Morning Thoughts, August 15, 2017.
As predicted it gets more alarming week by week.
I want to expand on a few points, mainly regarding what happened over the weekend in Virginia. It’s important while processing all this to understand that America was never a great country with some flaws, we have from the beginning always been a deeply flawed country that has done some great things. A couple of those great things happen to be helping to soundly defeat nazis, and before that confederate traitors, so it is really nonsensical and surreal to now see a bunch of nazis and confederate sympathizers in MAGA hats.
1: Regarding the slow condemnation of the Charlottesville attack by the president, first placing blame on “many sides” before eventually making a slightly stronger statement. Politicians are notorious for saying one thing and showing something else, however this case is especially egregious for multiple reasons. One is simply that anyone placed by the people into a position of leadership should be able to unequivocally condemn bigotry. Not only is it the right thing to do, it also should be a political slam dunk to say you are against nazis. Second is that in the past trump has not been slow to place blame and condemn terror attacks conducted by non-white groups. Third and perhaps most importantly is that no matter how strong of a statement the white house produces, when the press conference is over the president is still going back to being advised by an inner circle of administration officials and high level policy advisors that contains at minimum three members who openly support the white supremacist rhetoric, more if you count those in all the different branches of govt and less visible figures. This leads to any and every statement on these topics being incredibly hollow and meaningless, even past the usual, because the staffing and policy positions of this administration go directly against their condemnations.
2: This idea that the vehicular terror attack resulting in the injuries of many and the death of a peaceful protestor is somehow fringe. First weaponized vehicles are a longstanding terror tactic, but more importantly no less than six states with republican controlled legislatures have shamefully introduced bills to protect drivers who run over protestors. These bills were introduced in light of the renewed public awareness of the right to peacefully protest, thanks largely to non-white lead movements like black lives matter and standing rock. They came as many more states introduced some form of anti-protest bill in the hope of controlling these reemergent civil-rights movements, but the fact that public representatives of the government specifically used language that would protect drivers doing exactly what this attacker did is no coincidence.
3: I have seen many posts saying something on the themes of, don’t attack nazis then you are as bad as they are, talk, understand, show love, etc. And there are people and groups like Life After Hate out there working to do exactly that. (Incidentally the trump administration recently pulled government funding from that group and others explicitly fighting white supremacy and far right extremism.)
While I agree that non violence and education are the best options, I also want to remind everyone that there is absolutely no compromising with nazis, communication and discussion are good sure, but do not cede an inch. The nazi ideology hasn’t changed in the last century, and the last time anyone gave them the time of day it led to massive genocide, a world war, and then when that was done convictions for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their ideology revolves around some people being less than others. Claiming superiority and wanting your neighbor to be dead is not something that can be compromised with and should never be allowed into the discourse as a “side of an argument.” If they are not going to accept equality and unity they should absolutely be made afraid to show themselves because their positions are entirely and indefensibly wrong, and do not mesh with the fabric of a free and just society.