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Saturday, August 19, 2017

No Man’s Land



Remember when hating fascism didn’t make you a liberal? WTF? Over.
-- Shannyn Moore, Alaskan journalist, writer.


Slavery.

Horrible, right?

I mean, right?

Sure, of course. Of course.

Slavery. We can say that’s bad without having to caveat it.

Slavery. You remember how that works, don’t you? Sure you do. Back in the heyday of American slavery, you go to an African nation, grab any random black person, and you’re like, hey, you belong to me now. You’re mine. You’re worth a lot of money. You’re a resource here for the taking, like gold or oil or lumber or land. You’re not people, you’re property. My property. You have no rights, no say in your own life, your own body, your own children.  In fact, your children are mine too, to beat, to rape, to work to death. You’re farm equipment. You’re livestock, no more, no less. Get in the boat. Pick the cotton all the live long day.

That’s some shady shit, right there.

Slavery, that’s evil. Horrible. Immoral. Wrong.

Agreed? I mean, we are all agreed on this, aren’t we?

I honestly thought that would be the one thing we Americans could all agree on.

Black, white, yellow, red, gay, straight, left, right, liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, Biggie, Tupac, whatever we identify as, I thought that would be the one thing we Americans could agree on without caveat.

Slavery sucks.

Slavery is bad.

Slavery is an evil blot on American history.

Slavery will always be our eternal shame as a nation. We can surely all agree on that, can’t we? 

Nobody needs to defend slavery. I mean, we can as a nation acknowledge slavery existed. We can freely (heh) acknowledge slavery is part of our history as a nation. We can acknowledge that it was the economic foundation of part of our country. We can acknowledge that many of our institutions, the very symbols of what we nowadays regard as freedom, were built by people who were property.

It’s a hundred years behind us now, slavery. None of us now were slavers. None of us now alive were slaves. But we can remember. We can say the words without flinching, can’t we? We can acknowledge that terrible history without the need to defend any of it. We can honor the victims of it and denounce the institution and learn from our terrible, complicated heritage. All of it. And we can acknowledge that while slavery might have helped build this nation, slavery as an institution uprooted hundreds of thousands of innocent people, destroyed their lives and families, erased their histories, and the effects of that terrible diaspora are still being felt today.

Certainly we can admit that. Without caveat.

That’s what I thought.

Foolishly, as it turns out.

I said this online after Michelle Obama talked about slavery’s role in building the White House.

I said, hey, at least we can all condemn slavery without caveat. Right? I mean, slavery, right?

That’s when the slavery apologists showed up.

Hold on, they said. Black people started it. Oh yes. Africans had slaves. It’s true! Black people invented slavery, Bro! It’s in the bible! And American slaves, well, see, at least they were enslaved by, like, Christian white people and so our slaves got to learn about Jesus! That’s good, isn’t it? And they didn’t have, like, technology back then so people had to do the work. Somebody had to pick the cotton, right? Without human power, why, America wouldn’t even exist. It’s not racism, man, somebody had to do the work and those people were, you know, convenient. What about that? Plus, slaves were really, like, valuable. White people loved their slaves. Because, they, like, cost a lot. So, you know, white people took care of them, slaves got free food and free clothes and nice little free slave houses to live in and free healthcare, and…


…and I sat there, watching these comments come in with my mouth hanging open.


Yes. I know.

I know. I knew this was out there. I did. But still.

If you’re a person of color, you’re laughing at me right now, aren’t you? I’m a straight white male and that gives me the privilege of being just that goddamned naïve. I know. You’re shaking your head and laughing at me. And I deserve it. 

I know. I do.

Because I really was naïve enough to think this was something we could all agree on. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I get thousands of messages per week. A significant percentage of those are from haters and bigots and conspiracy nuts and the proudly ignorant. I mean, I’m a cynical son of a bitch and I expect the worst from people pretty much all of the time. I’m not stupid. I expected a few of these comments.

But this was hundreds.

White conservatives, of course, most of them. With a few supposed white liberals tossed in for leavening. And it wasn’t just me, those comments were everywhere on social media, under articles in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Slavery apologia is a reflex with these people. 

Slavery was bad, but

But.

But, if this guy, me, this liberal, this progressive, this guy I don’t like, if that guy – let alone Michelle Obama for crying out loud – says slavery was bad, well, I have to reflexively counter. I have to caveat it. Have to. No matter how staggeringly stupid the argument is, I have to use it, have to counter, have to defend the horrible evil institution of slavery, have to justify it in some way, have to rationalize it, have to make it sound … less bad, less evil, somehow.

Now, before we go any further, let me make something clear: No, I don’t think all conservatives are slavery apologists.

No, I don’t think all white Americans are slavery apologists.

But a hell of a lot of them are.

Out of reflex.

