Last night in Charlottesville, Va., a mob of white supremacists, mostly young men, marched to protest the removal of a statue glorifying the Confederacy on the eve of a rally to celebrate white power and their fear of losing it.
Marchers surrounded a church where people were praying for unity, chanting “We will not be replaced,” “White lives matter,” Jews will not replace us,” and other slogans, as they marched.
The issue is that the city voted to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, which protesters say offends their delicate white sensibilities. The statue is still in the park, pending a court ruling on whether the city can remove it.
I understand that some white people are afraid of the future because they don’t consider people of color to be their equals and they don’t want to cede their white privilege to them.
Life was easier for them when the color of their skin gave them a pass they didn’t necessarily deserve. Now they have to deal with removal of the symbols of their former unquestioned power and it scares the hell out of them.
Change is never easy, especially when you believe you’re being suppressed simply because you no longer have the power to keep others down.
Their fear is real, but it is misguided. You don’t have to give up your rights to allow others to have theirs.
Perhaps they fear that minorities are becoming the majority and if they behave toward white people they way they themselves were treated, there will be trouble.
When you hold power and misuse it, I suppose you should fear what happens when you lose power.
But here’s the thing: Those people in the streets last night, carrying cheap Home Depot citronella torches and Nazi and KKK banners, chanting racist slogans and threatening the people inside that church — I have friends who were in that church, and they were scared — did so with the help of police, who didn’t disperse them immediately.
I have seen reports of just one arrest, and a friend who is there now warns us to stay home because both sides have provocateurs and both have weapons. It is not safe there.
What happened last night — and continues today — is a page right out of 1930s Germany, and the Republicans (and most of the Democrats) in Washington have yet to roundly condemn it.
Where the hell is the outrage?
Yes, all my progressive friends have called this out.
But those in power — the people with real power — have done little.
Had those protesters been carrying a Black Power banner, immigrants’s rights pickets or a Quran, the National Guard would have been mobilized and we would be cleaning the blood of the protesters off the streets of Charlottesville this morning.
I know this is true because I live close enough to Charlotte, NC, to have been there the day after police shot an unarmed black man, and the Guard was mobilized within hours to combat people who were protesting the death of an innocent man, not just the removal of a symbol of white power (the kind of power, by they way that allows for police to get away with gunning down unarmed black man after unarmed black man after unarmed black man).
Can you see the racism yet?
Too many white people go on about their business after these murders, relieved that it isn’t their sons being shot in cold blood because a cop says he smelled pot and feared for his life. And to rationalize their complacence, they vilify the dead black man. He was selling illegal cigarettes. He smelled of pot. He might have stolen a couple of cheap cigars. He was jaywalking.
What these people don’t see, sometimes even after it is pointed out to them, is that jaywalking is not a crime punishable by death, and not just that, but without so much as a single day in court.
The white mob in Charlottesville last night was a terrorist mob. If Muslims had done that, we certainly would call them terrorists. But when white people do it, they’re just voicing their discontent.
Violence erupted when the white marchers encountered counter-protesters, one of whom apparently sprayed the demonstrators with mace, and fights broke out. I don’t condone that. If we are to rise about the hate of the alt-right, we must not be violent. Violence is what we are protesting. If we commit it ourselves, we become that which we oppose.
But there were no reports of arrests.
Imagine no arrests if the protesters had been black.
Wouldn’t have happened.
Imagine the outrage if the protesters had been anything other than white. Can’t you just hear Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell calling for stern reactions and punishment to the greatest extent the law allows? Can’t you just imagine the Twitter storm emanating from the White House?
But the White House embraces the fascist movement. Staff members working for the Occupant are more than a little sympathetic.
Overt racism has been rude and inappropriate for the last several decades, but it is enjoying a return to power under this administration, which emboldens racists. They know they can get away with their hate when the people in power share their views.
Frankly, I think the divisions in the Democratic Party are promoted by these people so we can’t interfere with their rise to power, nor their hold on it.
We must work together to defeat this. We can not bicker over whose fault it is that this administration even exists.
We have to work as one. We have to rid ourselves of this hate.
This can not abide.