The actions and violent presence of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other White Supremacists in Charlottesville are beyond horrific – they are shocking. They would have been shocking 70 years ago; but I cannot stop thinking about the (extremely mild) consolation that existed 70 years ago, which is that at least they needed to wear masks to avoid public shame and identification. But in today’s America, even when facial recognition technology is nearly perfected, you can be the most filthy breed of human being imaginable, and you can do so with your head held high and your face unmasked.
If you can handle it (I honestly couldn’t make it all the way through), watch Vice’s coverage of Saturday’s rally. Ask yourself when the last time you saw anything of this nature and magnitude happen in America.
Now ask yourself: what has changed in the past year that would suddenly embolden these monsters to march proudly in the open with torches, swastikas, and confederate flags, while chanting gleefully about the murder of black people and Jews?
Could it possibly be our new president, who, in the wake of the attacks, equated these Nazis and Klansmen with the activists who stood against them – activists who included the brave and noble martyr Heather Heyer, who literally died fighting Nazis in America in the year 2017??
Should the friends or family of Ms. Heyer ever come across this post, please accept my most devastated and heartfelt condolences on the murder of your daughter at the hands of a domestic terrorist. I have spent much of the last day researching Heather’s life and legacy, and I am humbled and inspired by her choices, her character, her example, and her sacrifice. I promise to do everything in my power to carry on her fight and her legacy – and there are millions of Americans who promise the very same.
But one American is tragically absent from that number: and that is our president. Trump has now doubled down on his initial response to this violence, when he clearly equated the motives and actions of White Supremacists to those who stood up against them. He claims that there are “many sides” to this violence, and that it’s not up to him to call the man who drove a car into innocent protestors – you know, that thing that ISIS does – a terrorist, because such things are just “legal semantics.” I’m sure if it had been a Muslim or an African American who plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful protestors (instead of a Nazi), Trump would also be talking about the “many sides” of this issue (HEAVY sarcasm).
Can someone explain to me why terrorism isn’t equally horrible no matter who performs it? Can you explain why a white supremacist is a disenfranchised American, while a black terrorist is a gang thug and a Muslim terrorist is a radical extremist? And for that matter, why a white man who shoots up a school is the only one who gets the label of “mentally ill,” and the 30,000+ gun deaths PER YEAR don’t count nearly as much as the much smaller number of people who die in terrorist attacks? Aren’t these all at least equally horrible? Aren’t innocent people being killed either way?
And aren’t the REPUBLICANS the ones who are OBSESSED with “calling things what they really are”?
Saturday’s disgusting and cowardly attack was terrorism. Period. Every example I just gave is terrorism. So, Mr. “President” – how about you call it what it really is?
I did not think I could feel more disgusted with our president; but I think that every week, and every week I am proven wrong. To the Republicans who called Trump out on this issue, like Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Marco Rubio, you have my deep honor and respect. To the Republicans who refused to mention him by name but still condemned this act as terrorism and insisted that there can be no moral equivalency in this situation, you also have my respect, but you will have to live with yourselves knowing that you could have done, and can still do, more. And for all who stayed silent: you have lost the right to ever talk about moral courage ever again.
There are so few issues we can all unite behind: I always thought that fighting Nazis and the KKK was one of them. But now it is a gray area with “many sides.” So Republicans, if you want to take your country back – you can start by taking your own party back. Or else you can march and vote alongside Nazis. You cannot do both.