The most tragic thing about the events in Charlottesville is that it didn’t have to end the way it did.
This is not to say that counter-protesters somehow share the blame for a maniac driving a car into a crowd, killing one and injuring nearly two dozen others. He, and his fellow alt-right creeps, own that entirely.
They – too many of them large white males with small brains – are spewing the most twisted and toxic of ideologies. They are indeed haters – racist is just the beginning of it. If they had their way, we would live under fascism. They deserve condemnation, anger and even pity, given how sick they are.
What they don’t deserve is attention, other than from law enforcement.
As a few clear-headed liberals have said, the best way to have dealt with their demonstration would have been to ignore it – media included. Send enough police to oversee it and arrest anybody who got violent, but otherwise treat them like the far-out, fringe thugs that they are. Let them say whatever odious things they want to say to an otherwise empty park and go back to their basements.
They, like all those with a juvenile mindset, crave attention. They got far too much of it, and now their significance is being magnified far beyond the reality of their pitiful numbers.
They have a right to speak, but nobody has to listen.
Yes, President Trump should have condemned those groups, by name, immediately. He should not have diluted that message by pointing out that left-wing groups are violent as well.
They are, of course. That is a fact. The far-left group calling itself Antifa thinks it’s a good thing to beat and stab people who they claim are fascists. Left-wing rioters essentially set fire to Berkeley when a speaker they didn’t want to hear was invited to campus. They set Baltimore aflame. “Progressive” college kids attacked sociologist Charles Murray and his (liberal) professor escort at allegedly bucolic Middlebury College in Vermont, rather than debate him.
Several Republican congressmen were shot and wounded just a couple of months ago, some of them gravely, by a “progressive” Bernie Sanders supporter.
Still, the day after a “protester” killed and injured people was not the time to recite what those on “many sides” have done. The president should seek to heal divisions, not inflame them.
It has been a very significant week for dogs. I’m hearing constantly that pretty much everything Trump says is a “dog whistle” for his alt-right supporters. Which is almost funny, since the phrase supposedly means that only the “dogs” (his supporters) can understand it. But it seems his liberal detractors hear it best of all, since they’re so busy “translating” for the rest of us.
It’s gotten to the point where, when Trump called the driver of the car that hit the counter-protesters “a disgrace to himself, his family and this country,” and added, “what he did was a horrible, horrible inexcusable thing,” the “dog-whistle” translation was, “Yeah, he shouldn’t have done it, but it’s really their fault for provoking him.”
The left plays the dog whistle game as well. Recall, when Trump shocked the nation by winning the presidency, we heard constantly about how he had been put over the top by “white, non-college” voters.
Not too hard to translate that as “fat, dumb, racist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, redneck yahoos.”
Ironically, if you need any more proof of liberals selectively sanctioning violence, threats and hate speech, come on down to the cradle of liberty, Boston, where four Teamsters were just acquitted of extortion charges in connection with their “protests” against the TV show “Top Chef” for not hiring union labor.
They slashed tires. They uttered racist, sexist and homophobic slurs. One of them threatened to ”smash” the “pretty face” of the show’s host. They made other death threats and bomb threats.
During the trial, their attorneys never denied those accusations but argued that their behavior and threats were all protected under the First Amendment and the right to protest.
And a jury found in their favor.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spent a good part of the week telling a conservative group hoping to hold a free speech rally in the city that he would do “everything in our power” to stop it. “Boston does not want you here, Boston rejects your message,” he said to assembled media.
But there was nothing in all of his media preening about the hateful, violent acts of the Teamsters. Apparently he doesn’t reject that message.
Noted civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate also praised the acquittal, saying free speech needs protection even when “it’s loud and messy.”
Which is true. It does. But this case wasn’t brought because the Teamsters were loud and messy. It was brought because they threatened violence and committed vandalism. They are common thugs, just like those in Charlottesville.
So the real message – and it isn’t even a dog whistle – to the creeps who call themselves white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the alt-right is to come on down to Boston and join the Teamsters. You can utter all the hate speech you want, threaten to hurt or kill people and damage their property, and nobody – not even the mayor – will call you out for it as long as you wear the union label and it’s supposedly about jobs for “working people.”
Not all that long ago, people were chanting that “love trumps hate.” That has been turned upside down.
But, as we are seeing, confronting hate with hate just breeds more of it. If it keeps going this way, it will not end well, no matter who is the president.
Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at email@example.com