someone who professes to honor God above all should stand up for or excuse a person who lies?
I have so much I could share with you about John’s blog but I don’t know how much you want to know. The “diva” is still seeing Joe behind every name and now she thinks anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary is evil and lists all the bad things they are guilty of – another list – and that they have sinned and need to repent. She repeats that continuously. It is entertaining in a stomach churning way.
Peace pj Uber
The only conversion that matters is one of the heart toward Christ and God. I don’t think less of you. I just take God at his word. I think it hurts him when people deviate from his design and nature.
I think Trump probably lies more than most, but we all lie because we’re sinners. Trump lies. Obama lies. Hillary lies and may rival Trump in her prolific falsehoods. I think it’s a matter of whether lying bothers a person’s conscience. I suspect the above have seared theirs enough that they barely feel remorse for it.
Pence is in an increasingly awkward and challenging position with his boss and political partner. Perhaps Trump is more likable and charming than we know. Maybe he’s like an embarrassing friend who has enough good traits that we make excuses for his bad ones. Neither of us know.
I noticed JP interacts with his commenters and followers now and that he moderates first-time commenters. Maybe his agent suggested he clean up the cuckoo’s nest. I know what you mean about the lister. What else is going on there?
Pj Uber May I say that I think it hurts God when someone has to pretend to be something they are not just to appease others. To me lies are forced upon them.
This stuff has nothing to do with your blog.
I have never been on any other blog besides John’s and now yours. In the beginning I was just like John’s core posters – telling people who disagreed to leave. Then I realized that wasn’t who I was – so I tried to engage with many. Even back 8 months ago the diva was constantly telling people to not talk to Joe. I kept talking to him and others until she finally said she was “sick of it”.
Just after you left, her and the 2 other members of her mean girl club told me I was naive, that I didn’t realize that everyone I talking to was laughing at me or using me. One said I made them look bad because I was being “nice”.
They started their own blog where you had to be personally invited so they could properly discuss John’s words in peace. I don’t know what happened to that blog but they have never stopped posting on John’s threads. One of them said she couldn’t take it anymore because John’s was letter so many speak their minds. She said she was leaving and wouldn’t be back. We will see.
Then the 3 of them went to John and said that Joe doxed the diva and she went to his Facebook page and she knew Joe was you and whoever’s Facebook page she was looking at because you all sounded alike – which you don’t. You were so famous she was still using your name after you left. I think she believed it when someone told her Joe was a Theo someone so you were him too. So they got him banned.
I emailed John and said some things about accepting someone’s words without proof. Joe emailed John and told him his real first name. I don’t know if anyone else spoke up.
Next thing Joe was unbanned and John was commenting. He does pick at Joe because he probably does not want him there, but he picks back at everyone he disagrees with. I do have to give him credit for keeping his word that his blog is a table where all are welcome. They are not exactly welcome but at least the diva is not constantly waiving her list and wanting him to ban everyone she thinks is Joe.
Lately someone who posts as Bill Carey has been posting a lot. He seems to be a good friend of John’s. He has a lot of degrees and says he has translated the Bible in its original language. I went on line to see if I could find any books he has written. There was a William Carey who translated the Bible and is quite famous but he died long ago. I do not know if this Mr. Carey is a descendent or uses than name because of the similarity of their work. He speaks like a teacher and comes across as very knowledgeable.
Anyway he says the Bible never said anything about homosexuality. I asked him if the first translations were purposely incorrect. He said back then it was decided that the church was the final word and that if the writings said something the church didn’t like they wouldn’t be allowed to say it. So, Catholics, Protestant and Lutherans, etc were only allowed to translate what the churches or King James would allow.
He said that printing the Bible is a business and no evangelical, or other church would purchase a Bible that went against their teachings. I find that fascinating.
I was a practicing Catholic for half my life. We were never taught to memorize the Bible. We learned the Sacraments, the 10 Commandments, prayers, to love God above all, to love others as we love ourselves, and to care for those in need.
Most of the time when I see what I call “dueling Bible passages” on the thread I have to stop reading because my eyes roll back into my head. It seems each side can find a passage to back up their argument. That probably sounds sacrilegious to you, but to me the Bible is a book and just like every book people see what they want.
Anyway Mr. Carey brought something new to the blog. Many many challenge him continuously. He is usually very measured in his responses. One good thing is the only people who have been banned since John is participating is a couple of creepers who say vile ugly things.
Peace pj Uber. Hope your day is great!!
You’re cracking me and my wife up with your description of the JP blog drama ;-). I’m glad you realized you really weren’t one of those blog Nazis who try to shut people down rather than engaging them civilly. If you hadn’t, we wouldn’t have become friends and you wouldn’t now being enjoying MY blog ;-). I always thought your voice there was one of the most reasonable and refreshing.
Speaking of self-realization: During my JP sabbatical, I realized how foolish it was of me to engage John (and others) with such a know-it-all, you’re-wrong-and I’m-right attitude when I first starting blogging and engaged him via FB and email. I must have really gotten under his skin because after a few short and slightly snarky replies, he went silent and actually proactively banned me from his Twitter page, which I’d never visited. I think John lets his passion get the best of him when someone disagrees and that he doesn’t realize how my-way-or-the-highway he can be. I have come to the conclusion that I have to watch out for that in myself.
