If you’re an American (and even if you’re not), you’re probably aware of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. A bunch of whiny titty ass babies gathered with their store-bought tiki (Polynesian) torches on the U.Va. campus in the middle of the night while the students weren’t even there, ostensibly to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, but in reality to get their Nazi/Confederacy/white supremacy cosplay on. Before I get into this heated topic, I’m forewarning you that this is going to be even more stream-of-conscious than normal, and I’m going to go to some pretty dark places. I don’t normally write when my feelings are this raw, but I need to sort through my emotions, and I do it best while writing.
When I saw the pictures of the rally on Friday night, my instinct was to sneer at how pathetic they looked. All these young white men (and they were overwhelmingly men, gee, I wonder why) shouting vile slogans, their face contorted in hatred. They were holding their tiki torches, and it’s not a coincidence that they looked like a lynch mob, and I know I was supposed to be terrified, but all I felt was disgust and contempt.
If it weren’t for the fact that they could (and did) cause irreparable harm, I would just laugh in their goddamn faces. They think they’re so powerful and patriotic, but they’re just a pathetic, whiny mess. They can’t even make their own fucking torches for fuck’s sake! That’s part of the problem, though. They feel powerless and that their lives are a waste, but instead of taking stock of their inner flaws as to why that might be, they blindly seek out others to blame for their shortcomings.
Quick side note: This is one of the downsides to toxic masculinity. If you’re not at the top of the heap, then you’re a failure as a man. If you’re a failure, that’s the worst thing in the world and unbearable, so it’s easier to say it’s someone else’s fault.
I took Saturday off from social media as is my wont, and when I returned Sunday morning, I heard about the murder by car of Heather Heyer by one of the fascist assholes. I heard that the stupid rally raged for days with increasing violence directed at the protesters. I saw some media and politicians ‘both sides’ the situation, and it made my blood boil. Hell, I saw our fucking president say that ‘many sides’ were to blame, but not once did he say Nazi or white supremacists.
We all know why. That is his base. He has actual white nationalists in his Cabinet. He believes many of the tenets the Nazis espouse, and I’m not being hyperbolic by calling them Nazis. We all know Godwin’s Law was coined by a man called Godwin who was commenting on how long it took before someone invoked Hitler or Nazis to win an argument online. Well, Mike Godwin, the man who invented the term had this to say about the assholes in Charlottesville:
By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I’m with you.
— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) August 14, 2017
If the man who invented Godwin’s Law is saying have at it, then I’m going to fucking have at it.
More to the point, if the assholes themselves are chanting literal Nazi slogans, then they’re fucking Nazis. It really is that fucking simple, and can we please stop calling them alt-right? I’ve had a problem with this term since it first came into circulation, in large part because it’s what the white supremacists started calling themselves to rebrand their hatred and bigotry. I hesitated to call them Nazis before the Charlottesville debacle because a Nazi is a very specific thing, but once they started chanting ‘blood and soil’, then they self-owned as Nazis. I still prefer calling them white supremacists, but Nazis will do in a pinch.
There’s a Twitter account, @YesYoureRacist that has been hard at work putting names to the faces of the hateful white supremacists in Charlottesville this past weekend, and it has resulted in two men getting fired, one being disowned by his own father, and a fourth crying to his local news that he’s not really an angry racist–just a loving white supremacist. Normally, I have reservations about doxxing people and getting them fired from their jobs, but not in this case. We need to nip this shit in the bud before it gets way out of hand.
I get so fucking frustrated with people who are all, “Free speech” wah, wah, wah. I had the same frustrations when they (and, let’s face it, it’s mostly white dudes) blathered on and on about it after Google dude was fired for circulating his sexist memo about why gurls r 2 dumb for SCIENCE! His defenders are moaning about how his firing would have a chilly effect on free speech.
I thought I wrote a post on this, but I expended all my energy on a multi-tweet rant instead. Here is the gist of my thoughts on the First Amendment, free speech, and firing someone for what they say/do.
All the defenders of that Google dude saying he was fired for his thought don’t understand that thoughts are linked to actions and culture.
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) August 8, 2017
I wrote a longform thinkpiece in the same vein after someone punched Richard Spencer in the face. I tried to explain why dismissing this as ‘just words’ is dangerous, and while I’m not completely satisfied with the piece, it still does get at the heart of why I believe sometimes words are more than ‘just words’. Gathering for the explicit purpose of terrifying a minority group of people should not be protected under free speech because that’s what terrorism is.
