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The hatred in Charlottesville does not surprise me

Ku Klux Klan members salute during a KKK rally in Justice Park on July 8, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

(RNS) — The deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., and the images of white nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis carrying Confederate and swastika flags shouting, “Jews will not replace us!” and “You will not replace us!’ has stunned millions of people throughout the world.

But I was not surprised. As a Jewish youngster growing up just a couple hours’ drive away in Alexandria, these sentiments were plain to see.

I first encountered them in the early 1950s at an outdoor revival meeting in a huge tent erected about 10 miles south of Alexandria on U.S. Route 1. While it was my first revival meeting, it was old stuff to my three high school friends — all evangelical Christians — who had invited me to join them on a hot Saturday night in May.

The all-white congregation of about 500 people (I was told the “colored” conducted separate revivals with their own preachers) sat on hard metal folding chairs. The huge number of lightbulbs strung across the top of the tent created a fire hazard and raised an already high temperature. The lighting and the natural heat produced hundreds of sweating people.

The meeting itself consisted of an emotional mix of well-known Christian hymns and a fiery sermon describing the many sins humans regularly commit. The highlight came when the white-haired preacher issued the call for people to come forward, kneel in front of the makeshift altar, and “accept Jesus into their hearts.”

Strangely, the sermon didn’t resonate too well that night. I was later told that most of the audience, many of them habitués of outdoor religious meetings, had come forward at previous revivals. My three classmates remained in their seats and did not respond to the preacher’s call.

However, the atmosphere inside the tent rapidly changed when the preacher began speaking about the “the plagues sweeping our beloved America.”

I mistakenly thought he would tick off the litany of the 10 woes that descended upon ancient Egypt listed in the biblical book of Exodus. Perhaps the speaker would release some frogs (one of the plagues) to illustrate his sermon.

But instead of the biblical catastrophes that are a part of the Passover seder narration, the animated preacher cited the modern ills ostensibly polluting America.

They included the organized labor movement, the subversive Communists working in Washington (it was the McCarthy era, after all), the Federal Reserve system, sexual promiscuity, the excess numbers of foreigners in America, the demeaning of the Confederacy, and one “plague” that really surprised me: the federal government’s trampling of “states’ rights.” It was a concept taught in some of my high school history classes as the basic reason — not slavery — for the Civil War.

Finishing up, the preacher shouted: “Let’s take back America! They have stolen America. It’s our country, our America!”

Unlike the congregation’s tepid response to the preacher’s earlier call to accept Jesus, this time the crowd arose from their chairs, began cheering, and then spontaneously started singing an emotional rendition of “Dixie,” the song most linked to the Confederacy.

I was only 16 years old that night, but the “tent people’s” sense of fury has remained with me.

The preacher’s heated cry that America had been stolen was no run-of-the-mill conversion sermon, nor was it the recitation of the traditional biblical plagues I had anticipated. Instead, it was a white Christian nationalist outburst that stunned me with its anger and rage and its not so subtle call for the violent “restoration” of a “Christian America.”

The crowd that night believed something precious had been “stolen” from them as Christians. And it had to be “reclaimed.”

That long-ago bitter sermon provides a warning as Americans ponder this question: Was the lethal violence in Charlottesville a one-time event or does it represent the future of an America religiously and politically at war with itself?

(Rabbi A. James Rudin is the American Jewish Committee’s senior interreligious adviser. His latest book is “Pillar of Fire: The Biography of Rabbi Stephen S. Wise,” published by Texas Tech University Press. The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service)

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A. James Rudin

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  • Unfortunately, while the Rabbi chronicles as accurately as he may from his own remembrance, the seedier aspects of unreconstructed Southern “evangelicalism,” and links it by implication with the events in Charlottesville, he makes no distinction between that history, today’s events, and the vast number of evangelicals who stoutly reject racism, anti-Semitism, and any other threads of human hatred, many of whom are southern evangelicals.

  • 81% of evangelicals voted for Trump according to polls. In doing so they indicated “and the… number of evangelicals who stoutly reject racism, anti-Semitism, and any other threads of human hatred” is not so “vast” after all.

  • And what would be said of them had they voted for a duplicitous, likely criminal, and utterly jaded individual like Mrs. Clinton.

