Monday, August 14, 2017

My Two Cents: Charlottesville, Free Speech, Hate and _____

As you may know, if you’ve been by here a few times, I am all about Free Speech; say what you want, but understand that there might be repercussions for your speech. And we saw that this past weekend during that White-Supremacist-KKK-Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler and Unite the Right ... ironic, that, ‘the right’ ... organized the “pro white”  rally to protest the removal of a statute of Robert E. Lee—the man who led an armed rebellion against the United States to protect the institution of slavery—from a city park.

Need more irony? Many of those protestors waved American flags while demanding the city honor a man best known for his fight against the America, but then white supremacists, Klan members and Neo–Nazis aren’t the smartest tools in the shed ... just the loudest ...
“Fuck you, faggots.”
“White lives matter.”
“Jews will not replace us.”
“Blood and soil.”
That last one is a Nazi slogan about the bond between Aryan people and the German homeland.

But the protestors, those hate-filled racists and bigots, anti-Semites and homophobes, weren’t the only ones out this weekend. There were counter-protestors carrying Black Lives Matter signs, and LGBT Rights signs, practicing their rights to Free Speech, too.

The rally began Friday night when hundreds of racists, bigots, homophobes, anti-Semites, and asshats marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying tiki torches as though they were marching from the Home Depot to a luau-themed garden party. I mean, where were the manly-man wooden torches of old?

I digress ... I just find the image of the haters carrying tiki torches to be a bit too much.

That first night march was relatively safe; one person was arrested and there were a few reports of injuries, while the real hate was saved for Saturday ...

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman, was killed, and nineteen more injured, when a car driven by James Alex Fields, plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters. As of now, Fields has been charged with second-degree murder.

Second degree? He got into his car and aimed it at a crowd and drove at a high speed into the crowd; and then reversed, hitting yet more people. That should be first degree murder, at the very least.

But, amazingly enough, it’s the bigots in charge of the Hate Fest that are crying foul and laying blame at what happened everywhere except their own feet ...

Richard Spencer, Alt-Right asshat, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, says he takes no responsibility for the violence and murder, and instead has accused state and local police of endangering lives in how they handled the rally.  Spencer says he “did not attempt to engage in any kind of violence”, other than, you know shouting hate-filled slogans while marching. And he claims he was pepper sprayed twice while marching.

So sad; a woman protesting bigots and racists was murdered but Spencer wants our tears for being pepper sprayed.

And Spencer’s cohort in hate, Jason Kessler also disavows the violence; he simply said that the person who drove a car into a group of counter-protesters “did the wrong thing.”

Um, Jason, the person who drove the car was there for you, for your cause, so let’s not act like it was some horrific accident; it was hate that became murder. And all of you who marched and shouted and threw bottles at counter-protestors are to blame.

But, like Spencer, Kessler also criticized law enforcement’s response to the event, saying they did a poor job controlling the chaos to allow free speech.

Free Speech. Hate Speech. Hate.

Michael Von Kotch, a self-proclaimed Nazi from Pennsylvania, said the rally made him “proud to be white.”

Let that sink in ... proud to be white, as though white people have had a hard time in this country. White people. I can’t .... Von Kotch says he’s been a white supremacist for a long time and that _____’s election has “emboldened” him and the members of his own Nazi group:
“We are assembled to defend our history, our heritage and to protect our race to the last man. We came here to stand up for the white race.”
Von Kotch said this while wearing a protective helmet and sporting a wooden shield and a broken pool cue to protect the white man ... from what?

So, while we lay blame at the feet of Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler and Michael Von Kotch, and their special brand of hate, let’s also take time to lay blame at the feet of that asshat in the White House, who ran a campaign based on hate ... against Mexicans, Muslims, and, as of the last couple of weeks, Transgender Americans.

When the man at the top spreads hate and discrimination, he has blood on his hands; especially when he stays silent for far too long and, then when he does speak, doesn’t condemn the white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis ... perhaps because he doesn’t want to offend his base, and members of his team.

See, this rally, while an attempt to stop the removal of a statue, was also planned by the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members to “take America back” and doesn’t that sound a little bit like “Make America Great Again;” a _____ slogan that seems to imply that we need to move backwards to a more racist time.

But _____, who Tweets every single time he gets his knickers twisted, was silent all morning long. It wasn’t until the afternoon, possibly after his nap after a round of golf, that he finally Tweeted:
“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
Where was the condemnation of the white supremacists? The Nazis? The Klan? Even later, a late-afternoon news conference, this was his response:
“The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
On many sides? I saw hate on one side, and protests against hate on the other.

