So… stuff happened in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend.
A bunch of white supremacists heard the town was moving a Robert E Lee statue, so they flipped out and marched on the park, with their torches… Wait a minute!
Are those… those backyard barbecue mosquito repellent torches you can get at Target? What’s wrong, guys, not ruggedly manly enough to get a big stick out of the woods and ignite it? Seriously, look at these stupid assholes. I feel like this isn’t so much a mob of white supremacists as a boggart that initially appeared as a mob of white supremacists but you’ve already said “Riddikulus!” Are we supposed to be afraid of these fuckbags?
Well, not afraid, but definitely not unconcerned. One of them did run his car over a crowd of the counterprotesters, killing one and injuring a whole lot of others. These public manifestations of theirs do embolden their supporters, validating their spurious white superiority beliefs and putting others in danger. Doesn’t help (if not the least bit surprising) that the Orange Thing currently occupying the White House took two whole days to even kind of sort of say anything close to “racism is bad, mmmkay” in response to this. And today pretty much walked it back and blamed leftists because of course he did.
And we of course have not seen the last of this. Not at all.
I mean, there’s been the ongoing issue of removing Confederate statues and symbols from various public places. Some of these people take this as an affront to their Southern heritage that- Oh, what’s that? The guy who rammed his car through the crowd is from Ohio? Interesting… Another guy involved whose name I’ve seen floating around is from Nevada. Participants were coming in from all over the country for this, not just states that were actually part of the Confederacy, trying to claim removing the Lee statue is an affront to their heritage? Yeah, very interesting. Almost as if this ostensible concern for Confederate icons is a front for something else.
Okay, so, these guys are racist pieces of shit. We know that. But the other issue that keeps coming up in all this is their right to free speech and assembly. Surely even as vile as they are, they have a right to speak and march, right?
The very short answer is yes. The counterprotesters have at least the same right to speak and march, of course. I’d say they have more of a right seeing as they aren’t calling for racial superiority or ethnic cleansing, rather opposing those dangerous beliefs. We often hear it said that the solution to bad free speech is more free speech, and that is what the counterprotesters are doing for sure. So then, when the concern is whether free speech is being attacked, should we not then be at least as concerned about the anti-racists and anti-fascists having their free speech rights protected as the white supremacists having it? I mean, I get that it makes sense that hate speech would be in more danger of censorship than the speech against it, but then again, is that what is happening? Look at what happened to the Native Americans at Standing Rock, or the Occupy Wall Street protesters, or the various Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Every one of them involved outright police brutality against peaceful assembly. Any police brutality against these white supremacist assholes in Charlottesville, or white supremacist assholes causing any other trouble? Not so much. I’m not saying police should be brutalizing them. I’m just saying knock it the hell off with the nice groups (or anyone for that matter). And maybe don’t go after protest organizers’ web hosts to find out anyone who ever accessed their sites because reasons.
But… I just still can’t get over those damn torches. Neither can a lot of other people, seeing as the company who makes them had to disavow the Neo-Nazi shitheads using them for this.
Which is more than we’re getting out of Orange Thing.
This has been Day 84 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 17.