It’s one thing for the violent modern socio-political debate subculture to hit in Berkley-California or somewhere else along the fruited plain. Today, it is literally hitting close to home for me…about two hours north of me in Charlottesville-Virginia. A town that I’ve always associated with bad college football, terrible traffic and fantastic restaurants became Ground Zero in the culture wars as White Nationalists squared off against counter-protestors.
It began last night when the Fightin’ Whities marched menacingly with their Citronella Tiki Torches (see picture) near the Rotunda. While the ghost of Thomas Jefferson was laughing his dead ass off, counter-protestors emerged. There was some pushing and shoving but nothing too bad. By the way, if you think the phrase “White Nationalists” should produce images of big scary people that intimidate you, this picture should make you sleep better. This group couldn’t successfully break up a church picnic.
Today’s activity got a little more heated with more Hitler Youth showing up to march on Lee Park in Charlottesville—while more counter-protestors apparently joined in the party. It turned ugly after most of the Goebbels Gaggle left. Evidently one motorist plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors. It was ugly and I expect subsequent reports on casualties will be horrible.
Beyond Charlottesville, the two tribes that make up our modern political discourse are taking their expected routes. The left is trying their damndest to tie the Tiki Boys in with the mainstream of the Republican Party, while the right is pulling a muscle denouncing them. Some on the right are taking the additional step of suggesting that a decade of being called “Nazis” is bound to produce a group like this. Um—that’s a poor argument. If someone repeatedly calls you a cannibal that does NOT excuse you if you eventually acquire a taste for human flesh.
As is usually the case the most majority of the participants on both sides of this weekend’s fun could not have found Charlottesville on a map two weeks ago. In the age of instant outrage and flash mobs, if fear such things are unavoidable.
What we are seeing is the inevitable fallout when political movements get hijacked. The apparent impetus for this latest episode is a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that has become the subject of debate in Charlottesville. I have said repeatedly that I am NO fan of localities removing historic monuments…I think it is (largely) a cowardly reaction to stimulus. But those decisions should be made by those localities. In far too many cases, those supporting historic preservation and wanting to honor Civil War History have been hijacked by groups with a very dark agenda. We saw this with the TEA Party movement which began primary as a tax revolt by older, conservative people. It soon morphed into an all-encompassing hodgepodge that was barely recognizable from it’s origins.
That hijacking is not limited to one side. I am sure there were MANY well-meaning and honorable liberals who served as counter-protestors today—but the evidence suggests that their efforts were also hijacked by the leftist counterparts to White Nationals—the Communist/BLM/Antifa fringe.
On the up side, it seems that very few on the right are even trying to explain away the Beta Boy March in Charlottesville. There’s been pretty much universal condemnation from all corners of the spectrum. Another good thing that has come out of this is it shows how laughably fringe the Klan/Nazi/White Supremacist movement has become in the US.
Once upon a time, that unholy alliance had tens of thousands of members, along with de facto control of many political offices and high positions of authority. They were able to rally larger numbers of people to their cause and create a significant amount of violence and even death.
Now, their numbers are in the hundreds…and the march with citronella torches instead of ropes. And they are forced to rely on protection provided by the very people they despise.
If we keep laughing at them, they will soon join dinosaurs, 10-cent cigars and quarterbacks who stay in the pocket in annals of forgotten history.
We ARE getting better, folks. Believe me. This image below, with all of it’s obvious ugliness, gives me hope. The officer is protecting people who hate his guts. And he is a greater man than they can ever HOPE to be.