  • I don’t believe that rationally any of those terms are accurate. “Duplicitous,” of course means lying. All politicians lie. It’s part of the job description. She’s certainly more honest than most. After all the investigating, if there was anything, you know she’d be doing a Martha Stewart like nickel in minimum security at the very least. “Jaded”? Not even close. She’s among the most idealistic pols around. Sure, she hedges bets – voting to invade Iraq, at first opposing gay marriage – but don’t tell me your boss doesn’t do the exact same sort of sidestepping. Mrs. Clinton is certainly no Mother Theresa but neither are you or me. Mr. Trump on the other hand is entirely amoral, self-aggrandizing, and possibly even traitorous. His assertion he only lost the popular vote because of illegal voting is damaging to the soul of the nation. No, evangelicals had a choice and they revealed themselves as the wicked souls they are in their voting.

    P.J. O’Rourke, the libertarian conservative humorist, last fall was a panelist on NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” and upon being introduced, stated his endorsement of Clinton in these terms: “Sure, both are terrible choices, but [Clinton’s] terrible within normal parameters.” People had a choice between a flawed but competent candidate many took a personal dislike to because of objection to an ambitious female and the right-wing noise machine, and a candidate who endorsed white supremacy. The choice was clear.

  • I found it tragic that it seems like little has changed. You might want to read this recent study https://www.prri.org/research/americans-views-discrimination-immigrants-blacks-lgbt-sex-marriage-immigration-reform/ which found that

    “Only slightly more than one-third (36%) of white evangelical Protestants believe there is a lot of discrimination against blacks in the U.S. today, while six in ten (60%) disagree. About four in ten (43%) Mormons and roughly half of white mainline Protestants (50%) and white Catholics
    (47%) perceive blacks facing substantial discrimination. In contrast, more than six in ten Hispanic Protestants (62%) and Hispanic Catholics (65%), and close to nine in ten black Protestants (86%) say black Americans confront a great deal of discrimination in the U.S.”

    Unfortunately it appears that vast numbers is not even close to 50% for whit evangelicals – not that any white Christians are that great.

  • Remember, all of the violence is left wing violence. And don’t forget that Alex Jones, darling of the far right, is claiming that as a good Christian, he can only testify that the Nazis were in fact paid by the splc and probably George soros to be there.

  • Edward. The comment is simply unworthy of you. Likely criminal?
    Utterly jaded? She stayed in her marriage, unlike Trump.

  • I grew up with the casual anti-Semitism of the 50s. I was more than once called a dirty Jew, and other things far less attractive.

    During the sixties, I was regularly attacked and beaten for being “different”– read, obviously gay. It only stopped when I allowed my fury to begin, and I started to fight back without a concern for my fear or my safety. At that time, I listened to the Christian Right scream their hatred that those uppity negroes should even begin to think that they might be equal to some iggerunt white redneck from Alabama.

    In the seventies, I listened to F. Bailey Smith, then president of the Southern Baptists, declare that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” Few chastised him. I listened to Anita Bryant, another good Christian, use her career as a means to attack gay people for daring to claim both humanity and equality. She was more than willing to lie for Jesus, and proclaim her holiness. The more things change…

    In the eighties I listened to former racist Jerry Falwell and his desire to “take back America” from those dirty figs. Power, money, and dominion were his goals, not holiness, not Christ’s love. I listened to so-called Christians rejoice that those dirty figs were getting their just rewards, as my brothers, my dear friends, died from a horrible disease. I didn’t hear Reagan say a thing as thousands of good people died.

    In the nineties, I listened to so called Christians debate the merits of my life, my desire for family, my willingness to serve my country, and decide that I really had better be kept down. They make an awful lot of money doing that, and they thought they had a winner. They were outraged that more and more people disagreed. But not enough people disagreed, so they thought they were winners still.

    In the new millennium, I listened to those same so-called Christians call my life, my soul, and my relationship a threat to everything good and holy, a danger to life, faith, morality, heterosexuality, marriage, children, freedom, and civilization itself. They said I must be stopped from desiring equality, because surely, if I were treated as they insist on being treated, god would express his wrath. Falwell, and that perverted old fossil, Robertson, jointly announced the the deaths of thousands on 9/11 was just their perverted god showing how p*ssed off he was that gay people were finally being treated equally. How many millions, if not billions, did those Christians spend to insure those results? And how many children died of starvation while they were doing it?

    And now we find that the same old Jew hatred, the same old fig hatred, the same old hatred for everyone different than white, heterosexual (so they claim, but I have ‘me doubts’) Christian America, have a new, Orange face, wearing god knows what on its head.

    This is the dark underbelly of America. It’s there and it always has been. As they lament and rage that things have changed, they voted for a man that promised to bring back an America that won’t be coming back, if indeed, it was really ever here.

    And thus they dare to be open about what fires their dark hearts. It infuriates them that a black man rose above them, that a fig could be their equal, that a woman might claim authority, that someone who isn’t Christian might dare to live openly.

    Sick and sad.