Out of political reflex. If the other side is against it, they have to be for it – one way or the other, no matter how noxious, no matter how torturous the logic, no matter how ridiculous.

Slavery is one thing all decent Americans, left or right, republican or democrat, black or white, should be able to agree on without caveat, without a “but” in the middle of the sentence.

Slavery is bad. Period. No buts.

No buts.


But – but – of course that’s not the case.


This morning I listened to a caller on C-Span’s Washington Journal:

image

He says he’s going to join in the so-called “Free Speech” rally in Boston today.

He’s going to march with avowed white supremacists, with Nazis.

Not because he is a Nazi, he says, but because he’s a Trump supporter.

He going to join white supremacists “as someone – they’re going to paint us as racists anyway, so there’s nothing that we can say to placate the other side, so, keep going. There’s no other option.”

There’s no other option than to stand with Nazis?

Seriously?

This guy, he would rather stand with Nazis – goddamned Nazis – than his fellow Americans.

He looked out there, he saw the sides, and he chose … white supremacists.

He would rather stand with Nazis, with the Klan, with Confederates, than join his fellow Americans, black, white, left, right, conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, his fellow Americans standing against fascism. 

No other option. Keep going. Join the Nazis.


Well, I say to you there is another option. Stand with us. Join us. Be an American.


As my fellow Alaskan, writer and journalist Shannyn Moore, said, “Remember when hating fascism didn’t make you a liberal?”

When did standing against fascism, against hate, against racism, against Nazis – Nazis – become a liberal thing?

When did defending sedition, treason, fascism, hate, violence, murder, genocide, intolerance, racism, slavery, and Nazis become a conservative thing?

I mean, you would think we could all agree on this – even if it is the only thing we can agree on.

You would think that we, we Americans, we could all agree that standing against fascism, against white supremacists, against the Klan, against Nazis for fucks's sake, wouldn't be a left, right, liberal, conservative, republican, democrat thing.

This is an American thing.

This should be the one thing we all agree on.

This should be the one thing our leaders, no matter their party or ideology, should agree on.

This is the one thing we all must agree on. Without caveat. Without qualification.

If you must qualify your denouncement of fascism, of Nazis, of the Klan, of the Confederacy, of slavery, of evil, with a “but” in the middle of your sentence, you’re the problem.


Standing against Nazis without caveat, without qualification, without equivocation should be an American thing.


Look left.

Look right.

Who are you standing with?

Nazis? The Klan? Confederates? Slavery apologists?

That flag waving over you head? Is it Old Glory? Or the swastika and the Stars & Bars?

In this fight, there is no neutral ground.

In this fight, silence is agreement.

In this fight, if you stand with Confederates, then you’re a traitor. You’re the enemy of America.

If you stand with the Klan, you’re a bigot, a racist, a hater, a villain.

If you stand with fascists, you’re a goddamned fascist.

If you stand with Nazis, then you’re a fucking Nazi.

And it’s really just as simple as that.

You’re not a machine. You’re not an animal. You’re a human being and you don’t have to be a slave to reflex. If you can’t reject this evil without caveat, without a kneejerk “but” in the middle of your response, without attempting to justify evil out of political reflex, then you have lost your mind. You’re the problem. You’re what gives evil a leg up.

Look left.

Look right.

Who are you standing with? Nazis? Or Americans?

If you don’t stand up, if you don’t take a side, if you turn away now, then you are complicit.

If you don’t choose, you’ve chosen evil.

If you can’t forcefully denounce evil without caveat, without condition, without a “but,” then you’ve chosen evil.

This isn’t about the left. This isn’t about right. This isn’t about Republican or Democrat. This isn’t about liberal or conservative.

This is about the world we leave to our children.

This is about the United States of America.

This is about our place in history.

This is about evil and what you intend to do about it.

Pick a side.

Take a stand.

Turn out in the streets. Raise your voice. Fight if you have to. This is the critical moment. This is the critical moment and history will remember what you do next.

And what you do defines all of us as a people, as a nation, as Americans.

There is no gray area here. Either you stand with the Nazis, or you stand with us.

If you want a better nation, you have to be better citizens.

Without caveat.

205 comments:

  1. I've started to wonder: If Donald J. Trump could own people, would he?

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    1. I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks the employees at his various properties are functionally, if not literally, owned by him.

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    2. Of course he would. He would own the best people. Beautiful people. And those people would be grateful!

      I can just hear him now. /shudders

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    3. Oh, hell, yeah. But he wouldn't want to admit it was in any way wrong.

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    4. He's pretty sure he owns a lot of people. De Facto, if not de Jure.

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    5. Probably not, because then heʻd have to house, feed and clothe them.

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    6. OMG You're scaring me. I believe the answer is 'Yes'. Good grief. I think you've hit the nail on the proverbial head.

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    7. Of course he would. He would own the BEST people. Some terrific slaves!

