It has always been astounding to me that symbols of the Confederacy could enjoy any legitimacy whatsoever in American politics and society.   The Confederacy was, after all, a revolt against the United States of America. It was a revolt whose fundamental purpose was to preserve the institution of slavery. I have no tolerance for the claim by some Southerners that Confederate symbols are innocent markers of the South’s heritage. What heritage is that? Do New Englanders proudly proclaim a distinctive New England regional heritage? Midwesterners? Why is the South different? There’s really no getting around it: the distinctiveness of the South as a region of the United States lies most of all in its history of slavery and Jim Crow. It’s not a heritage to be proud of, but Confederate flags and statuary loudly assert that it is.

So, the push in recent years to remove Confederate symbols from public places is long overdue. Now we have a President of the United States who suggests that that trend is misguided, who clearly sympathizes with people’s nostalgia for a white supremacist past. A President who seemed strangely unmoved by a blood-curdling demonstration that combined KKK imagery with Nazi sloganeering. Is anyone really surprised? Trump’s political persona from the start has been based on promoting and exploiting racial fear and hatred. So, when pressed, Trump will disavow the David Dukes and the neo-Nazis, but don’t expect him to work up too much outrage. The assortment of deplorables who descended on Charlottesville on Friday were his kind of people.




  1. Jeremy Graham August 16, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I’m going to something that is shocking to some. Please consider, and if you want to, debate:

    You can’t develop consensus by force. Neither side can.

    Of course the ultimate goal of nazis is not to create consensus. It is to kill people and take their property. This would work for the nazis (not the people being killed) if they knew when to stop. But they don’t know when to stop. They will destroy themselves as well as others while the instigators sit in their remote enclaves.

    The time to talk is now, because the hour is very late.

    • tonygreco August 16, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      But who should be talking to whom?

      • Jeremy Graham August 16, 2017 at 6:42 pm

        We should be talking to the nazis, their peripheral sympathizers, and their apologists. This is something their leadership wants to prevent. There will probably be a time when the talking ends unfortunately.

        This is why they always start talking about freedom of speech, statues, and the alt-left. These deserve pat answers. Mine are: a) The they are speaking and will continue to speak. I wouldn’t do anything to facilitate their speech. These is why I stopped donating to the ACLU. I’m on my side. Let the nazis pay for their own lawyers.

        b) Maybe statues should not be taken down abruptly in places where it would be very controversial. Its not like you’re slapping a child on the wrist. You have to create consensus first. c) Anyhow who committed a crime should be arrested. But the objective of the discussion should be to discuss race, anti-semitism and slavery.

        Its interesting that these CEOs resigned from Trump’s manufacturing committee. I think that they are very aware that their business models require customers, and in some cases employees, of various colours.

        • Jeffrey Herrmann August 17, 2017 at 12:15 am

          The removal of the statue was a pretext to call for a demonstration. The real purpose of the demonstration was to express beliefs in white supremacy and Nazi ideology before a national TV audience and to draw additional supporters to those ideas.
          They probably had some small success, while also consolidated many more people in opposition to their disgusting views.

  2. Jeffrey Herrmann August 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Those who came to Charlottesville in support of the demonstration were expressing a belief in white supremacy and Nazi ideology, and a few intended to also commit violent acts in addition to expressing their views.
    Those who came to Charlottesville in opposition to the demonstration were expressing condemnation of white supremacy and Nazi ideology, and a few intended to also commit violent acts.
    The one group embraces a morally repugnant set of views.
    The other rejects a morally repugnant set of views.
    In the tiny brain of Presidunce tRump, these are morally equivalent. So too in the minds of his many Repugnican apologists.

    • tonygreco August 16, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Exactly right

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