  • Re: “This is the dark underbelly of America. It’s there and it always has been. As they lament and rage that things have changed, they voted for a man that promised to bring back an America that won’t be coming back, if indeed, it was really ever here.” 

    Well said! These folk think of themselves as downtrodden, as martyrs, as people who’ve been destroyed by the civil rights movement, by Leftists, by atheists, by figs, by that Kenyan usurper and secret Muslim Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his Obamacare … you name it. But really, none of those things have harmed them at all. What’s worse, as you suggest, the “great America” they want restored, never really existed in the first place. 

    Whatever standing these militant white nationalists had in society was built on a flawed foundation of hate and repression. That foundation couldn’t hold up in a country whose Constitution grants civil rights equally to all of its citizens, and it couldn’t withstand the inevitable pressure of history. All these folk can do is repeatedly shove cinder blocks of sanctimonious outrage back into that foundation after they crumble. Ultimately, it’s all they have. 

    They’ve already lost … but don’t know it. They have no idea what else to do with themselves. So they rally when the statues of Confederate heroes they worship are taken down, then drive cars into people who insolently dare protest their doing so. 

    What’s really frightening here is that the very same fury and outrage that led to the murder of Medgar Evers in 1963 (among many other such events) is alive and well. It never left. It was always there, even if it (at times) it seemed to have diminished. Nothing has changed in this regard, even after the passage of c. 2 generations. 

  • I guess the big question is has anything really changed? The anti-demonstrators countering the rally would indicate yes attitudes have changed for some, but not enough.

    We are all outraged at the fact that hate groups feel emboldened to spread their hate without apology. Getting society away from such ideology we must all STOP putting these hate groups into a political party and start pushing them out together, bipartisanly.

    The real question for me is how do we as a society break this “tradition” of hate speech like this? A sociological and hence behavioral look at the strong binds that persist from what was the Confederacy. This lingering scar from over 150 years ago is still dividing this nation. When a people, such as the south, endure such horrors coupled with a resounding defeat of everything that group believed, it naturally brings people together for comfort and support. We see this as well in all segments of society such as 9/11, Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, where devastating changes bind groups often times for one’s entire life.

    How can we help the South move beyond the Confederate mentality, with Confederate traditions and beliefs? Counter protests are valuable, but lack the lingering ability to change hearts and minds which is the only way this country will begin to move away from hate filled and discriminatory ideologies.

    I guess I’m just tired of being outraged and disgusted, the protesting and violence and am looking for some real substance in ridding society of this plague. It will not be done through counter hate, shaming, but through the long and hard process of winning over people to how destructive this all is and how it has zero benefit even to those who think they are “loosing” something and therefore believe hate is the only answer.

  • We should note that all sides that participated in the violence did so out of hatred. THat is not to say that all sides are equally guilty. The instigation for the violence was the public expression of abhorrent racial views. And as much as that public expression is their right, their views are as wrong.

  • I think that there has to be a ground-swelling of support for doing something effective. I remember one teacher who introduced an exercise to her class called Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes to build understanding of what it was like to be non-white. I think of Truth and Reconciliation programs – including Germany’ which also introduced the same type of process after WW2 – which develop strategic actions for government to implement. Perhaps a constraint on free speech by introducing the offense of hate speech. Canada held a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the treatment of Aboriginal Persons which has already some impact.

  • While your first statement is possibly somewhat true, I think outrage on the one side is a better descriptor. The last Facebook post of the one young lady who was killed read “If you are not outraged, you’re not paying attention”.

  • As Someone else said, what happened in Virginia has flipped over the rocks and hopefully the blind will now see.

    What is really astounding is the legitimization of people as one side who share ideologies that 75 years ago, the West went to war against – six years and countless dead and injured. Perhaps because the blood of the Holocaust was not on the hands of the West, there was no sense that that hate of others would flourish across the sea. But then no self-awareness as to any parallels as to the treatment of black soldiers fighting as well.

  • Linda,
    I agree that outrage is a good descriptor to use.

    The group that was not represented or underreported were those who strongly oppose the racism of the White spuremacy/identity movements but do so without violence. Being a Leftist and having gone to a number of leftist protests, there are a number, certainly not all or the majority, of leftist groups that feel obligated or desire to battle it out in the streets with the white supremacist/ identity crowd. But suppose there was no such battling, is it possible that there would also be no driving a car into the crowd?

  • Not disagreeing with you, Curt. And my memory may be bad. but when was the last time that anyone but a religious nutcase slaughtered the innocents at a public event, as happened in Virginia. Manchester, France, and Belgium? When was the last time a leftist drive a car into the middle of a political protest?

