| 03.17.2018

Extremism in Charlottesville — Addressing the uncomfortable conversation about the Charlottesville riots


Saying the name Charlottesville, Virginia, now feels a bit heavy on the tongue, complete with a bad aftertaste on the side.

Nearly a week ago, it was requested that a Robert E. Lee statue at Emancipated Park beremoved, beckoning riots and protests involving Neo-Nazis, producing an extreme environment — a certain type of extreme.

This kind of extreme can easily be found at a party while everyone is having a good time and out of nowhere someone drops the “a- bomb” — “Well, I think abortion should be illegal.”

And, when that a-bomb drops, it’s time to wiggle away, knowing that nothing good is going to come out ofa dead party conversation.

Now, imagine that viewpoint expanded in a group with beliefs laid out in black and white.

A group like Vangaurd America protestors that believe Caucasian is a pure race. A group armed with shields and weapons yelling and signaling hatred toward any color other than white. These people, under the guise of patriotism, are nothing but racial purists.

Vangaurd American member James Alex Fields Jr. accelerated his car into opposing protestors at the site, killing a bystander named Heather Heyer.

Then Antifa protestors hauled down a confederate soldier and attacked a photographer while opposing racial extremists.

The Nazi “paramilitary force” were in formation, like they had seen the “300” lm to help prac- tice beforehand, said BuzzFeed reporter Blake Montgomery.

Antifascist groups blocked this fascist formation from the park as police observed the brawl on the sidelines, said blogger Hunter Wallace.

Each group dug a new border and division into the country. Then a war ensued on social media.

President Donald Trump’s statement did not immediately acknowledge racial extremist protestors as the main cause of the Charlottesville violence.

Many Republicans defended fascists and any extremists, citing the right to speak, while Democrats refused the idea these racist groups should not have freedom of speech since it will only lead to violence.

Wait, why are we defending either extremists?

Republicans ask why Islamic protestors weren’t covered by the press and democrats accuse the republicans of backing Ku Klux Klan members.

It’s a whirlpool, constant bickering without the other party desiring to take the blame.

We should just face it — this is the ugly side of our country.

There are actual people carry- ing swastika ags down the streets of Charlottesville.

It is a daily puzzle of when to get involved or let it happen.

Social media is not the right platform. When was the last time the comment section actually changed one’s mind? Behind a keyboard, an activist will not have their beliefs challenged and likely remain in an echo chamber.

Get to the computer, get involved in that uncomfortable conversation at a party when the awkward beat drops, just not with those who refuse to listen and live only in absolutes.

Do not use protesting as a weapon, instead use it as a shield for the mistreated.

Do as Michelle Obama said — “when they go low, we go high.”

Catherine Keenan can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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