If you don’t see a profound and crucial qualitative difference between neo-Nazis and people who protest against neo-Nazis, this is where no conversation is possible because something is very badly not OK with you.
Oh Clarissa, you just need some clarity, like cliff fucking arroyo said.
The real issue is that too many people “have to” be part of some partisan faction, demographic group or organization, or loyal to their ancestral background instead of just being their own individual self and developing and nurturing their own personal life and just tending to their own private affairs.
If we were a nation (or world) of private citizens these types of conflicts would be rare and few-and-far-between.
It doesn’t get much worse than Nazis. Can’t think of anything good to say about them. I Believe there is usually some good, some redeeming value, it even the worst of us. Nazis are the exception.
So, clearly no equivalence between the Nazis and the groups and individuals who came to oppose the Nazis. However, violent actions and behaviors of the Nazis, white supremacists and Klansmen in Charlottesville were roughly equivalent to Violent actions and behavior of the people who opposed them, at least in some cases. When people commit acts of violence, fighting and hitting each other with sticks and so on, those acts of violence may be quite similar. Obviously the terrorist attack by one man using a car is the one incident that stands out as the most terrible act of the weekend.
I don’t know exactly who all the people who showed up to oppose the Nazis are. But I am suspicious about the motives and affiliations of many of those people, while hastening to add that they clearly are not as bad as Nazis.
I think it is fair to acknowledge that many of those who came to oppose the Nazis came prepared for a fight. I suspect that many of those opposing the Nazis are motivated by questionable values. At least some of those people are anarchists and other extremists who wish to sew chaos. Some aim to bring down or overthrow American government and society. Some are extremists who oppose capitalism, democracy, freedom of speech, and/or other American values. It would be naïve to believe that all the opponents are simply garden-variety American liberals with nothing but pure intentions.
If there was a Nazi march in the US and nobody came out to protest against Nazism, I personally would be devastated. My grandfather fought against Nazism in WWII. My father is Jewish. Even psychoanalysts don’t work with people like me without discussing the Holocaust and WWII. This is a foundational part of my psychological makeup. I’m terrified of any form of racism on a visceral level. And so just knowing that there was somebody to stand up to these Nazis is very big for me. Maybe it’s bigger than anything else at all. I’m sure they have a million and one faults, as do I, as does anybody. But standing up to Nazism is crucial. Once we establish this and everybody agrees, then of course, we can go to business as usual and call out all sorts of idiocy and bigotry among our own.
I thought we all agreed. But then yesterday changed everything. We saw horrible things at that Trump presser. It turned out, to my great shock, that it’s possible for a sitting president of the US in 2017 to say this kind of shit and receive congratulations from the KKK. This means we can’t go back to business as usual. We have to make sure that this is not OK any longer. That no matter what this creep believes, he is afraid of saying it in public. That’s the least of what needs to happen.
I understand. Under present circumstances, I agree that ignoring Nazis, white supremacists and their ilk is not possible. I agree, someone must stand up against these people. The question is, what is the best, most justifiable, and most effective way to stand up?
If the liberal opposition had come in a spirit of nonviolent resistance, as advocated by Martin Luther King and Gandhi, they would have held the high ground. Those who came with the intention of violent opposition were wrong. Essentially, they were playing the role of vigilantes, taking the law into their own hands. In my opinion, the civil leaders and police department of Charlottesville are the legitimate authorities to stand up against hatred. I believe the police department and civil authorities would have been able to stand up more effectively without the interference of the vigilantes. It should have been the city of Charlottesville, represented by their Police Department, against the Nazis and other right wing extremists. Instead, the situation became leftist extremists violently battling right wing extremists, and the police department suddenly thrust into the unenviable role of trying to break up the fight.
In today’s America, many extremists on both left and right seem to be spoiling for a violent confrontation. Too many people in between the extremes now appear to believe that Armed violence is justified under the present conditions. Be very afraid. That way leads to civil war.
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