  • I understand that. I also understand it’s changing the subject from a micro level to fascist and authoritarianism on a macro, political level.

  • And I’m not saying that that is what you are doing. There was no barb intended in your direction.

  • “the vast number of evangelicals who stoutly reject racism”

    Looking forward to hearing from them.

  • “Keep counting”

    Ok. One. Do I hear two? Do I hear two?
    If any of the evangelical leadership issue a public condemnation, does that count as one or more than one?

  • “Leftist” in the United States tends to describe a tiny minority of extremists. “The Left” was decimated by the Palmer Raids, McCarthyism, and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. There are some around, but they are more like religious cultists than political actors.
    In the United States there are probably something like 100,000 right-wing extremists for every leftist.
    There have been tyrants who have been leftists, rightists, and everything in between. Stalin is sometimes called a leftist, but he was very conservative, especially in his adopting the “communism in one country” policy. Mao Zedog, probably, would qualify on the basis of his writings. What about Putin? He is a communist, albeit one allied with the Russian Orthodox Church and social conservatism. Ceaucesceau, Castro, and others have similarities.
    Tito was seen as a tyrant by some, a liberator by others, and a traitor to Stalinists for his “Third Way” approach.
    Politicians like the Clintons, Obama, Jeremy Corbyn, etc., are not leftists. They are at the most liberals, slightly left of center. Reagan was a far right ideologue but governed as a centrist except on things like busting unions.
    “Pointing to leftist tyrants” to make an argument is kind of like saying you hate redheads and trying to support it by saying you hate the movies of Woody Allen, Natasha Lyonne, and Rita Hayworth.

  • Well, to me, one is one, but as a measure of influence, hypothetically it could affect others.

  • I am quite a fan of P.J. and my library holds several of his volumes, but in this instance I chose to disagree with him, at least at the time I read his latest volume. However, I will politely disagree entirely with your characterization of Mrs. Clinton. I find it far too generous. But then we are all entitled too our own point of view and interpretation of events. That doesn’t really make me a fan of the present chief executive.

  • I’m not. However, we should never forget that Jerry Falwell Sr. and Pat Robertson got their starts in politics as white supremacists back in the 1970s when that was considered the way to be by the majority of Southerners. What got them to organize was not any perception of morality or the lack of it, but money. Bob Jones University lost federal funding due to its segregationists policies and ideology. They didn’t want the government encroaching on their segregationist academies.

  • After about the 25th time in arguing with people opposed to same sex marriage and discussing Loving v. Virginia and how mixed race marriages used to be prohibited by law, I stopped being surprised when they’d say, “Oh, I’m against interracial marriage, too.”

  • I give Mrs. Clinton a great deal of credit for her adherence to her marital vows, but as a politician I genuinely believe she gave up both her idealism and integrity a long time ago. I think there is good evidence that she is in fact jaded, etc. Though I offer the caveat that I often aver, that is, that none of us is wholly objective. But I will say that I can take your admonition in better spirit than I might receive it from others. That may or may not redound to my credit, depending on who’s keeping score.

  • That’s fine but it saddens me because I find her to be very admirable and I cannot believe that is a rational judgment. Sort of like how Chuck D sang “…a brother like me said, “Well Farrakhan’s a prophet and I think you ought to listen to what he can say to you…” And yes, I know plenty about Farrakhan’s shortcomings. We all have them.

  • Your last half sentence is troubling, not only on the question of race, which is never an objective consideration in and of itself, nor with respect to the disparaging of other believers, who presumably are members of the same spiritual Body of Christ to which you belong. I don’t expect that all Christians will agree on every jot and tittle, and we are called to occasionally admonish one another, in the spirit of grace. I would be curious, and I’m being slightly sarcastic here in order to make a point, but what sect or branch of Christianity would you identify specifically as being “that great?” I prefer to take people one on one and not lump people like cattle into boxcars. Each one is accountable on his/her own to their God. Though I think it evident that, on both matters of doctrine and practice, some sects and denominations, bear better fruit than others. But that too can be a subjective response on my part. My ultimate point is that saint or sinner, none of us is perfect, and each of us would do well to be mindful of that.

  • Kagaroo52,
    You don’t leftist events, do you? Because if you did, you would see that all of this deduction is not confirmed by the facts on the ground. Not that there are many leftists. But it is that the number of right-wing extremists is equal to or less than the number of leftists.

    And, yes, unfortunately we have to count followers of Lenin and Stalin with the Leftists. For though they did not implement a socialist structure, they did attempt to follow some form of socialist ideology. Certainly the structures of their government were conservative, but their professed and somewhat implemented ideology was more toward socialism, but it was not toward a Marxist form of socialism. Thus you include Lenin, Stalin, Castro, and eventually Chavez as Left-wing tyrants–Chavez became one as he failed to implement any semblance of a proletariat dictatorship.

