By Noah La Vie | USA
People are stupid. We are raised, born, and cultured into stupidity. We often find ourselves short of the mark we must meet. That isn’t an American trait, it’s a human trait. We don’t stop holding ourselves to those ideals however and our founders, white and slave owning though they were, knew how important it was that we be able to say all the racist and disagreeable things possible. To have a culture that has racism and bigotry allows us all to make fun of those views, engage with them in counter-protest, and be Americans aside them.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Neo-Nazis, Confederates, and White Supremacists including the KKK are all cut from the same cloth of vocal minority. Voices that express such hatred can often be mistaken for a new path, a fun path, and some – not many and not in droves – take it. Those who do?
They go down a route of indoctrination and a cloud of blinding fog that is almost impossible to remove them from. These views, of one race being better than another or one desiring an all powerful government, are ridiculous and not shared by any majority in this nation. To give such cult mentalities the spotlight (we are fully aware we are doing that here) is spread that racism, bigotry, and to enflame it beyond what it truly should be seen as.
It’s kind of a fun idea… Just being able to say “white power,” you know?
– Unidentified Marcher in the “Unite The Right” March.
To be publicly racist is to be shunned, looked down on, and to be mocked. It is humiliating to be bigoted. It should be no other way; letting them speak let’s them come from the shadows to spew their hateful bigotry and lets us know who not to hire and who to shun. The world isn’t always so cut and dry as racist, nazi, sexist and the good guys. It’s important we know the difference, know how to engage them. It’s important to let them feel free to say what they believe. It is through their freedom we have our own. The moment we clamp down on free speech everything else collapses in after it.
Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
– Benjamin Franklin
The disaster in Charlottesville resulted from a lack of one thing that most counter protests do. Instead of peace, and goodwill towards men, there was hatred, anger, and eventually, the hatred and anger spiraled into violence from the nazis and eventually toward them. The model protest, the model counter-protest, is seen in the Laramie Hate Killing of Matthew Shepard. When the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) came to protest gays after the hate crime a group of people came together and formed the Angels of Peace. They stood with their backs to the WBC Hate Group, both showing that the angels disapproved of their words and weren’t listening to the hateful rhetoric. This is the action that shut down that protest of a vocal minority and allowed passerbys to see a much more pleasant sight than the “God Hates Fags” signs waved by the WBC Hate Group. Contrast this to the “F–k Racists” and “Screw the KKK” imagery with men and women chanting anti-hate slogans in Charlottesville.
Let Westboro Baptist have their hate speech. We’ll smother it with peace.
-Romaine Patterson (Angel of Peace)
The most effective counter protest to hatred is love, and to racism and is peace. Violence and chants of death and ill feelings toward these rejected men and women of a vocal minority will not help heal them, it will alienate them. In America we have a mark we hold ourselves to, be it free speech, freedom to assemble, of religion or of political view; we aspire to live up to that mark. In Charlottesville, our emotions and feelings got the best of us. One side was evil, and we protested that evil. Things got out of control and the only thing we can do is prepare for the next protest and counter-protest.
Regardless of all this, over the last couple of days, we showed evil that it has no place in America. Racism IS a disease, it’s born out of hatred. The cure is to spread hate’s better opposites: love, peace, and goodwill.