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    8. I'm in Australia and I can relate to this essay. While we down here are still mostly tolerant and egalitarian there are a fair few of the types mentioned in this essay, people who see difference in religion and colour as a bad thing. As an exercise google pauline hanson an Australian senator

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    9. Considering that he likes to hire people to work for him, then refuses to pay them, slavery isn't much of a stretch.

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    10. @ Matt: that thing in the WH would definitely own slaves if It thought It could get away w it. During Its campaign It used the phrase, "Our blacks..."

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    11. Yup. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/fashion-industry-boycott-trump-modeling-agency

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    12. Pam Pramuka: No he wouldn't. Remember this one? 16 tons by TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD
      http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?lyrics=4639

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    13. Shaitan Pyrik: What, in the lyrics of "16 Tons", makes you believe that Trump wouldn't own slaves if he could?

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    14. He already acts like he owns us and the country. That's why he has those snit-fits when he doesn't get his way. Like a petty child told,"No!"

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    15. Shaitan Pyrik: What is in the lyrics to "Sixteen Tons" that influences you to think Trump wouldn't own slaves? I fail to see any connection.

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    16. He said "my African-American," at a rally. QED.

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    17. If he could make money with slave, you bet. Cause the bottom line is all that matters to the guy. Scruples, morals, Christian belief? They would just get in the way. Unless he could use them, like his fake Christianity helped put him in the White House (the Dump of a White House, at that). Probably wishing he stayed in NYC pumping out cash.

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  2. Thank you, Jim. A fine clarion call, and one that has my eyes leaking a bit. I WILL keep speaking up. I WILL keep educating. I WILL keep posting FACTS. And, if necessary, I will punch nazis. My dad was 10th Mtn. Division in Italy, 1944. He would come back from the grave and haunt me if I did any less.

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  3. "There are no innocent bystanders--if you're standing by, you're not innocent."~Eldridge Cleaver

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  4. What scares me is how many of my fellow countrymen are choosing Nazis over America. I'm not sure where to go from here, but I'll keep speaking out for everyone.

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  5. No such thing as Nazi-Lite. You don't get a pass with "I'm not a racist, but...".
    We took a stand against Fascism in 1941, and back then, ANTIFA had a different name: The Allies.

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  6. There is only one side: anti-Nazi.

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  7. Fucking brilliant, thank you!!!!

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  8. I stand with humanity, there is only one race.
    I stand in front of those who would be hurt by this kind of behaviour, I stand beside those who are able to defend themselves but need backup.

    I will always fight discrimination based on skin tone, what book someone reads, or where they were born.

    We all bleed red.

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    1. By having everyone near him sign non-disclosure pacts, he owns them.

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    2. Outstanding rant, Jim. I found myself reading it aloud with the kids laughing at me.

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  9. I heard this today from a fellow veteran. Paraphrased, he said that because all Confederate leaders were pardoned, that makes them US veterans; that ripping down their monuments and calling them traitors defames them, and "if you defame one of us, you defame us all."

    TFP

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    1. Such an incredibly weak argument, entirely predicated on the assumption that trying to make it about attacking veterans (for those who hold all veterans as sacred) will make it unassailable.

      It's easily taken apart; they might have been pardoned and accepted back into the Union as citizens instead of executed as traitors, but that doesn't mean they fought for the US. They fought for the CS, as soldiers of a self-declared foreign country. They were NOT US veterans and deserve no more respect in that sense than the veterans of any other foreign nation that has fought against us.

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    2. THEY were pardoned. The ones that would try to take their place TODAY are traitors.

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    3. Pardoned means forgiven, with no penalty to pay. It does not mean they weren't traitors and that we should never speak of the matter.

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    4. They may have been pardoned, but that shouldn't doesn't entitle them to respect. And isn't admiration and respect the reason monuments are erected to begin with?

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    5. My understamding was the statute was mot to be distroy, but to be moved to a Confederate grave yard to stand over his men.

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    6. Using that argument, since Nixon was pardoned he should be honored as an awesome President instead of a lawbreaking paranoiac.

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  10. You are absolutely correct. There is no gray area. None. Well said as usual. Thanks...

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  11. The good news is that the Boston "Free Speech Rally" had a very low turn out.

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    1. A low turn out !?!?

      They had tens of thousands ...

      ... oh, wait, you meant that Nazi rally.

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  12. I guess I'm as naive as you are. I'm having an extremely hard time getting my head around slavery apologists. Of course, there are rape apologists, so why are we surprised?

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  13. My dad fought the Nazis in WW2, I did my bit against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, but now it's time to follow in my father's footsteps.

    If you're not against Nazis, you are supporting them by default.

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  14. Well said, Jim. As usual.

    In 100% agreement with every single word.

