Archive for August, 2017


The events of this past weekend were horrific, but they have brought us as a nation to a tipping point and simply put I don’t think our President is responding appropriately.

Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist groups are hateful and despicable, and there is no reason the President should have waited for 48+ hours to say that. Even if he was waiting for facts about the weekend as he claimed, you don’t need facts to specifically call out and label a Nazi or White Nationalist deplorable. There is no way to paint the rhetoric of these groups as anything other than hateful, and he could have said that clearly while reserving his right to defend their first amendment rights. He chose not to.

The timeline of Mr. Trump’s responses and the reaction he got from the media, public and alt-right respectively is really concerning. (Check out David Duke’s, a past KKK leader, twitter if you don’t believe my characterizations of the alt-right/White Nationalist response)
1) Mr. Trump initially blames “many sides”: media and general public outraged while alt-right praise him
2) Mr. Trump finally condemns Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist groups by name: media and general public still think it’s too little too late while alt-right get super angry and upset, claimed he was only pandering not really meaning his remarks
3) Mr. Trump tweets that he can’t do anything to make media happy even after condemning specific groups -alt right claim this is proof Trump was only following orders/advice from aides and never meant his condemnation to begin with.
4) Mr. Trump goes back to “many sides” line among other troubling and off the cuff remarks – alt-right groups again embrace and praise him, mainstream media widely criticism him.

Looking at these statements and the responses he was getting from the public/media vs the alt-right and whose opinion does it look like he values more?

Now lets look at his most recent statements from the press conference a bit deeper because there are two points I feel the need to discuss.

First at one point he used the term “us” and had to correct himself when referring to the alt-right. Yes he corrected himself, but he continued to use language indicating that the counter-protests were the “other side” throughout. How exactly am I supposed to believe that he doesn’t have a sympathy for the alt-right white nationalists?

Second, he vehemently indicated that there were “very fine” people on both sides. There are no “very fine” people who are willing to march under (or even in close proximity to) a Nazi flag. “Very fine” people don’t proclaim they are superior because they possess pale skin. No “very fine” person calls for the extermination or oppression of a group of people due to skin color or religious creed. A “very fine” person would have seen the march the evening before where people carried lit torches and chanted for the elimination of POC and Jews and would have decided to take action and leave if they didn’t want to be associated with that crowd’s philosophies.

Simply put Mr. Trumps remarks are not enough and even giving him the benefit of the doubt as to his intentions veer dangerously close into condoning the actions and philosophies of these extremist groups.

Many of these groups are fighting under Mr. Trump’s name, and if Mr. Trump DOESN’T want to be held responsible for them he needs to do more to publicly condemn them and publicly address and correct their “misconceptions” of his words. If these crazies really are misinterpreting him he has nothing to lose from setting the record straight and everything to gain in legitimacy as a leader.

He needs to recognize and take steps to correct the way his words are fueling rather than diffusing these groups. If he wants me to believe he doesn’t value the alt-right/Neo-Nazi opinion and vote he needs to take concrete action to disassociate himself. Not once has he publicly asked these groups to stop using his name, likeness and/or slogan to further their cause. Until he actually does that I’m going to call a spade a spade and assume he’s not only ok with them chanting his slogan, carrying his signs and praising his actions but that he wants them to do it.

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I spent the better part of this past decade living within an hour of Charlottesville, Virginia; it’s a beautiful town that is home to many of my close friends and that holds many fond memories. To hear the name of this town become synonymous with hatred and violence is a startling and distressing turn of events.

I’ve never been blind to the racial issues boiling under the surface of daily life in Virginia, its impossible to miss. Virginia certainly has a long way to go to address the deeply rooted racial injustices of its past. Still I never thought there would come a day that a group of people would openly march under Nazi flags in that small college town.

As people are discussing the events of the past weekend I keep hearing from conservative pundits and alt-right sympathizers that it was just a demonstration against removing a confederate statue. Now to be completely fair I can actually make an argument for the preservation of Confederate monuments, and I do believe that it is within the rights of US citizens to peacefully assemble and protest. However these weren’t just a bunch of historians protecting our heritage. Specific hate groups started sponsoring and promoting the event and rapidly took over its purpose.

They even named it “Unite the Right” and the purpose as listed on the alt-right websites I visited listed nothing about the statue and everything about standing up against POC, Jews (referred to in derogatory names) and to promote white supremacy.

So protester who is claiming you were there about the statue answer these questions please:

If you want to claim that you weren’t aware of your protest being over taken by white supremacists, how do your actions show that you didn’t approve of them being there? If you were really there about ONLY the statue why didn’t YOU stand up and ask the Nazis to leave? Why didn’t YOU make it clear they weren’t welcome? If they refused to leave or didn’t want to confront them why didn’t you leave to avoid being associated with them?

Anyone who stayed at that protest after the tiki torch march the night before where idiots chanted racist and antisemitic hate speech knew full well who was marching with them on Saturday and chose to be complicit in their hate.

We are guaranteed the right to hold whatever opinions we want in this country. Even if I think your opinion is morally repugnant and evil, the government has no right to stop you from expressing those beliefs. You are allowed to be a hateful bastard in this country without fear of legal action from the government. That said your friends, community, employer ect. very well may have other consequences for you and your free speech doesn’t protect you from them.

Also the moment you stop following police direction and start using violence against others it has stopped being a legal protest. These groups refused to follow police orders as early as Saturday night, and continued into the morning. Long before there was a car into a crowd, there was violence from the alt-right toward the counter-protest.

While the initial and indeed the VAST majority of the blame for the chaos and violence on Saturday rest squarely on the shoulders of the white supremacist protesters that doesn’t mean that all of the counter protesters are completely blameless either.

While the initial and most deadly violence was caused by the Neo-Nazi side, “antifa” also used violence. If we are going to condemn the violence on one side we also must condemn the violence on the other. Even a few people using violence from allows the “many sides” comment to be made and gives people like the President room to legitimize the resistance. (more on that and the President’s response in a separate post)

This is where the let’s go “punch a Nazi” memes have angered me. While I understand the impulse to WANT to punch racist ass holes, that isn’t how our society was built. No matter how repugnant they have a right to SAY hateful things, and the government has to let them. It’s the government’s responsibility through law enforcement to keep that speech from becoming action. When we step up and try to take vigilante justice not only are we sinking to their level but we could possibly be putting law enforcement into a position where they have to defend these racist jerks because we’re the ones breaking the law.

It’s our job to use our own rights to peacefully and legally combat these idiots with our own rights of free speech. There are peaceful ways to disrupt racist rallies, and we HAVE to focus on that. As difficult and arguably unfair as it may be we have to be beyond reproach as we combat intolerance. It’s a hard road but going backwards into hate isn’t an option I’m willing to let happen.