As predictable as the violence in Charlottesville was this past weekend, it’s a sad spectacle and embarrassment to this country. Let me say up front, “Mr. President you dropped the ball by not immediately condemning these Neo-Nazi trash.” Just because it’s inevitable in this modern climate doesn’t mean you don’t call it out by name once it’s confirmed.
By Pat Merriman
Having said that, we also have to confront the reality of what has spread and festered since the summer of 2014. Domestic terrorism masked as First Amendment speech: Ferguson, Dallas, New York, Berkeley (4 different times), Baltimore, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Anaheim, Chicago, St. Paul, Milwaukee, Charlotte, DAPL, Washington, D.C., Anaheim, Olympia, Minneapolis, Portland, and Charlottesville.
President Trump started the correct dialogue by calling radical Islam by its true name. But, that has to apply across the board with ALL extremists. Shillman Journalism Fellow Daniel Greenfield nails it, “Racism is a two-way street. So is violence. Extremists feed into each other…Either all racism is bad. Or all racism is acceptable. Charlottesville is what happens when you normalize racism and street violence. Every normalization of extremism equally normalizes the extremism of the opposite side.”
Washington Post reporter David Weigel agrees, “The growth of ‘antifa’, a loose and often ad hoc network of left-wing ‘antifascist’ groups, has been covered as a rising danger to law and order, a justification for alt-right organizations to organize armed rallies — and for ordinary Americans to arm themselves, too.” So, lest we forget, both sides came to Charlottesville armed and ready to go.
And, it looks like, it’s only going to get worse! The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre commented after a “demonstration” this year, “Right now, we face a gathering of forces that are willing to use violence against us.” “Anarchists, Marxists, communists and the whole rest of the left-wing Socialist brigade.” And, now the alt-right neo-nazis too. It’s all the same wolf pack!
Folks, it’s got to stop! We watch these guys bashing each other in the streets and acknowledge, as so aptly stated, “Sometimes we all do things that just don’t make no sense. Stupid is as stupid does.” It’s like I warn in karate, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and…it hurts”.
Fueled by the ill-informed social media-ists, the violent left and right steal the conversation by resorting to violence. And, remember—virtually all these people in Charlotte were from someplace else. Some will (inevitably) be those professionals who make a living starting riots. Another disturbing trend where small, bucolic communities with no skin in this foolish game are victimized by people like George Soros’ funded anarchy.
It takes two sides to have a fight! And, in a civil society, consensus to agree to disagree non-violently is the glue that holds us together. Our Bill of Rights is exactly that “uncomfortable compromise.” Greenfield comments, “’Racism is bad’ is an example of such a consensus.” No matter who is fueling the hate. But, when you normalize ANY race-baiting, you automatically fuel the opposing viewpoint. And, the inevitable result, in today’s new “normal” is violence. Like a 3-year-old having a temper tantrum.
“Street violence raises the bar so that only the violent will participate in protests…Extremism limits political discourse to extremists.” It polarizes the country and puts those of us who don’t share either viewpoint in the cross-fire. So, sitting in front of the TV and shaking our collective heads over this nonsense, or, accepting it as the new “normal” is unacceptable.
“When you spend enough time crying wolf, eventually a real wolf appears. A real wolf showed up in Charlottesville.” It’s time for it to stop.