But how do we expect a man who calls Mexicans rapists and murderers and Muslims terrorists and killers and Transgender Americans unfit to serve their country, and women just something to grab, to react? This is his mess; he ran on it; fed on it; campaigned on it; and was, sadly, elected on it.

Even one of his biggest supporters, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, acknowledged that this is a result of _____’s rhetoric:
“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists. This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald _____. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald _____, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
And when a reporter at that news conference asked _____ about his support from white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Klan members, many of whom wore red Make America Great Again hats during the riots, _____ did not respond ... so as not to offend his base.

And yet that’s not new, or even news; _____ has never directly condemned any movement, protest or statements of white supremacists, and you have to wonder why? I mean, those are the people who marched in hate ...
“Fuck you, faggots.”
“White lives matter.”
“Jews will not replace us.”
“Blood and soil.”
I think the NAACP put it best:
“Guess it's hard to disavow bigots and hate when they are amongst your key strategists.”
As I said before, Free Speech is a great thing; I’d never want to live in a world where my opinion, my voice, my thought, could get me arrested or jailed, or worse. And protests and marches are a huge part of our history; to paraphrase the bigot in the White House, those protests and marches are what truly make America great.

But what happened in Charlottesville is the ugly side of Free Speech; it’s hate; it’s terror; it’s terrorism. And what makes it all the more disgusting is not having our president denounce the hate for what it is; instead, he called for calm on both sides ... though it was just one side spreading hate, it was one side that sent a car driving into a crowd.

We needed to hear our president denounce this hatred ...
“Fuck you, faggots.”
 “White lives matter.”
“Jews will not replace us.”
“Blood and soil.”
And he did not.

So, where do we go from here? Well, we learn the lesson; our cities and towns learn that, if they wish to allow white supremacists and Nazis and Klan members the right to march—and, yes, they do have that right—then we need our police force out in force to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

We also need to ask our representatives to not only condemn this kind of violence, but condemn the president for his lack of a backbone, for his lack of compassion, for not denouncing the hatred of his base; it not “many sides,” it’s one side.

And we need to speak up when we hear the hate; stop it in  its tracks; denounce it. Tell anyone and everyone that you find this disgusting and that anyone who disagrees with you has blood on their hands, too.

Speak up against hate; vote against hate; demand that, while these groups have rights to their opinions, they cannot spread hate speech and call it free.

Heather Heyer wasn’t murdered for Free Speech; she was murdered by hate.

LGBTQ Nation
AP
Revere Press 
Revere Press
Washington Post
Dallas News

10 comments:

Deedles said...

Well said (stated?) Bob! Your two cents should be raised to at least a dollar. I'm sending you a virtual hug because I feel you need one. If not, it couldn't hurt (I have severe R.A. so I can't hug too hard).

Dave R said...

I saw that the Idiot Jerk shit out some sort of faux statement condemning Neo-nazis, et al... 2 days too late, no doubt because someone in his administration crawled out from under a rock and said "... I think people are angry at you."

Anonymous said...

You captured it perfectly. I totally lost it when he gave his first comment on the hate mongers and carnage. What I can't comprehend is the number of people including a few family members who voted for this idiot & now say it's too much. What didn't they hear from him in the last 20 years let alone the campaign that wouldn't have indicated very clearly what he was & what he'd say...anything. For what it's worth I'll never be able to call the guy from PA anything but Von Crotch! :-)

mrs.missalaineus said...

still trying to wrap my mind around some of the ACLU decisions. the talking yam's responses don't surprise me at all, after all, he doesn't want to anger his voter base.

xxalainaxx


the dogs' mother said...

(((Bob)))

anne marie in philly said...

FUCK ALL THOSE SOBs! FUCK THE GOPricks! FUCK DUMP! FUCK HATRED & INTOLERANCE & BIGOTRY & HOMOPHOBIA! FUCK THEM ALL IN THE EAR!

Sadie J said...

It had started out as a good weekend here at the House of Jones, but turned quickly. I'm all for the first amendment, but people seem to forget that means we can't be arrested for criticizing the government, but it doesn't mean we can say whatever hate-filled thing we want without repercussions.

Deedles said...

Anne Marie, I'm sending you a big ol' virtual hug too. I hope it's safe to do so. It's the only way I know how to react to others' pain or anger. (((Highness)))

anne marie in philly said...

@deedles - it's welcomed. hatred is not. silence = acceptance. AND WE WILL NOT BE SILENT!

Helen Lashbrook said...

Thoughtful piece

Long live Heather Heyer's memory

I knew der Trumpenfuhrer didn't have anything to do with crafting that speech when he mouthed the word egregious (probably shown on the teleprompter as eh gree juss). What fool is going to think Trumpelstitlskin ever heard the word before let alone said it?