This is an incitement to violence, and it’s only the beginning. As I said in my Spencer piece, the Holocaust didn’t start with gas chambers and yellow stars. It started with rhetoric and people murmuring about how we have to be civilized. This will never fail to enrage me–the idea that I have to be civil to people who want to eradicate me from the face of the earth. We have to stomp out this shit before it gets out of hand (if that’s even possible), which means letting these miscreants know their ideas are not allowed in polite society.
I want them to feel outnumbered, afraid, and ashamed of their feelings. I want them to know they will be challenged if they utter them in public. I want them to know that there will be repercussions if they say that shit out loud, and that’s not covered by the First Amendment. I’ve never been a huge First Amendment fan, and I’m really beginning to loathe First Amendment stans. Free speech does not mean freedom from consequences to said speech. If you talk about how black people are inferior and all Jews should be exterminated, your boss has every right to say, “No, we do not want our brand to be associated with that rhetoric.”
I’m in a really dark place right now because of what happened in Charlottesville and what will happen all across the country. I don’t have time for the ‘not all whites’ and ‘this isn’t who we are’ people, even if it’s well-meaning. Every day, I worry about all my minority kin who are less fortunate than I am and who have to deal with this shit on a daily basis. Every day, I’m terrified that what has mostly been verbal will turn into physical as it now has. Every day, I wonder how big of a bloodshed will have to happen before we get our fucking shit together and do whatever we can to stop this before it reaches the Final Solution territory.
We need to name it what it is. They are not the ‘alt-right’, their self-subscribed name in their attempt to make themselves more palatable to the masses. They are white supremacists, white nationalists, Confederate LARPers, fascists, and in certain cases, Nazis. We have actual literal Nazis in our country, and we need to name them as such. The more our media refuses to call them out for being exactly what they are, the longer they can get away with pretending they’re part of the mainstream.
Part of the problem is that they may be extreme, but it’s a continuum of beliefs and not discrete units. One of the difficulties in discussing racism or any other bigotry is that people tend to look at it as either you are racist or you’re not. It’s not a question of good or bad–it’s a question of we live in a country steeped in racism, so we all absorb it to a certain extent. One of the reasons some white people have been squeamish about facing what’s happening is because they agree to certain extent with the sentiments being expressed. Not with the same passion or to the same degree, but they probably find themselves involuntarily nodding along with some of the ‘softer’ statements.
When we look at the Holocaust, we have the luxury of looking at it after the story has been written. We are now in the middle of it, and for all you woke white people out there who’ve said you’d X, Y, or Z if you were alive during the Holocaust now have to put your money where your mouth is.
I rarely call out white people because I’d rather be a mediator and try to find common ground, but I’m so fucking tired right now–and desperately afraid. White people. There is no sitting this one out. This isn’t just politics, and we desperately need you to stand up to your racist auntie, your homophobic friend, and your anti-Semitic coworkers. One reason people like these assholes feel emboldened to speak out is because they think there are more people like them than there actually are in part because not enough people push back on their bullshit.
My friend, @infinitewisdom14 on the Twitter machine wrote an impassioned, raw, and heartbreaking piece on his feelings of what happened in Charlottesville, and I feel pretty much the same. When I first saw the pictures (and I didn’t know it was happening until that moment), I was disgusted and contemptuous. When I heard about the violence, intimidation, and the murder, I was outraged. Now, I’m just incredibly sad. I’ve been cracking wise and acting hard about it as my coping mechanism, but my soul is aching.
Seeing that kind of naked hatred blatantly on display has broken me in a way I did not expect. All of the progress we’ve made under PBO is being torn away and reacted against with a fury that takes my breath away. I’m tired of being on hyper-alert and worrying about what this president is going to do next, and his supporters as well. Listening to liberal pundits can be tiresome as well because for many of them, it’s purely theoretical. “Don’t let politics take over your life.” For some of us, that’s easier said than done. Politics affect our lives directly, and it’s not just a nerdy form of football. I need for them to put some skin in the game and let us know they’re willing to be on the lines with us.
I know we have to continue standing up, speaking out, protesting, and making sure these assholes know they’re outnumbered, but I’m so. damn. weary. I would like a breath of respite, but I fear that’s not to be as long as this president is in office.