    And I fully agree that politicians like the CLintons, Obama, etc are not leftists. They are liberals. Don’t know enough about Corbyn to make that judgment.

  • Based on that survey, none. I found that disappointing in that my expectations would have been if Christians truly believe we are made in God’s image, that we are one body that the person sitting on either side of the pew doesn’t believe that race matters. That means we are not really brothers in Christ because we do not listen openly or care to listen.

  • David Duke and other neo-nazis have been applauding Donald Trump as of late. Including congratulating him for not referencing or condemning them, even after a terrorist attack.

    We have no sane leadership in this country.

    “and the vast number of evangelicals who stoutly reject racism, anti-Semitism, and any other threads of human hatred, many of whom are southern evangelicals.”

    The good news is some of their leaders have condemned the attack. Franklin Graham was not one of them. I have never had anything nice to say about the guy
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/will-the-church-reckon-with-charlottesville/536718/

  • Yes, Edward. But with a few notable exceptions, they are quite loud in their approval and support of antigay hatred and the usual homobigotry, trying to enforce their vicious prejudices, disguised as “sincere religious belief”, in to the law that governs all of us,

    And as far as those exceptions go, they are again nearly unanimous in attacking them: Jen Hatmaker, david Gushee, the old guy from a few weeks ago– Gibson? And a host of others.

    Evangelical hands are from from unspotted.

  • In fact, both Antifa and BLM, two major groups of Alt-Left thugees with proven track records of hatred, bigotry, assaults, violence and intimidation, came out “in force” (Newsweek) along with allied gangs to mix it up with the equally hateful bigoted, violent thugee KKK-Nazi’s and their allied gangs..

    Yelling, cursing, punching, weapons openly being used on ALL sides against people. The mutual violence, screaming, and weaponry by all sides were clearly witnessed, photographed and/or reported. Police had to deal with all of them.

    Yet I’m watching “CBS This Morning”, today, and they said absolutely NOTHING about this information. They even quoted a person who claimed the counter-protesters (whose names were never given), were “peaceful.”
    Amazing. Lying on national TV.

    Plenty of media and political pressure now for Trump to denounce ONLY ONE side of the tragedy. A tragedy being politically exploited.

  • It’s amazing how you can cough up that rant and completely avoid the out and out terror attack by a white supremacist during the protests that killed one person and left 19 severely injured.

    It is genuinely strange seeing you defend white supremacists. But that is what you are doing here. I’m sorry but there is nothing from the counter protesters actions which come close to that.

    How many neo nazis reported injuries during all this intense melee you are pretending happened with counter protestors? None that even they were admitting to. Yet you put them on the same level as the people run over by a car which included a fatality.

    It’s impossible to take you seriously here.

  • Spuddie, you choose to exclusively focus on one crazy guy’s decision to reach for a bigger, faster weapon during an all-out, openly-weaponized street fight between three of the most hateful, bigoted, violent, unpredictable thugee gangs in America — the KKK-Nazi’s, the Antifa’s, and the Black Lives Matter.

    I have no problem denouncing the first thugee gang. Let’s see if you’ve got the courage to denounce the other two.

  • HOW CAN YOU IGNORE IT???

    It resulted in the ONLY death and serious injuries from the whole protest/counterprotests.

    Whatever you think of the counter protesters, it wasn’t them who escalated efforts to murder. Yes all of the white supremacists are responsible here. They aren’t even trying to disavow this person. They are applauding Trump ignoring the incident.

    “I have no problem denouncing the first thugee gang. ”

    Except you haven’t done so in any way. You seem to have a problem denouncing a terror attack by a white supremacist and are trying to minimize or ignore it. Moreover, those KKK-Nazis approved of the action and approve of efforts
    like yours to handwave its significance here. You are doing the work of
    white supremacists. Plain and simple.

  • Let’s think about Heather Heyer, who was murdered ON AMERICAN SOIL while fighting Nazis.

    Let’s think about the photo above, Mr. BLack Man. WHite people not only defending the heritage of the Old South, and its penchant for owning people just like you, but also displaying the regalia of a movement which used to burn crosses on lawns and lynch people, just like you.

    Let that sink in for a while.

    Take all of the time you need.

  • I take him seriously. as long as it is right wing, our boy there will be happy to defend it.

  • I had two uncles who participated in the Normandy landing and made it home, even though one was held as a POW by the Wathen SS. Anyone who supports these Kluckers, Nazis, etc are not 1) patriots and 2) Christian.

