It was a scene of horror on Saturday in Charlottesville, VA as factions from pretty much every active hate group in America came to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. You could say they had the right to protest peacefully, but they came armed and ready for a fight. They wanted a fight and they got one. I’m also willing to bet someone from their side threw the first punch.
Normally in a situation like this, the headline is about how these hate groups were greeted with opposition by counter-protestors. If this had happened back in the ’60’s or ’70’s that’s how it would be, but it’s today and our Cheeto in chief decided to shift the conversation so that he wouldn’t offend his precious Alt-Right base. He has made it clear he believes that both sides are to blame for the violence and I guess on some level he would be right. If you just looked at it as two groups of people who fought, then yes. Both are to blame, however, when you add in those pesky details, things aren’t so black and white. It was a group made up of the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and Alt-Right white nationalists chanting against pretty much everyone of any different race and religion, carrying torches and wielding weapons. One of them even plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protestors and (allegedly) killed one of them, for which he is now on trial. These protestors did not come to join peacefully. They came with the intent to fight.
These protestors did not come to join peacefully. They came with the intent to fight. The counter-protestors were there to make their voices heard and showed no desire for violence. When the fighting broke out, it was not started equally. One side attacked the other and after that, it was an act of self-defense. One reason it got so out of hand, by what I have researched, the police on the scene didn’t seem interested in stopping what was happening.
Now the dust has settled and instead of picking up the pieces and healing, we’re having this ridiculous conversation about blame and who is at fault, like children. The fact is hate groups attacked people and it doesn’t really matter if the other side fought back. In an abusive marriage, when one spouse beats on the other for so long and then one day the abused wife or husband finally pulls out that gun and blows their spouse away, do we consider the abused party as much to blame? No. They did what they had to in order to survive. In WWII, the Allied forces fought the Axis powers. We were fighting to stop Nazis and Fascists from taking over the world and killing millions of innocent people. Do you blame the Allied countries, including the US, for the war? Do we share equal responsibility for the fight? No. If the Nazi party hadn’t been doing what they were doing, there wouldn’t have been a war in the first place. If those protestors hadn’t attacked the counter protestors, there would have been no fight. It may sound childish, but the one who starts the fight carries more responsibility; and when we’re talking about Nazis and the KKK, I don’t see how any thinking, feeling human being can possibly cast blame on those who fought them. To fight them is to be a hero. Now here comes Trump and his ‘all sides’ comment. Are we really watching our nation’s leader defend Nazis? Has he actually put his party and its followers in a position where they have to rationalize and defend bigots and klansmen? I heard my parents tonight agree with Trump as he called out both sides for Saturday’s violence. It jarred me, to say the least. If you can’t tell the difference between an all out riot and a skirmish between several hate groups and a crowd of counter protestors, I don’t know what more there is to say. Can even a hardcore Republican see past their party and see the difference here? This ‘all sides’ logic is flawed to say the least. Moral obligation in these conflicts makes all the difference. If you truly believe in Trump’s words, then by that extension, every war we’ve fought has been our fault as well. You believe him, you accept that the United States was as wrong in every conflict we’ve fought as our enemies were. By Trump’s logic there is no innocence or guilt; there is no right or wrong and this line thinking explains a lot about his moral bearings. He must live in a world where there is no up or down morally. He exists in a blameless limbo of his own creation. This is a dangerous way for our president to think. I know about hate groups and have seen many in my day. They are the bad guys without exception. They are evil and it’s sad that we’re still fighting against this disease of hate in this day and age. I don’t even care if the counter protestors struck first. They were fighting the good fight. They were striking against a school of thought that needs to leave us. This is one of those no-brainer moments. Nazis and KKK = Bad. Everytime. All the time. Fighting them in any way, shape or form = good.
If you actually want to defend these people, go right ahead, but think long and hard about who you’re defending and what you’re defending. Look at who is sitting at your table. Once you see it clearly, decide honestly if you want to sit there anymore.