Don Rogers: Stoking flames in Charlottesville
Suppose those neo-Nazis and KKK members, those supremacists, those victimized white males came with their sticks and their shields and their tiki torches to defend whatever a Confederate statue in Charlottesville represents for them — and no one else showed up?
What if they were left alone to their slogans, their salutes, their furious marching with nothing to march against?
A rally that size surely would attract the TV trucks bearing satellite dishes. So there’d be coverage. Lead story? Doubtful, but probably still worth noting in the national news.
Maybe there’d be another such rally. What then? Some networks might come, fishing.
Eventually, though, the whole white rights rally thing would die of disinterest.
I see the viral image from a Charlottesville rally in July of a bored-looking black cop leaning back against a temporary fence. Behind him, white kooks exercise their First Amendment rights in a nutty, though peaceful, way with their abhorrent message.
That image didn’t go viral until last weekend’s horrors, about a month after the picture was taken. An inconvenient truth lies in this, I suspect.
I believe the Confederate statues — these enduring testaments to losers — would come down either way and the South fully join America, at least symbolically. It’s been 152 years since the surrender, after all, and about time with the obvious link to pride in keeping slaves as part of a lifestyle.
Exercise a little more patience, let these last fires burn themselves out, and quietly get rid of the statues. Simple enough.
Obviously, lots of people disagree with me, arguing that this ugly vein in our culture cannot be allowed to normalize, much less grow through a de facto acknowledgment of its existence.
No, it must be confronted head on. Didn’t we fight a world war not all that long ago to defeat this hideous worldview?
And so the counter-protesters showed up in force, powder keg to the match, just the fight the original rallygoers were spoiling for.
Voila. The news. The violence. The deaths, including the state troopers who died on duty in the helicopter crash. The fallout.
From my viewpoint, anyway, it all was unnecessary. Stupid, even.
The president equivocating as if the sins in Charlottesville somehow were equal was a political low point, to say the least. But none of the posturing that followed the violence did a thing to change any white supremacist’s mind about anything.
The David Dukes of our country are crowing, encouraged, eager for more rallies. They’re ready to bring their sticks and shields to the next fray, poor “victims” having baited those big bad “antifa” into a confrontation. They couldn’t be more elated.
Isn’t this just the opposite of what we seek as a moral nation?
This virulent strain, this poisoned outlook, exists regardless. Attention feeds it, like sugar for bacteria.
Seems the better response from the overwhelming rest of us — conservative, liberal, apolitical — would be to let it starve.
Yes, the Republican Party can be criticized for encouraging these people for political gain, but remember it wasn’t so long ago the Democrats did this, and for a much longer time. Both parties have their ugly fringes.
Besides, what I find in nearly all Republicans is disgust with what the Charlottesville supremacists represent, as they should.
So let’s not get bogged down in which party is most to blame. That’s beside the point, a distraction, although the Republicans today could be more vocal in their repudiations as they demand Muslims, for instance, call out radicals in their midst.
Let’s use our heads, for a change. The tiki torch boys should find their rallies boring, their ideas dull, failing to ignite more than yawns.
Right now, they’re pretty full of themselves. They believe they’re heroes.
How pathetic is that?
Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at email@example.com or 477-4299.
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