Charlottesville- a Harbinger of What’s to Come
What happened in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 12th, has been brewing for quite some time. Extremists, from what is called both the right and the left, joined into battle with one another, armed with lumber and steeped in longstanding hatred. Both sides, the white supremacists/neoNazi/KKK and the AntiFa/BlackLivesMatter/AntiTrump resistance, spilled onto the streets of Charlottesville with a premeditated intent to do battle, and the City of Charlottesville allowed these opposing mobs, so armed, to enter into the streets of this small Virginia city and wreak havoc, as a result. So accommodating to provide the battlefield upon which both extremes of opposing factions waged war, it almost seemed staged right from the start.
When the city council of Charlottesville decided to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a small park, once known as Lee Park and renamed Emancipation Park, opponents to the decision sought to organize protests against the removal and, from court permission, gained permit to stage the protest. Making common cause with these alt/right opponents were representatives of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists intent on doing battle, while opposing forces, well-notified of the planned protest, amassed elements of the AntiFa (anti-fascist) radicals, BlackLivesMatter, and other left wing extremists including AntiTrump resistance. Told to make no arrests prior to the hour that the protest was scheduled to begin, local police enabled armed thugs from both sides to proceed from several entry points to join into the melee that followed.
The fact that the media was all prepared and in place to lend coverage to the expected conflict lends credence and bears witness to the proposition that the riots in Charlottesville were planned and engineered to take place, and that this was done for a reason.
Knowing that the effort to bring down Donald Trump from the Russia inquisition will ultimately fail, and that it is unlikely Robert Mueller will find anything worthy of indictment against the president, those who oppose Trump from both sides of the political spectrum decided on a strategy to play the race card against him. The left, ever seeking to tie white racists to Trump jumped at the chance to create an event that would “expose” Trump for what they imagine to be his underlying approval of these racists. Meanwhile the AntiTrump forces from the right, like Weekly Standard editor Stephen F. Hayes, were all prepared to jump on the president, regardless of what he said or didn’t say, regarding the events taking place Saturday morning.
For his own part, the president neither said nor did anything wrong, in either the remarks he made Saturday, and then on the following Monday. In both instances, he decried racism in all its form, hatred on both sides and espoused the need for people to come together and, hopefully, love one another. Yet, because his Saturday comments did not include specific references and repudiation of white supremacists/neoNazis/KKK, as they later did on Monday, Hayes and his fellow travelers from all sides of the mainstream media joined in their expressed indignation at the president’s initial response, and questioning whether such remarks came too little, too late.
Essentially, every faction opposed to the Trump presidency stood at the ready on a Saturday morning in August to pounce on Trump, regardless of his remarks. Knowing that a riot was about to take place between extremists, both white and black- one that would require a response from the president, it became a matter of “how” they would turn the riot against the president, not “if” they would do so. It is as if there keyboards and cameras have Trump in the crosshairs, ready for the next assault on his presidency. Perhaps this time they will get Trump on the race issue, since all of their other attempts to bring him down have thus far fallen flat.
What wasn’t foreseen was the horrendous automobile assault, perpetrated by a young white driver from Ohio, who was given to Nazi fascination. No one knew what was in the mind of James Alex Fields, that would prompt him to do such a thing resulting in the death of one young woman and injury to many others, but everyone on both sides of the riot’s perpetrators knew that it was based on the visceral hatred that they have for one another. Though the streets are laid quiet, the hatred still burns within the hearts of those who pull both sides of the political spectrum further and further apart.
Pulling down historic monuments of men who fought for what they believed in, regardless of contemporary revisionism, will not serve to unite the widening breach between Americans. Giving space to rioters to destroy property and cause violence will not promote constructive dialog, so badly needed in a divided nation. Tolerance of free speech does not extend to the allowance of anarchy, and there is much blame to go all around for the events in Charlottesville during the past weekend.
It is noted that long before the American Civil War was fought, extremists from both the North and the South- radical abolitionists and fervent secessionists- engaged in the same level of extremism that exists today, and it was those extremists on both sides which led this country to the costliest war ever fought by Americans, with more than 750,000 dead by war’s end.
Unless this country learns well the lessons of its own history, it is doomed to repeat the tragic mistakes of its past, and Charlottesville will only serve to be a harbinger of what is to come…a cultural war turned bloody that will tear us apart.
-Drew Nickell, 15 August 2017
© 2017 by Drew Nickell, all rights reserved.
author of “Bending Your Ear- a Collection of Essays on the Issues of Our Times”
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