Unless your address is under a rock, then you’re familiar with the madness in Charlottesville, VA. A neo-Nazi group protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee was counter-protested by an anti-fascist group. Both groups went violent, fists, sticks and pepper spray abounded as both sides tried to stop the other.
Where things took a very bad turn was Saturday when one of the neo-Nazis decided to ram his car at a fair clip into the counter-protester group, killing one woman an injuring a dozen or so in a rather grisly video that you can find online.
Here’s our bias, up front and in the clear. We’ve got no time for “White Nationalists” the new catchphrase for “Racists” “Bigots” and “Mental Cases”.
We also have no time for violent protest, regardless of which side you might be on. Stand your ground, yes, but no violence. You have the right to protest, but you also have the obligation to protest peacefully. Loudly, certainly, but not violently. That’s the line we draw, like it or not. As soon as you go violent, you’ve lost support.
Quiet determination to be heard was the hallmark of the Freedom Riders and those who fought segregated schools, lunch counters and buses. Rosa Parks didn’t get on the bus wearing a helmet and carrying a shield: She carried her purse. James Meredith carried his books into Ole Miss, yes he was surrounded by US Marshals and the National Guard, but he didn’t raise his hand to anyone. That is the route to follow.
Here’s why: You get more sympathy and support if you remain non-violent. The common consensus is that Bull Connor lost it when he turned the firehoses on protesters in Birmingham. The Republican Party lost it when they started roughing up reporters at the RNC Convention in Chicago in 1968, then outside in the street, with the Chicago police under Mayor Daley, taking the batons to anti-war protesters. Kent State? That horror show went on for five years after the shootings, eviscerating the whole state of Ohio.
The media will cover you from head to toe if you have been peaceful and attacked, (preferably with a few bloodied heads), as long as you don’t hit back. When you hit back, no matter how deserving, you become another violent mob, not protesters, not voices wanting and deserving to be heard. Let the media do your work for you.
Line the sidewalks, link arms, don’t move, but don’t hit back. Make them come to you and make the first violent move.