Here we go again.
Let’s be clear: The conflation of the alt-right, the KKK and neo-Nazism with the antifa “movement” is not a moral equivalency, and I’m not specifically referring here to Donald Trump’s “many sides” and “both sides” argument in the aftermath of the violence of racism in Charlottesville. I’m referring to the media and their recent breathless coverage of the anti-fascists, or the antifa.
If we must label people who want to stop our country’s descent into fascism under the authoritarian Trump, then antifa is a good enough term, I guess, but how about we just call them decent people willing to risk their bodies for the good of their country and democracy around the world?
Yet the media now has to explain this antifa phenomenon as if it’s not just a natural survival response from people trying to save humanity from evil. Thus we get weighty explanations about the antifa from media outlets, such as The New York Times, who explained all under this conflating, cringing headline, “Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language.” Note that the left gets two references in the headline while fascism and racism don’t even get a mention.
The actual term antifa, as we learn from the article, comes from Germany when decent people stood up to right-wing extremists in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, it’s a broader term that primarily describes people who oppose fascism and, by extension, racism.
But it should be understood on a logical level that the antifa, or anti-fascists, only appear as a consequence of rising racism and fascism, which are evil. If there weren’t anti-fascists during World War II, for example, then Adolph Hilter’s dark vision would have won the day. The American troops that stormed the beaches at Normandy were fighting against fascism. That’s the real moral equivalency with the antifa, but even Fox News wouldn’t—at least I think it wouldn’t—criticize the so-called greatest generation as extremist. This generation did eventually stopped Hitler but not after he killed 6 million Jewish people.
The narratives getting promoted by some media outlets, and, of course, by Trump is that the antifa shows up at alt-right rallies that endorse fascism and racism with their own violent agenda, and that this is so wrong. I believe in peaceful protest that echoes the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, but it’s the fascists and racists who bring violence upon themselves with public displays that attempt to normalize what they stand for. Neo-Nazism and racism are the epitome of violence and extremism. Those who want to stop them will never collectively be extremists. Why can’t those last two sentences or a version of them make it into news stories?
I appreciate that media outlets like The Times and The Washington Post are exposing Trump for the corrupt, mentally unstable fool he is, but for too long this insane idea in the media that there are “sides” to virtually every issue has allowed people to qualify what shouldn’t be qualified. Racism and fascism are evil. If that can’t be stated as truth, as a fact, in a newspaper or on a television news show, then mourn for your country.
The people who stand up to this evil are heroes, not a side in a debate tournament.