On one hand, I want to mock and disparage so-called Confederates and Nazis for having the audacity to think they can “win back” their country, when they picked two of the all-time loser groups, which most sensible people agree suck.
On the other, these people didn’t emerge from the ground like cicadas — they were (mostly) born and bred right here in our beloved United States. They are a product of their environment. Luckily I haven’t crossed paths with many of them, but they haven’t been invisible. One of their leaders, their inspirations, their symbols of strength, is in the White House.
I think of it a little like gun violence, which happens all the time but is reported almost in passing, in the abstract, until it makes national headlines when someone shoots a bunch of people at once. White nationalism and supremacy and terrorism — this mindset and its ramifications are all present in every day life. They are codified. They doesn’t make the news because “White people still succeeding massively at the expense of other people” isn’t a catchy headline — or news at all.
Charlottesville was an outlier only in that it garnered national attention and shone a spotlight directly on the hatred and ignorance of this group of people, and on the men who have built their power base by relying on the support of that group.
I can only hope that as we recognize the senselessness of the mindset that Jews and blacks and transgender people (and any other group that has been targeted as a convenient scapegoat) are inherently evil and the source of all our issues, we also recognize that hate only fuels hate, and that those who see the bigger (and clearer, and more accurate — in my opinion) picture are willing to do the real work to eradicate it. That means education, advocacy, and exercising our rights to vote and to make our voices heard. Supporting real news. Having uncomfortable conversations. Standing up for what is right, the right way.
Because as much as I want to punch a Nazi, deport a Confederate, and/or imprison a white nationalist terrorist, I also don’t want one more person to die needlessly, fighting what feels like an ancient battle against forces fueled by ignorance and encouraged by rich people who would rather see poor whites beat up poor blacks than for them to recognize who their real oppressors are. That’s the real story of this nation, of us, and I’m tired of hearing it.