On Saturday August, 12 2017, 32-year-old Heather Heyer lost her life for the cause of liberty. Heather was mowed down in cold blood by a fascist participant of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA. Also on Saturday, Virginia State Police Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, almost 41, were killed when their helicopter crashed at the outskirts of the University of Virginia as they patrolled the white supremacist protests by air trying to protect their citizenry from the hateful onslaught.
A quote attributed to Sinclair Lewis, though truly of unknown origin, states “when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” In some ways and in some places this may be true, but in Charlottesville the fascists weren’t so coy. They came not with old glory and the cross of Christ, but with the southern cross (better known as the confederate flag) and with swastikas.
They came ostensibly because a statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee was being removed from public property, but their chants gave away their real intent. These neo-Nazis, neo-confederates, KKK members, white supremacists and white nationalists goose-stepped to the chants of “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil” as they made their way through a community that didn’t want them there. Blood and soil was a popular Third Reich slogan. In German it reads “blut und boden” and it refers to what the Nazis called “pure blood” and the territory belonging to those who have it.
Both the Mayor of Charlottesville and the Governor of Virginia have strongly condemned these disgraceful acts, as have countless Congressmen and Congresswomen and Senators, but what has the President of the United States had to say? To quote Trump, “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging them? What about the alt-left that came charging at the – as you say, the alt-right?” In the same press conference Trump stated, “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.” Finally, Trump said, “. . . But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides . . .”
“Very fine people on both sides?” I wonder if the generation that Tom Brokaw wrote about in his book The Greatest Generation who fought, bled and died to destroy the brutal tyranny of Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito would agree that fascists were “very fine people?” But we really shouldn’t be surprised by Trump’s responses. After all, he has fascist ideologues in his administration (read regime), the most notable example of which is Steve Bannon, one of Trump’s most trusted advisors and confidants. From the moment Trump declared his candidacy, he has stoked white racial resentment and patriarchal hate by attacking immigrants, belittling minorities, speaking of the United States in terms of a Christian theocracy, and publicly speaking of and treating women as sex objects.
Less than 7 months into this presidency the forces of hate are in the streets. They’re being given cover by the President and they feel emboldened as never before. Trump didn’t create these people, but he’s granted them credence and a megaphone. Brown shirts have been replaced by polos and SS caps by MAGA hats. Those who sympathize with a secessionist movement of states in the 1860s who seceded from the Union, as stated in their letters of secession, to preserve and expand the institution of African slavery, are joining forces with these fascists under the sympathetic nose of the Oval Office.
Trump has paid lip service to the condemnation of racism, but he knows where his white bread is buttered. He knows that these people marching in Charlottesville – and maybe soon in a neighborhood near you – are his base of support, the infamous 38% - 39% of those polled who never waver in standing behind him. They believe firmly that when Trump states that he’ll “Make America Great Again,” he means he’ll make America a white, evangelical Protestant Christian, male-dominated, straight, cisgender, fossil fuels soaked right-wing paradise. And why would they think otherwise? It seems Trump has done all he can to make that deranged vision a reality. Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke said, “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.” We in the resistance must stand in the way of the fulfillment of such promises. Nothing less than our secular constitutional democratic republic and the future of our children and their freedoms are at stake!