  • In reaction, Merck CEO Ken Frazier had this to say about Trump’s behavior”

    “I am resigning from the President’s American Manufacturing Council.

    Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs.

    American’s leaders must honor our fundamental value by clearly rejecting expression of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

    To which Trump replied by Tweet:

    “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

    ..
    This was somebody Trump brought in specifically to stump for “Big Pharma”.

  • Only one of the sides participated in murder/attempted murder or condoned such actions. There is no equivalence here.

  • Yes. The big rule of Trump is Never Cross Trump. He will soon show you what he is made of, and what his diapers are full of.

  • Well, if I may say so, I know a little bit more about THEIR penchants than you do.
    I know a bit more about how their specific poison gives life to Jim Crow and bends small-town rural life and families in a septic, corrosive direction.

    You, as a white man, as a gay activist, never even got a personal taste of it. You never will.

    But no complaints Ben — your OWN life circumstances, as you have related them, didn’t and doesn’t need any more sources of poison and pain. So I’m glad you didn’t have to breathe Jim Crow’s atmosphere on top of everything else. Might have been too much, honestly.

    We all agree that one man murdered Heather Heyer. But according to photographs, videos, and news reports, there were THREE big-time violent bigoted poisonous haters with fighting & weapons. Not one, three. I already said their names, and you know their violence equally led to Heyer’s death. Period.

  • You know Ben, a classic hallmark of the KKK and other racists, is their distinctive use of the term “boy.”

    A Freudian slip on your part, perhaps?

  • Had to quietly chuckle on that one, Spuddie.

    Trump does have a real Tweeting problem, but goodness, if you DO happen to have a genuinely serious weakness while publicly attacking or pressuring Trump, he can Tweet-Kung-Fu on you with the most deadly accuracy.

    Even during the campaign, people were noticing this unusual aspect of Trump.

  • Yes, Trump has shown he is more comfortable tweeting like a 14 year old than actually acting in a manner befitting his office.

  • Oh, no reason for stress here, Spuddie. If you want me to repeat all the condemning adjectives and sentences I’ve specifically used in THIS forum against the KKK-Nazi’s, I’ll simply copy and paste them for you.

    Then I’ll ask you again to please denounce the OTHER two specific thugee gangs.

    Trump has done his part now. Gave you exactly what you want.
    (And I already did my part, I only need to copy and paste ’em again.)

    Looking for you to do your part too, Spuddie. You need to say something.

  • A white person living in Mississippi and Louisiana all my life, I have been hardpressed to find very many fellow citizens who denounce racism and bigotry that plagues our society. To the contrary there are so many ways I have seen it celebrated, pertpetuated and permutated as legitimate attitudes and right perspectives.

  • Good for you!!!

    No, actually, I used it quite intentionally, and wondered whether you would catch it. As spuddie pointed out, you seemed far more concerned about those bad, bad, bad “leftist” protestors than you were about the far, far, far right people who are happy to demonstrate that under the luminance of your great and good friend 2Rump, they are more than willing to climb out from under the slimy rocks they have been hiding under. And certainly more than you were concerned about Heather Heyer.

    You can call it a none to subtle commentary on your willingness to excuse the excesses of the right, and what that will bring you should they ever achieve their dreams. You are of course aware of their initial shouts of “Eff you, faggots” as they met the initial counter protestors. They like us no more than they like you. Or Jews. Or brown people.

    Just for the record, I deplore and oppose all violence, physical especially, but the kind of spiritual violence you seem enamored of. BLM may not be perfect, but they address a legitimate concern– the murder of black men by policemen. The police used to arrest gay men for the crime of walking down the street.

    As for the antifa, they seem to be far more mindless anarchists than anything else, and no better than the fascisti that claim to oppose. I wish to hell they would just stay home. In fact, I wish they would all stay home, because they only lend the fascist mentality a sheen of respectability they couldn’t enjoy otherwise.

    Does that answer your question?

  • Count me. I have grown from early teens to my sixties being more and more resistant as I grow more cognizant to the ambience and ubiquity of racist vehemence that pervades the society around me. I can’t say that I have been totally non-compliant but as I grow more in awareness of how it even affects me I am more able to allow it to be plucked from my psyche. I now call myself a “racist in recovery” and hope and work for the day when it is only a memory in a humbled society.

  • Remember that the Bible is comprised of well close to 90%, if not more, admonition for injustice, unfaithfulness, and bigotry, not aimed at outsiders, but aimed at those who claim loyalty to the God of Bible.

