Allen West Doesn’t Understand Charlottesville
Let me first say that I’m thankful to Allen West for his service to our country both militarily and legislatively. I also think though that he may have missed the point of what Charlottesville was about and his reaction seems a little bit unwarranted and misguided. Here is the link to his blog: https://www.allenbwest.com/2017/08/13/ok-folks-heres-really-happened-charlottesville-everyone-missing/ This should be a time of coming together as a nation, not finger pointing across the aisle. As such, I want to take you through his argument and explain the logical fallacies that undermine it. I am doing this because I believe that his rhetoric will lead to more division in a time when we need more healing and love.
As an example of his illogicality, in the second paragraph he states, “I deplore any form of supremacist view.” Wonderful, I completely agree. However, his second sentence states, “I will be the first to openly state and embrace, a sense of American exceptionalism and supremacy…” So now I’m confused, does he deplore himself? Or is he saying that American exceptionalism and supremacy are an OK exception for a supremacist view?
Next he goes on to assert that this started because of the want to erase American history. No history was being erased, Charlottesville just didn’t want to celebrate a hero of an army that represents oppression. It would be like if I kept a large 11x15' photo of my X-girlfriend right above my bed post and said to my wife every night, “Those were the good old days.” The picture itself would not oppress my wife, but rather what it represents would be detrimental to our marriage. If we want to truly remember that era in order to learn from History, then in the words of Indian Jones, “It belongs in a Museum!”
He then goes on to compare an Obama picture with an image of Che Guevara to the statue of Robert E. Lee. Whether or not you like Obama is besides the point here, because the comparison does not stand up logically. First of all, there is no statue of Che in America that you would have to walk past day after day after day. Secondly, how has Che oppressed you or your family or represents centuries of oppression to an entire people group that you identify with? Third, the reasoning behind the removal was not that people literally felt oppressed by it, but rather that it represents and glorifies a time period of oppression.
I find it tough to read his next paragraph where he blames counter protesters for all the violence. Notice that he lumps all of them together. So was Heather Heyer also guilty of hateful rhetoric and violence? With that logic did she deserve what she got? Whether the counter-protesters got a permit or not is not the point. He is making them out to be villains instead of marchers standing up to hateful and intolerant rhetoric and bigotry. Then he goes on to talk about their motivations, again, making them out to be the perpetrators. If he wants to talk about motivations and being “political”, maybe he should look at the alt-right and KKK first. Do you really think they were there just to protest the removal of a statue?
Then he questions why people blame Donald Trump. Was he directly involved in this, no. Indirectly though, absolutely. David Duke himself said that he will “Fulfill” Trump’s promises (http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/346326-david-duke-charlottesville-protests-about-fulfilling-promises). Trump’s rhetoric throughout his campaign implored violence and white exceptionalism attitudes. To then make an analogy of this event to Ferguson is just moronic. Ferguson erupted because oppressed minorities felt they had no other option. Charlottesville was started by people who openly want to oppress others. In both cases violence and destruction should not be condoned, but the argument is comparing apples to oranges.
Of course there is then the random tangent into Islamic terrorists and likening them to Berkeley or anyone calling for a “resistance.” I honestly got really confused with his train of thought here. It sounds like he was mad at some stereotyping of some groups but then calls for it in others. Then he goes on to blame all Democrats for the founding of the KKK (Just so you’re aware the Southern Democrats of the 19th Century and into the 20th are much more aligned with Republican principals today then back then).
From here on out he continues to rant on tangent after tangent that has nothing to do with Charlottesville. I could go on and correct every statement that he makes, and if you’d like me to I happily will, but I’m assuming at this point that you realize that he has completely abandoned his original claim and is lost in a sea of his own thoughts and Fox News talking points (he is a contributor). I guess that my point in taking this long to respond to this article is to show how we must take care on what we post and who we believe. We need to learn how to think logically both to form our own cohesive arguments as well as to take apart others.
What disturbs me most about this piece is how quickly he himself turned the tragedy of Charlottesville into partisan finger pointing instead of using this time to reflect on our own personal contributions to this rise of hate in America and what we can do to stop it. Allen’s own rhetoric offers no solutions, so I will offer one instead: Stand up to hate wherever you see it, call it out for what it is, and come along side people in love. Maybe then we will actually, “Make America Great Again.”