The Unabashed Moderate has a very difficult time making any sense whatsoever from the events in Charlottesville, VA last weekend. There is no question that the message pushed by white supremacy groups must be countered; shouted down; challenged intellectually at every opportunity. America has no room for – and certainly should show no tolerance for – the morally corrupt message such groups cling to for whatever misguided and hateful reasoning.
Of that there is no question!
But what does one make of the hate demonstrated by the so-called anti-fascists?
I am an old-fashioned white guy. I readily admit that. I will readily admit that our race relations are not where they should be. I will own up to the fact that racism still exists in this country, although I firmly believe that the actions, speech, and behaviors are much improved over where they stood in the 1960’s and ’70s when I was a much younger white guy.
We aren’t there yet, as was so aptly demonstrated last weekend when the concept of “white pride” was trotted out under the guise of preserving American History.
Yet the hate we all saw in Charlottesville was hardly one-sided. Under similar circumstances I do not have a problem with hating the “white pride” message, and the people pushing that message. To be honest, it’s perfectly understandable that anyone in this day and age could hate white supremacists.
The problem in my mind is that Antifa demonstrated that they are not all that different from the white supremacists when it comes tactics. Antifa has demonstrated this on numerous occasions. What happened Saturday was just the latest occasion that their own brand of hate was on display. They have provided us examples all over the country under the guise of various political, economic, and social causes.
How is WHAT Antifa does any different from that which white supremacists do? Intimidation, invoking fear and violence, equipping for warfare in the name of protest …
The tragic, unnecessary murder of Heather Heyer was the obvious answer in Charlottesville. But killing is not generally a tactic of white supremacists in this day and age. (Please, do not take that as a defense of that heinous act. It’s simply recognition that in the context of this discussion, what happened on that street in Charlottesville was an aberration of sorts.)
Or put another way … Will anyone be surprised when – not if – Antifa actions, given their current trajectory, result in a death? I know I will not be surprised.
I must be old-fashioned, because I can remember a day when white supremacists and neo-Nazis were met face-to-face on the public square with nary a punch being thrown. Arrests and perhaps a scuffle or two, but not wild, pitched battles with pepper spray, human waste as weapons, flame-throwing aerosol cans …
Hate is hate. Violence is violence.
I do not believe the legitimacy of your stand or the difference in your objective makes the hate any more palatable or acceptable.
It’s easy to spot a white supremacist. You know what their objectives are; who they hate; and how they will go about expressing that hate. They want to impose a social order, long rejected by American values even if we still struggle to completely right that boat.
On the other hand, Antifa looks to push several social and political objectives, using not only very similar tactics, but certainly a similar brand of hate as those they purport to reject and work hardily to oppose. The BIG PROBLEM is they do not hate only white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Antifa – through their very actions – have shown that they also hate Conservatives, Republicans, and people who simply exercised their personal political freedom by daring to vote for and support President Donald Trump. We have seen this at political rallies, speaker events, world organization meetings, even at local festivals!
In Philadelphia, antifa elements vandalized property simply because they do not like the concept of gentrification. This despite conventional wisdom that major urban centers depend on the improved tax base to fund important programs like inner city education and municipal services to the benefit of all city dwellers.
Antifa hates people for the way they vote. They hate people for the way they think. They hate people for simply assembling in the manner in which they identify themselves as the Portland example demonstrates.
Antifa hate is not limited to those with ancient notions of the relation between the races. They hate even those with conventional, mainstream political thought. They hate people simply because they disagree with them.
Their hate is corrosive, violent, and frankly quite deliberate, a political methodology. And in that regard is no different than racist hate at its basest, most disgusting level. Antifa may hold higher ground than the racists, but it’s not much higher.
It has always been easy to spot hate grown from the beliefs of white supremacy. Now we have to be mindful of those whose hate is so easily expressed with violence simply because they disagree.