I wrote my earlier blog about the violence that erupted in Charlottesville soon after the event (see here). A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then; the good and the great and not so great have all chipped in with their two penneth and yours truly has had time to reflect on events and opinions and form his own.
Whether this is the opening salvo to a summer of discontent and even civil war remains to be seen, as do the conspiracy theorists who see this as a George Soros Deep State funded operation to incite civil unrest, reign in free speech, bring in marshal law, overthrow the government and replace Trump with its own puppet. Fanciful it may be, some of what I have witnessed could fit in with such a scenario. A more plausible explanation is what we have witnessed is part of a long line where two conflicting ideologies have been pitted against each other and one of the factors may be that of cultural identity.
As I stated in that earlier blog and the “The Alt Right and White Supremacy” blog that followed, I condemn white supremacist ideology and recognize that a good many of the demonstrators were white supremacists, some of which were spoiling for a fight. Yet I also condemn some of the counter protestors, which included members of Antifa (a group that opposes Fascist ideology) and Black Lives Matter, who incited and perpetuated violence, the Soros funded rent a mobs that had been shipped in and the Mayor and the Police who cynically allowed that violence to occur and may even have encouraged it. This is not just Alex Jones saying this but also Fox News; the evidence is there open for scrutiny. Much of the mainstream press overlooked this aspect, once again showing themselves up to be perpetrators of Fake News.
Instead it seemed they were once again pre-occupied with Trump for not unequivocally condemning the white supremacist and neo Nazi elements, although later he did, which a cynic might say was him bowing to pressure and reckoning it was better to do so rather than keep his alt right support base happy by not saying much. But as I reflected in my first blog what he said initially, when what was going on was not altogether clear, was spot on: condemning the hate and violence and urging the country to come together in a spirit of love. I felt in his later condemnation he missed out on an opportunities to condemn the alt left violence and ineptitude of the authorities in preventing violence, when they could. As for the terrorist act by the person who drove into crowds, killing one, this was appalling and the President rightly condemned it and one is right to be outraged.
On the subject of mainstream reporting, I had my second experience in less than a week of BBC biased reporting, which leads me to want to conclude this is one reason why many of my friends are so anti Trump. Firstly they interviewed the deputy mayor of Charlottesville. His explanation of why they wanted to pull down the statue (which I will come to) was plausible but he was not taken to task on why some may have felt strongly otherwise or his administration’s lack of action, when it came to doing what was needed and could have been done to stop the violence. Secondly, they interviewed their USA correspondent and the focus was unsurprisingly on Trump’s lack of condemnation of the white supremacists and missing the many other positive, pertinent points he did make.
So what about the statue? I found out after my earlier blog that it was of Confederate General Robert E Lee, my hero and who many regard still as the greatest general of either side of the civil war. He was no white supremacist as some detractors claim and his reason for joining the confederacy was a principled one, believing State rights needed protecting. After the defeat of the confederacy, he did as much as any when it came to rebuilding the country. While I get it that some see the statue as symbolic of whites oppressing blacks, others see it as a sign of cultural identity and removing it the thin end of the wedge when it comes to historic revisionism, and because of that many who are not white supremacists were incensed.
It seems to me that peaceful process is a first amendment right that should be jealously safeguarded, even when we strongly disagree with those who protest, although common sense dictates some curbing of demonstrations may be needed in the interests of public safety or to counter hatred. I also empathise with white people (and there are many non whites that concur) who feel antipathy toward racial identity politicking that seems to have grown in recent years. For example, to be made to feel bad when colleges hold don’t go into college if you happen to be white days is repugnant to some.
We live as I keep saying in interesting times. As soon as I write about one thing e.g. the North Korean crisis or the plot to remove the President then something else crops up. We also live in perilous times. Already other similar statues are being removed on similar ideological grounds, or threatened to be removed, and the signs are that there may well be further violence on the streets, with unscrupulous powerful people stirring hate and contriving events for their own sinister purposes. I will continue to follow events with interest and will watch and warn, and of course pray.
Update 17/08/17: The fall out from the violence is still being felt and one asks when will this all end? I can’t help wondering if all this is part of a dastardly plot, fueled by a viscous media and gullible public, to further divide the community, increase civil unrest, create a diversion as to what is really going on in America and bring down the President. The focus has fallen on the President as he speaks on what happened and as he seeks to clarify, condemn all wrong doing that was on show and point out there is some things concerning what went on we still do not know, and in the process appears to have dug an even bigger hole to fall into, led on by an antagonistic press. This latest press conference (see here) has attracted special attention given he lays blame on all sides and has come under huge attack from many quarters, besides the press, only interested in condemning one side – the white supremacists / neo-nazis. Interestingly, I have noted eminent folk from my own theological stable distant themselves from racism, although very little it seems to denounce the excesses of the “Alt Left”. Many have argued there is no equivalency (including UK’s own prime minister) and the blame must be laid squarely on the white supremacists who triggered the violence in the first place. I have also come under personal attack by supporting the President. The antagonism and anti-Trump hysteria is palpable. As far as I am concerned, whoever does wrong needs to be brought to task, whatever our views on their ideology, and it is not always possible to apportion blame if we don’t know all that went on. As far as the person who mowed down a demonstrator in his car, what he did was murder and there is no excuse. As for hate, this is an insidious thing and can arise from any quarter and clearly this has been the case at this present time. Regarding racism and white supremacy and organisations promoting such, I like the President abhor and denounce these as well as the violence and hate perpetrated by opposing groups. I suspect there are moderate elements from both sides that denounce the extremists. Society works best when people lay aside their differences and work together for the common good, which happens to have long been my community activist mantra. The last word should go to Heather Heyer’s mother, who spoke with great dignity at her daughters memorial service. It is important Heather who did what she thought was right should not have died in vain and the hate must stop.