Anyway, my new motto is that I don’t write anything in a comment or reply that I wouldn’t say face to face if I were enjoying coffee with the other person. I hope this is helping me to be more kind and respectful. Is it working? I actually commented on JP’s latest blog post on the “Privilege of Staying Out of Politics.” My comment was accepted for moderation along with my real name and email address, but it’s been a day and half and it hasn’t been posted. Maybe the mean girls got me permanently banned ;-). We’ll see.
Not sure why Bill Carey took the trouble to re-translate the Bible in its original Hebrew and Greek languages when it has been done and redone myriads of times over the centuries. I can do so any time I like with my Strong’s Concordance. Is it possible that he has an agenda to prove or? (If he’s a friend of JP’s, he’s probably a fellow emergent church guy. I’m fascinated by that movement and have been working on a post about it off and on for awhile.) I can attest to the fact that Paul addressed homosexuality in Greek more than once in his letters that became NT epistles. I know for sure that the OT addresses it in no uncertain terms. But this issue is a whole ‘nother can of worms.
I too grew up Catholic and was even an altar boy. I got nothing out of it except chances to play spin the bottle at youth retreats. My military dog tags say Catholic, but I only listed myself as such because I wasn’t a Christian and merely defaulted to my childhood religion. I became a Christian while in the Navy at 21 because I was searching for truth and found it in Jesus’ words recorded in John’s gospel.
Your eye-rolling of people who duel with scripture verses doesn’t seem sacrilegious to me. I think we need to consider and talk about Bible verses in context with the chapters they’re found in and each writer’s overall message. I have rarely had any issue understanding Bible truths that way, but don’t think social media is the best place to offer them in single verse form, if you understand me.
I’d be interested in engaging with Mr. Carey. Would be refreshing.
Peace be with you, Jo. (A little Catholic blast from our pasts ;-)).
Since John started checking everything it can take a couple of days before before anything shows up. He releases the posts in big batches. John usually only responds to those he disagrees with and it is snarky response. I haven’t had a lot of experience with pastors so he seems different than I would expect. I think Mr. Carey might be a mentor of John’s.
I will look forward to your post regarding the emergent church because I have no idea what that is. Your writing is very different than John’s. You can see lots of posts of back and forth with Mr. Carey if you go back a couple of weeks starting 7/21/17. The title is No, being gay is not a sin. Ha
Peace pj Uber
I love a good story. History is full of them. History is often found in first hand accounts. It is found in papers, in books, in tapes, and recordings. It can be found in markers, whether gravestones or statues, though for me less so in the latter. The removal of the statues being discussed does not alter history. The South still lost. The Generals and those honored by the statues were still in rebellion. Do you think the statues have a dual purpose? To honor the past but also to remind folks of why the fight was had. Do you think that is really something that should be honored? What about that black young man who goes by the statue of Lee, or Jackson, or whoever? What does that tell him? We are honoring someone who fought to allow blacks to continue to be owned (with a bit of states rights jargon thrown in).
My personal view is leave the statues BUT put historical context around them. Put a tableau of slave homes or the ships used to bring slaves to the country, or maybe the whipping posts or chains used to confine a slave.
I have a B.A. in History. It is important to me. Telling the full story is also vital. A statue of Lee without context doesn’t do anyone any good.
You are a good man. I truly believe that. We disagree on much politically. We do agree that the first amendment is foundational and vital. We agree that hate can not win. We agree that the Lord is in charge. We agree on much.
May you continue to use your voice as I will mine.
I’m not worried about the removal of statues altering history. I think failures of public and college education do that much more effectively. I don’t like the cultural effect that occurs when a small minority pushes for this without an accurate historical context and according to the whims of the current PC zeitgeist. Do you see how startlingly Orwellian all of this is?
I perceive the statues as memory aids of important figures in our nation’s history. I grew up in the South, served in the military and was stationed in the South, attended Navy schools near Memphis and lived in Virginia for five years. I have never sensed an honoring of the people the statues depict. Maybe skinheads and neo-Nazis feel this way, but as for me and everyone I remembering engaging with, we didn’t look at it this way.
I grant you that people may be uncomfortable with or even loathe these statues, but I think most of the furor is fanned by activists in politics, media and education. I would wager that if we took a poll, we’d find most young people of any color may have a fuzzy understanding of Robert E. Lee at best and merely think of him as an old dead white guy who was on the wrong side and whose legacy doesn’t effect them in the slightest.
Do you think it may be a bit simplistic to argue that, “We are honoring someone who fought to allow blacks to continue to be owned (with a bit of states rights jargon thrown in).”? I’m no historian but am a lover of history and this strikes me as incomplete.
I would be for voter referendums for each community where these statues stand. Put the decision for them to go or stay with the people. Democracy should prevail. If they vote to remove the statues, take them to museums, but don’t destroy and deface them. Like I wrote in the post, this is Nazi behavior.
I respect your history education appreciate that it’s important to you. I feel the same way. But I think the onus is on us to learn context. If someone is truly interested, they’ll seek context and won’t need a balanced presentation in statue form to realize it. But I’m not necessarily against the concept. It would have to make sense visually and ADD to and not clutter or diminish the existing installations.
Thank you for your kind words about my character. I’m refreshed by your willingness to converse and engage respectfully. It reflects the goodness of your character.