There are no two sides to the issue of condemning hate groups. There are no two sides when it comes to neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists and the KKK. When confronted with the rhetoric of hate espoused by such groups, the only response is condemnation.
Yes, they get First Amendment protections. But white supremacists and neo-Nazis are so universally recognized as hate groups, that they are likely the most frequent test case cited. All speech is protected? Yes, even, to an extent, the bile that spills forth from these groups.
And we will not call them the “alt-right” in these pages. Not ever. That term was coined by avowed white supremacist Richard Spencer, president of white supremacist think tank the National Policy Institute. The term “alt-right” aims to hide the true nature of the hate movement. You hear or read “alt-right” and you think, “They’re conservatives, just a little more conservative than the politicians in Washington.” No, that is not the case at all.
“Statues are being torn down by fat white chicks, low-T numales and their non-White auxillaries (sic). One day though, it will be statues of Martin Luther Kang (sic) that will be torn to pieces with equal gusto by our side.” That comes from an Aug. 15 post on Altright.com, which Spencer lists himself as co-editor of.
The so-called “alt-right” is a hate movement. The National Policy Institute is a hate group with such a generic name and such a generic description — “The National Policy Institute is an independent research and educational foundation.” — that you may not realize just what its agenda is should you come across it.
The “Unite the Right” rally was a gathering of hate mongers who marched in the streets carrying Tiki torches and shouting “You will not replace us,” “Jews will not replace us” and the Nazi slogan “Blood and soil.” And they also carried guns and shields and wore helmets.
What happened in Charlottesville, Va. Aug. 11 and 12 marked a sad moment in history, when our president chose not to condemn hate groups, a member of which allegedly — and we say “allegedly” only because he has not had his day in court as the U.S. Constitution requires — plowed his car into a group of anti-hate protestors, killing one. President Donald Trump’s response only got worse in the following days.
The “Unite the Right” rally was in part focused on protesting the removal of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The events of that weekend reignited the debate over statues memorializing Confederate leaders and soldiers.
Trump thinks the statues are what make our parks beautiful, not the green grass, shady trees and the views and open space the parks provide. Trump said maybe statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are next, but, despite being slaveholders, they also are the founders of this nation and the ideals it stands for.
As many have said over the past week or so, condemning hate groups is the easiest thing to do. Every elected official who failed to take the opportunity to do just that — from the president down to local officials — has let down their constituents who look to them for leadership and to set the standard of good citizenship.