Charlottesville was recently the site of great ugliness.
One that hid a larger battle lurking just beneath the surface.
The real battle was not limited to racism – although that element was clearly on display.
The real battle was over Free Speech and our Constitution. Our Institutions and our way of life.
There are many Americans – myself included – who oppose tearing down historical monuments. We support Freedom of Speech and don’t believe in whitewashing the past. We also found the displays of racism, violence and suppression of speech in Charlottesville – from all sides – as completely repugnant. That doesn’t make us Nazis or fascists.
But some would have it seem so.
I watched two extremist groups arrayed against the other. I found it difficult to discern true differences between them. One side wanted to invalidate the rights of others through race. The other side wanted to invalidate the rights of others through suppression of speech.
Sometimes, oppositional groups become so extreme they end up merging within the same spectrum of hate.
Despising one does not mean you stand for the other. They are both worthy of scorn and ridicule.
There were other groups present as well. Some, simply to oppose removal of statues of historical significance. No racial motivations. No intention of shutting down others’ speech.
But what happens if you shade things a bit. One group not so good but their goal worthy. The other group the epitome of evil. So bad that opposition to their opposition becomes portrayed as support.
all of u ppl claiming white supremacists can say/do whatever bc of the “1st amendment” r u aware that ur defending NAZIS like literal nazis
— Molly Brennan (@mollykbrennan) August 13, 2017
If one wants to limit Free Speech, what better way than by using conflict from a racially charged environment as a means of defining sides?
In a brilliant tactical reframing by the left, voices on the Right were rendered silent – opinions strategically invalidated. In the immediacy of the riots, speaking against tearing down of Civil War memorials became an alignment with White Supremacy and Racism.
It became impossible to condemn the role played by the Alt-Left without immediately being labeled as part of the Alt-Right. One couldn’t condemn violence from both sides without disclaimer. In reframing, all violence was not equal. Some violence was justified.
It was a terribly effective tactic. I watched the hatred and labeling spew forth.
Conservatives squirmed as they struggled to defend positions on Free Speech while maintaining enough distance to keep from being labeled as Nazis by the Left. People afraid to speak what they believed. Everyone compelled to issue a caveat statement on Racism and Nazis.
Strategically, this tactic negates any pushback against the real battle being fought. Do so and one is instantly framed as racist – voice swept away and lost. Or worse, immediately attacked.
A New York Times reporter was present at the riots. She posted this tweet:
2. The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding “antifa” beating white nationalists being led out of the park 2/2
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) August 13, 2017
She was immediately pounced upon for equating the Alt-Left with the Alt-Right. So much so, she later posted this response:
Rethinking this. Should have said violent, not hate-filled. They were standing up to hate. https://t.co/3O9QpC0NQ3
— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) August 13, 2017
Reframed. One side is violent but righteous. The other side, Nazis and hateful.
This ignores a major problem. Who gets to define who is a Nazi?
Well, Antifa for one. They specialize in it. It’s their primary justification for violence.
Antifa has been portrayed by the MSM as sympathetic defenders against the rising onslaught of racism. Sometimes violent – but only because they are passionate in their cause. Even heroic.
CNN put out this puff piece on Antifa:
Here’s a closer look at Antifa protesters, who have become more visible in the past year https://t.co/TrPC9rHk9E
— CNN (@CNN) August 15, 2017
That isn’t Antifa.
This is a bit closer to the truth:
They are involved in, or responsible for, almost every riot that has occurred over the last year – including the G20 riots in Hamburg.
Antifa’s primary goal has always been the silencing of Freedom of Speech. In truth, they are Marxists.
They should be equally exposed for what they are and what they stand for. Unfortunately, it became politically impossible in the riot’s aftermath. The conversation could be one-sided only.
But the Left didn’t properly account for one person.
One of President Trump’s greatest strengths has been his willingness to stand up and speak hard truths – in the face of withering criticism and ridicule. Things that ordinary Americans are thinking but have become afraid to say publicly. Standing against Political Correctness – a tool used with deadly effectiveness to destroy the ability to speak freely.
His press conference was epic. It was hugely ridiculed. And it worked:
To the horror of the MSM and the Left, Antifa was suddenly branded for what it was – the Alt-Left.
The MSM tried to push back:
“The ‘alt left’ is not a thing. It’s just an insult”
What is the ‘alt-left’? Experts say it’s a ‘made-up term’ https://t.co/MIhthff8EM
— CNN (@CNN) August 16, 2017
Antifa hide behind masks, dress in black and carry flags. They are active and numerous. Many are violent Anarchists. They label those on the Right as Nazis – and then use the label as justification for violence.
For a surprisingly balanced view of the Antifa movement see this article from The Atlantic.
Attacks on Freedom of Speech continued – some from unexpected sources:
Both 1st & 2nd Amendments should be amended again, in my humble opinion.
To ban Nazis & reduce gun deaths. https://t.co/6kfGsx98Bi
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 16, 2017
But the pushback from the right began in earnest:
Funny how the Nazis moved to bar speech and take guns. https://t.co/pVlBCpl73p
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 16, 2017
And it continued:
One of these things is not like the others / one of these things just isn’t the same pic.twitter.com/z5puiB4uj8
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) August 16, 2017
The conflict in Charlottesville was one that should never have been. Instead it was allowed – perhaps even created. The police stood down under orders from the Mayor and almost certainly the Governor. Events were specifically allowed to escalate. The White Supremacy group was funneled by police cordons – quite literally into the waiting ranks of Antifa.
In addition to the known affiliations of Virginia’s Governor, Terry McAuliffe and Charlottesville’s Mayor Mike Signer, there is Wes Bellamy. Bellamy is the individual who began the campaign to tear down the statue of Robert E. Lee. Bellamy is also the Vice-Mayor of Charlottesville and an activist. Many of his past tweets are so racially and sexually repugnant I will not post them here. You can read a bit more on Bellamy in this somewhat sanitized – but still revealing – article from the Washington Post.
What President Trump did yesterday was courageous and vital. He understood the importance of refusing to stay silenced. Even when speaking out meant instant condemnation and ridicule.
His press conference unleashed conservative voices on the right. It gave voice to those who had been temporarily silenced by the Left. It would not have happened without him.
You would never know it from the media, but it may have just gotten President Trump re-elected.
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