  • Example: in 1970, four antiwar protestors were killed by the National Guard at Kent State University. Everyone knows this, everyone remembers the photograph of the female student weeping over the body of her fallen friend. What few people know or remember is that the protests themselves were pretty violent. They had burned down the ROTC building the night before the shootings. Bottles were thrown at the police. Local businesses were threatened with violence if they didn’t put up antiwar signs.
    But none of that mattered much after four unarmed college students were shot to death by our own military, on our own soil. The narrative changed, the perspective shifted. Petty fistfights and bat-waving in the streets doesn’t compare to a ISIS-style car-ramming terrorist attack.

  • Sure, let’s talk about Jim Crow. But let’s talk about the gay version. You know, the one where people hiding their bigotry behind their religious beliefs use the law as a means of expressing their displeasure with them uppity figs.

    Let’s talk about the Texas Supreme Court unanimously upholding a law that says the benefits of marriage need not extend to gay people.

    Or the South Carolina law negating civil rights protections for gay people, under the guise of protecting innocent children from non existent trans predators.

    Or don’t ask don’t tell, which kicked gay people out of the military under the non-existent problem of “unit cohesion”, using exactly the same reasoning that segregated the army until 1948. Turns out there is no problem.

    Or the Texas and Kansas laws which criminalized gay people, but not heterosexuals committing the exact same acts.

    About 35 years ago, after a group of allegedly straight boys threw a gay man off a bridge in Arizona, after beating him, so that he drowned, the judge gave them a light sentence, noting they were good boys who had never been in trouble before. Good boys. Murderous good boys. With issues.

    I’ve been refused service a couple of times because I dared to be obviously gay. I know men who were kicked out of the military, not because they were out, but because someone with a grudge outed them.

    I could go on and on for the next hour about the Fairy Crow laws, and the people who love them. That is not to negate what has been done to black people under color of law, but merely illustrates the mentality of it.

  • Of course I would catch your terminology, Ben. I hope YOU caught what I was saying too, because that was likewise deliberately chosen for one person. (But without spite.)

    The reality is that every group, every gang who has issues with anger, hatred, bigotries, violence, and intimination-tactics, has come out from under the rocks within the past decade. GW Bush brought out some of ’em, Barack Obama brought out some of ’em, and Donald Trump brought out some of ’em.

    They’re all out there now. And not one of ’em follows Dr. Martin Luther King’s non-violent pathway. Weapons on all sides.

    But there’s one more factor. There’s a liberal PC media out there that Trump openly defeated, and THEY want revenge. So in their world — your leftist pro-gay PC world Ben — the KKK/Nazi hate, bigotry and violence must be denounced by the Prez, but the Antifa/BLM hate, bigotry and violence must not be mentioned, nor even their NAMES be mentioned, by the Prez.

    Control the narrative, control the nation. That’s what your side want.

  • Just saw a photo of one of the black counter-protesters on TV, Arbustin. He was holding a big chain attached to a metallic pole. That thing could kill both you and me in one angry swing. And he sure looked angry.

    But like I said — control the narrative, control the nation.

    Remember Kent State? You’re absolutely right, protesters did total arson on the ROTC building. Direct Attacks on the police. Local businesses terrorized by liberals — either put up anti-war signs or we declare violent war on YOU.

    But Neil Young didn’t sing about any of that, did he? Nope, he put out a ONE SIDED NARRATIVE that all the radio stations played over and over. TV news focused the story on the National Guard and what they did.

    And now we’re seeing the one-sided narrative strategy) again. Because it works with a busy, occupied, not-much-time, ill-informed media-consumer base.
    (PS — people were using cars as weapons long before ISIS was invented.)

  • Cars have probably been used as deadly weapons for as long as they’ve been invented. However, their specific use in terrorism has recently been popularized by ISIS. They have specifically put out calls to conduct car rammings. And their inspirees have taken up that call, in Israel and Europe. That’s not to say that the Charlottesville attacker was inspired by ISIS, but it is an eerie parallel.

  • Let’s see if Alwayspuzzled will even bother to acknowledge and say a sincere thank-you, for yours’ and Edward’s clear and specific rejections of racism. Really wanna see this.

    I’d offer mine as a third vote, but I do not trust that Alwayspuzzled is sincere about reciprocating.

  • This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the current events. Typical smoke screen tactics used by the alt-right & their apologists.

  • You made sense until your fourth paragraph, and then you went off the right wing rails.

    The liberal PC media is a myth. Your leftist pro-gay Pc ideA is also a myth. They’re not out to get Trump; he’s doing it all by himself, aided and abetted by the values voters who would like to see people like me in jail, or at least, locked in a closet. I’m hardly a leftist, but I admit to being a center left liberal. What some people call PC, other people call the court of public opinion.

    the bigotry that you decry is simply the bigotry that might be directed at you. You don’t give a small Goddam about the bigotry directed at me.

