Is it Possible to Condemn the Alt-Left and Alt-Right?
The words of President Trump have created a firestorm of criticism, more attacks, and confusion. The whole ordeal following the events in Charlottesville seem to be following an unscripted play. Three rounds of comments about the horrific tragedy and still no satisfaction from the media, his critics, and even some of his allies. Among the remarks during Tuesday’s press conference, he reaffirmed that “both sides” were at fault. The “alt-left” as he called them, should be held accountable just as much as the “alt-right”. These comments drew the ire of many, claiming that he was now defending white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK, saying that they were the “victims” of the violence from the counter-protesters.
The media loves to state facts so here they are. The ideology of the white supremacist groups and their actions are entirely to blame for starting the horrific and terrifying events. It was a disgusting, murderous, white supremacist thug that used his car to ram into a crowd. Now, here is what is also true. The counter-protesters were from an organization known as Antifa that specializes in gathering violent protesters to clash with police, far-right groups, and other organizations it deems necessary. It has helped with the Black Lives Matter movement and other anarchist groups. Their stated goal is to stop the rise of fascism, which has become popular since Trump’s election, along with protesting nationalism, racism, sexism, and other issues the group deems dangerous. Just recently, the group converged in Seattle to battle the pro-Trump “Patriot Prayer” organization as they attempted to have a rally. The event ended in violence as the police tried to keep the two sides from coming together and causing more destruction. Also just yesterday, Antifa protesters were arrested outside a Chicago courthouse after a rally protesting white supremacy turned violent as they clashed with police.
Before these incidents, they were widely involved in shutting down controversial conservative speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos, from giving a speech at the UC Berkeley campus. The riots and protests forced the campus to call off the speech for safety concerns. That was back in February and it continued in April when they threatened the same violent protests if conservative firebrand, Ann Coulter, was allowed to speak.
Criticizing Antifa does not somehow legitimize white supremacist groups. The point is that they are both equally responsible for racial violence, the attacks on free speech, and the violent protests that are infecting too many cities. In the aftermath of the attacks, even the AP noted that it seemed that both sides were responsible. Now, white supremacists are responsible for several violent attacks and murders. Back in May, in Portland, a white supremacist stabbed to death two men who confronted him over harassing a Muslim couple. In February, a white U.S. Navy veteran killed an engineer and wounded others in a racially motivated attack in Kansas. Much of the violence has been blamed on the nationalist and “America First” coming from the president. This could be true, but it is not the intention of the president to inspire these horrific attacks. He should not have to condemn his own message just to appease the media and his critics. The reason these attacks are happening is because the nation still does have hateful racists, but the media amplifies the isolated examples of violence to try to create a bigger problem, arguing that the supporters of the president are all members of these hateful, bigotry-filled organizations.
To be clear, Antifa are not the valiant defenders of the values and freedoms that Americans have fought for. It is sad to see what the former campaign spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s campaign tweeted. They are certainly not comparable to the brave men that stormed the beaches at Normandy. They are not men and women that should be respected for their “fight against fascism”. We will know fascism when we see it, the situation right now is far from that. Even so, if this group is really concerned about fascism, shouldn’t they be even more active than they are in protesting and gathering together?
The Washington Post published yet another interesting op-ed yesterday. It was called, “Sorry conservatives. There’s no equivalence between the extreme right and the extreme left.” Quite a title. The article proceeds to provide a history of both sides. It explains how the white supremacist groups are well organized and thriving across the nation because of the President encouraging their behavior. Continuing on, it claims that the President welcomed them with open arms and accepted the support of their leaders.
First of all, did anyone know that ICE has just finished a case that succeeding in locking up 89 members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas? They were all convicted on illegal drug trafficking charges and locked away for a combined over a thousand years of prison time. Good riddance to those evil bigots that have no place in our society. But wait a minute, the president was supposed to be siding with these criminals and their ideology. Shouldn’t he be calling for their pardons? Back to the original article, how is that these alt-right thugs supported a candidate that expressed continual support for Israel, promised on election night to bring the country together, and heal the wounds of a divided nation. How is it that the alt-right supports a candidate that continually disavows the support of white supremacist, David Duke? Even CNN reported back in March 2016 that he had clearly disavowed him several times. Perhaps the truth is that some members of the media are so desperate to tie him to the white supremacist organizations that they continue to focus on what David Duke is saying instead of ignoring him and thus decreasing his presence.
The article claims that the far-right is highly organized and has a large influence. How is this possible? The terrible times of the 1920s and the Reconstruction era of the South are over. The days of the KKK marching down the street in the nation’s capital are over. Here is what we should be asking. If they were so influential wouldn’t conservative commentators such as Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and others be huge supporters of these hateful movements? The reality is that the actual influence of white supremacist groups is very small. Claiming that these organizations are directly tied to the Republican Party and the president is preposterous. If they are so influential, why would conservatives bother defending Israel and promoting their interests? The questions could go on.
The Alt-Left and the Alt-Right are a thorn in our society at the present. Neither represents the ideals and values of our nation, which is why both should be condemned. It is impossible to have a discussion around policy and reasonable differences when both sides are too concerned about starting riots and causing trouble. Unity cannot be achieved by condemning one side and allowing the other feed off of its newfound popularity.