One of the more pernicious bits of conservative spin in the post-Charlottesville debate is that there there is some kind of equivalency between the Nazis and other white supremacists who keep emerging from dark corners of the republic and the handful of anti-racist and anti-fascist protesters who have risen in some instances to confront them. North Carolina state senator Dan Bishop even went so far this week as to attempt to equate the violent white supremacy movement with the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
This is, in a word, hogwash.
The notion that there is any meaningful similarity between armed, hate-spewing marchers who shout “Heil Trump!”, drive automobiles into crowds and position themselves menacingly outside synagogues with assault weapons on the one hand, and passionate unarmed counter-protesters (or even, for that matter, those who commit civil disobedience or wrongful acts of vandalism against inanimate statues and monuments) on the other, is utterly without merit. And as for the Black Lives Matter movement, click here to read the hope-inspiring and life and dignity-affirming guiding principles. Would that Mr. Bishop would do so.
To be sure, there are a handful of anti-white supremacists in the country who have voiced support for the use of violence against the racist Right and they are wrong to do so. As King and Gandhi taught us so well in the last century, non-violence is the only way forward.
That said, it is utter folly to claim that these two sides are on par with each other or somehow equally threatening to domestic tranquility. If you have any doubts about this, just try to imagine what would happen if a group of assault weapon toting men of color wearing battle fatigues stationed themselves menacingly outside of, say, a ultra-conservative white church.
Simply put, this ain’t gonna’ happen and would never be allowed to happen in this country. Never, that is, unless the gun wielding men in fatigues were anti-Semitic white supremacists and the place of worship they were threatening was Charlottesville’s Congregation Beth Israel, as did happen this past Saturday.
The bottom line: Violent hatred and racism have been unloosed in the nation right now and there is one blundering boob of a man who is chiefly responsible for it. What’s more, it is his allies and supporters who are now driving this train and it is not at all clear that he, having spurred on the mob, has the inclination or capacity to rein it back in. Any notion that this crisis is in any way the work of or attributable to the “radical left” is complete nonsense.