    In fact, find a mirror.

  • Oh hell no! You’re drawing an equivalence between “Antifa” (=Anti-fascists) and fascism? Did you get your moral compass at Bargain Bin?

  • How is it that you can even say the phrases “Moral Compass” and “Antifa” in the same breath? No way!!

  • I agree, but the failure to agree at the level where infighting becomes the prevalent landscape that we portray to the world, we have failed in our responsibility to the world.

  • I have no disagreement with your third sentence. And I hold no brief with David Duke, for the record. I think you probably knew that. Cheers.

  • There is some wheat among the tares. Would that there was ever more wheat and fewer tares.

  • Bear in mind that those students were shot by a group of “weekend warriors” who likely lacked the comprehensive crowd control training and experience which would have probably led to greater restraint. The were indeed “military,” but not the best military candidates for the role they were called to fulfill; An experienced MP Battalion would have been a better unit for the purpose. But that’s history. I abhor all violence in “favor” of a cause, but quite agree that the car-ramming was reprehensible as well as cowardly. Prosecute the miscreant to the full extent of the law.

  • actually, he’s a spoiled toddler with an addition to twiddling his thumbs at all hours. Guess his mistress needs her beauty sleep.

  • You are correct, the presidential investigation into the Kent State and other “campus unrest” of the late 60s and early 70s found that the situation, while dangerous, did not call for lethal force, there was never an order to open fire, and that on the whole, control of the rules of engagement was inadequate.

  • So you essentially support wide-open, video-documented verbal and physical violence in the streets, by proven hateful violent extremists, as long as nobody gets killed.

    Sheesh!

  • Spuddle,
    Not, to a certain point, there is an equivalence. Some from the anti-fa and other leftist brigades attacked the alt-right conglomerate. It matters not why because those who were attacked have freedom of speech.

    Now if you compare the nonviolent leftist and alt-right protesters, you have a different issue.

    Spuddle, sorry, but I have seen anti-fa protesters in person. That means that I know that some, not all, of them want to relive the street fighting that occurred between communists and Nazis in 1920s and early 1930s. And not only is there a moral equivalence there, history tells us that such fighting did not stop fascism.

  • ” It matters not why because those who were attacked have freedom of speech.”

    When people bring guns to a rally, they cross lines concerning free speech which remove any notion of clean hands and civil liberties. Open displays of weapons at a rally are intended to both intimidate others and to keep the police from effective crowd control. Free speech is not a right to threaten others with physical violence. Be it explicit with threats or implicit with displays of weapons in public gatherings.

  • Spuddle,
    First, whose line did they cross? And how is it our responsibility to enforce these lines and punish those who cross them?

    Second, street fighting is repeating a failed tactic from history.

    Third, also, how wise is it for unarmed people to attack armed people?

  • Once you bring guns to a protest, you no longer can rightfully claim its a peaceful gathering. You are trying to provoke violence or threats of violence at such events.

    Street fighting is what brought Nazis to power, so of course they like using it.

    If one truly believes in the democratic system and rule of law, one is willing to show enough courage to protest unarmed and unafraid of the consequences of doing so. The Nazis clearly did not believe in the system nor had courage of their convictions.

  • Spuddle,
    Them having guns does not force anyone to use violence to challenge them. In fact, challenging such people is rather foolish.

    And when I talked about trying a failed tactic from history, I was talking about the Communists failed to stop fascism by fighting it in the streets. Just because some Nazis want to use tactic, doesn’t mean that we have to respond in kind.

    Finally, I agree with what you said about the Nazis in your last paragraph. But the issue for me isn’t about the behavior of the Nazis, it is about the behavior of the rest of the people, especially those on the left.

  • Having guns means you are not a peaceful protest. It means you are willing to display them in a threatening and intimidating manner. It turns you from a peaceful march to a lynch mob or a show of force. Armed protest is bullcrap. It’s large scale menacing.

    You want moral high ground and clean hands leave the guns at home. Bring guns, expect violence or worse expect to provoke violence.

    Your second amendment rights do not extend to forming an armed private militia or threats to the public.

  • Spuddle,
    It is the use of weapons, not the possession of them, that means you are not a peaceful protester. And provided that one does not give a person with a weapon reason to use it, intimidation from the presence of weapons can be mitigated. IN addition, people can use what is commonly thought of as non-weapons to attack others.

    Though I fully agree that people should leave their weapons at home, bringing them does not imply violence.

  • Hate should never surprise anyone. Love and compassion and mercy – now those are surprising.

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