Charlottesville: latest battle in the culture wars
The top picture is from a torchlight procession held on Friday night, the night before a "Unite the Right" rally scheduled – and legally permitted – for Charlottesville, Virginia, yesterday: Saturday, August 12, 2017. The second is of "protests" in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2015, following accusations that police officers had mistreated an African-American suspect, resulting in his death while in custody; the officers so accused were either acquitted by the mostly-black juries, or the charges were dropped. The contrast, I think, speaks volumes.
The legally-permitted "Unite the Right" rally scheduled for yesterday – Saturday, August 12th, 2017 – to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee by the City Council (part of the ongoing purge of Southern and Confederate iconography, and in fact much other historic iconography as well), and in the process to serve as a rallying cry for conservatives and others on the rightward side of the social and political spectrum to come together against the mass of cultural Marxists and social-justice warriors arrayed against anything and everything conservative, traditional, or classic in our present-day culture, didn't take long to go awry.
What was intended to be a peaceful rally turned violent when radical Left-wing groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter showed up and began showering the rally attendees with expletives, punches, pepper spray, and water balloons filled with urine, feces, paint, and other noxious substances. Unsurprisingly, some of those so attacked fought back. But did the local and national news media broadcast stories about a peaceful, permitted rally being attacked by extremists? Nope. Instead, all the news media could do was accuse those present at the rally of being right-wing racists, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.
To which my response is:
First, what the heck is a “White supremacist,” anyway? In actual fact, not just Leftist rhetoric, that is. I've talked to or otherwise interacted with a fair number of folks who would probably fit that description (as leveled by members of the Left, anyway), and I can honestly say that I haven't come across even a scant handful that want to dominate or rule over members of other races – the only definition of “supremacist” that makes sense to me. They mostly just want to be left alone.
Sure, there are those who prefer the company of, give personal preference to, and value the accomplishments of people of their own race more highly than those of other races. But so do the vast majority of people on the planet, whether they're African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Muslim, or whatever the case may be. Why is that nearly universal human tendency uniquely blameworthy when it is practiced by those of European ancestry?
And yes, some would like to have a homeland – say, Europe itself, for instance (!!!), or, in some cases, some portion of the U.S. (the latter of which is, admittedly, historically as well as practically problematic) – which is exclusive to people of European heritage. But again, why is this such a vile concept? No one complains when other peoples of the world want their own homeland. Nobody says Africa is too black! In fact, when Europeans did try to establish a presence on that continent, it met with a huge backlash, and “anti-colonialism” is an excuse for a lot of anti-European sentiment to this very day. And very few people say Asia is too Asian, or the Middle East is too Middle Eastern. Again, why is “too White / European” uniquely a problem?
Secondly, whether you like what they were saying or not, the “Unite the Right” rally was there legally; they had a permit for their rally, and they were conducting themselves peacefully. Unlike many Left-wing “protests,” no glass was broken, no stores looted, no police cars attacked, etc. Rather, according to people who were there, it was extremists from Antifa, BLM, and like organizations who attacked the rally attendees – as mentioned above – with fists, pepper spray, and water balloons filled with urine and other noxious substances. Yes, some rally attendees then fought back. Hard to blame them, honestly! I'm sure I would have, had I been there.
And then, after the Unite the Right folks had had their permit pulled and dispersed to avoid being charged with unlawful assembly, who was left holding the field? Antifa and BLM. In groups. Assembled. With no permits whatsoever (*). Where are the unlawful assembly arrests and charges leveled against them? Not seeing many, if any.
(* Now I'm seeing some reports saying they – or some of them – may have had a permit after all. If so, a) what kind of lunatic gives radically opposed groups protest permits for the same general area on the same day? And b) they were, nonetheless, still the ones that started the violence.)
So where are the reports saying, “BLM and Antifa extremists violently attack and disrupt a peaceful, legal rally?” That's not how it's being presented, at all, and while I can understand – although not justify or legitimate – that kind of attitude on the part of the “mainstream” (Left-wing) media, it's harder to understand or justify the same attitude on the part of folks on the conservative and even Confederate side of the spectrum, who should know how the media can twist the reality of a situation.
Instead, we see a lot of what I can only see as victim-blaming. “Oh, they shouldn't have done this. Oh, they shouldn't have done that!” They shouldn't have had a torch-light parade, it looks soooo Nazi. They shouldn't have had David Duke speak, he's too close to the KKK. And so it goes. The problem is, Leftist activists and their allies in the media don't care who does what, or doesn't do what. They have their narrative, they have their agenda, and they're going to get it out there, period. Let's be clear: THEY HATE US. All of us. Whether we're “heritage defenders” or “White supremacists,” whether we're David Duke or Andrew "Black Rebel" Duncombe, they hate ALL of us. They don't like Arlene Barnum any more than they like Lauren Southern.
Free speech is only free when it also applies to unpopular speech. Southern / Confederate heritage supporters ought to know that better than most! Again, you may not agree with all of what was being said at the Unite the Right rally. But they had the right to be there. The legal, permitted right. And they were suppressed and dispersed by violence, and by governmental authority colluding with violence.
I don't know about y'all, but I have a problem with that.
N.B.: One person was killed and around 20 injured yesterday, when someone crashed his car into a large group of protesters. However, the identity and motive of the individual in question is still unclear, so I will refrain from speculation or comment until we have more information on the subject. Two State Police officers were also killed when their helicopter crashed in a wooded area near the rally site. No evidence of foul play thus far.