There are no arguable “sides,” no debate when it comes to Nazism and white supremacy.
Thousands upon thousands of Americans died during World War II fighting that evil, and it appears that because of our current president even more people are now going to die opposing it.
World War II was a redemption for our country after our sordid history of slavery and the attempted genocide of indigenous people by President Andrew Jackson and other leaders. When the evil of Adolph Hitler resulted in the killing of millions of Jewish people, Americans gave their lives so we could have a better world.
Now we have a president, Donald Trump, who not only won’t celebrate the bravery of people fighting homegrown Nazism in American streets but who dismisses them as a “side,” as if there’s an argument to be made for racism. The fact Trump is mentally unstable only makes it even worse. He has emboldened supporters of Nazism, the KKK and white supremacists.
Trump’s initial statement about the violence in Charlottesville—one counter protestor Heather Hoyer was killed—generated by Nazis and white supremacists was notable for its omission. It blamed hatred on “many sides.” After an outcry over its ambiguity, Trump robotically read a statement finally disavowing white supremacy. But then on Tuesday, he went off script and gave the Nazis what they wanted and later celebrated.
Trump said this Tuesday about the violence in that Virginia city, “There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for the country, but there are two sides to a story.” He also said, “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.”
”Nobody wants to say it” because it isn’t true. The people who stood up against the neo-fascists Saturday should be celebrated. They risked their lives. One died and several others were injured when a white supremacist drove his car into them. The counter protestors were heroes, remarkable people, not simply a team at a debate tournament.
How many people will lose their lives fighting Nazism and racism on American streets in the weeks to come because of Trump’s remarks, which were obviously calculated and coded to assuage Trump’s political base of right-wing extremists who under no particular duress want to bring their message of hate and violence to the public square?
The mainstream media, for the most part, responded forcefully against Trump’s comments, but it’s part of the reason we’re here in the first place because it has promoted for decades the theory of “two sides of a story” and false equivalence between the lies of the right-wing extremists and the embrace of humanity and diversity by others. Trump is creation of the media. He embodies it.
But this not a reality television show. Nazis and white supremacists are coming to a street near you. It’s time to rise up.