Con­demn­ing hate

Record Observer - - News -

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 Al­, 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.

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