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  15. Why is this 'an American thing?' I know right now it's centre stage in America, and maybe you don't realise how wide your geographic reach is, but really, it's not just you and yours. It's also me and mine, (UK). It's everybody. Or it should be. This is 2017 for fuck's sake. If we haven't learned by now that you can't stand quietly by while evil men go about their business, then please, somebody just drop a fucking bomb on all of us.

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    1. I think it's because so much news is about these rallies in the U.S. and perhaps because most of the leaders in other countries are not giving Nazis, Confederate traitors, and bigots endorsements like ours is.

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    2. Most Nazis, KKK, alt-right, etc. that operate in the US tell themselves that their beliefs are American at their core because the founding fathers were white and some of them owned slaves. They badly need to be disabused of that notion.

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  16. Could not agree more. Well stated - the simple truth.

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  17. Right on man... when the "proud boys" tried to disrupt our rally here in San Diego, one of their members draped in a US flag with a bullhorn was shouting that "Jefferson Davis never owned slaves!"

    A brutally stupidly wrong argument to bring up at an Impeach Trump rally... happily the Indivisable people kept getting in the way of this lunatic (who was actually frothing about slavery being not the cause of the civil war)...

    Lost on him no doubt that on the east coast at that same time 154 years ago, on July 2nd, the 20th Maine was sweeping were mopping up Longstreet's exhausted troops at Little Round Top at Gettysburg....

    But he frothed and ranted like soapbox lunatic... and now you capture him in your words.. the new fascism, intertwined with slavery apologists wishing for a new feudalism in America.

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  18. On November 8, 2016, each vote that didn't go to Clinton helped put Trump and his Nazi and Klan pals in the White House.
    "But her e-mails!!"

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  19. My grandmother always said you are known by the company that you keep.

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  20. More haters in America than I ever envisioned, more traitors, more fascists and one POTUS POS, I mean, like, who knew..

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    1. Honey, we all knew. We just couldn't rally enough electroal college votes to stop it!

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  21. Sadly, I also had the innocent, naive hope we were past all this shit. Boy was I wrong.

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  22. Another "well done" to you sir... Though I have to admit I WAS laughing when I got to the part about African Americans laughing at your naiveté... But we were laughing WITH you!��

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  23. My mother is named for her aunt Helen, who stayed in Denmark, unlike her brother Olaf.

    My great aunt Helen and her family helped smuggle Danes out of Denmark. She lost a son, my cousin to this.

    My first wife was a descendant of a slave, sold by her father at 13 to a New Orleans House.

    Where the fuck do you think I stand.

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  24. I would say "I hate what we have become" but it isn't true. We have been like this for my entire lifetime. I saw the light in my mid to late 30's. I voted republican the whole time, as that is where my bread and butter came from. My spouse worked for some of the producers of the "war machine" McDonnell Douglas and Sikorsky". It seemed natural to me. Even when I was protesting the Vietnam war in college, I still voted that way. The blinders were practically see through. I realized then that I was supporting these actions with my vote, and then bitching about the outcome. I learned hard and fast how standing up for what was against the majority of this country's beliefs was a slow crawl up a steep hill. But I still do it. It is harder now with social media calling the shots, but in my old age, I see through the bullshit faster than ever. I complain out loud about behaviors. write letters weekly to my elected officials, call out their bullshit on their facebook and twitter, (my goal is for trump to block me, but I guess I am not important enough), and am generally a pain in their asses with no plans to stop. I preach to the choir a lot, but the non-singers don't listen anyway. If I can sway one person, just one, I will consider it a major victory. If we all to that, we can truly change this country to an America to be proud of.

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    1. I was raised in a republican family, most of whom think I am crazy. Somewhere in my maturation, I realized what most of the people I cared about belived was bullshit and I needed to think for myself. It's not fun, but I realize that morality is more important to me than anything else in the world. We must stop this maddnesss that is Trump.

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  25. A note to you readers who don't think the primary cause of the Civil War was Slavery. Please don't take my word for it. Read the Articles of Secession yourself.

    Here's an excerpt from the Mississippi document:

    "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. "

    You can find the Declarations of Secession for Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and South Carolina below.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/csapage.asp

    Please don't take my word for it. Believe the documents written by the people seceding. They'll tell you in their own words why.

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    1. Bob, thank you for that link. I know I will be using it to inform others of the way it actually was.

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    2. I still had people telling me yesterday that slavery wasn't the reason or, if it was, it wasn't a main reason. I was livid. I said read the documents. In their own words, at the time of secession, they said it outright or alluded to it. And, yet, still the clamoring that I'm wrong.

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    3. Bob, I can't thank you enough for that link. I plan on sharing it far and wide.

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    4. “Our new government is founded … its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not the equal of the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this physical, philosophical and moral truth."
      Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy

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  26. So well said! This is not the time to be passive or "polite". This is the time speak out loud and clear. David Slack wrote on twitter, "Remember sitting in history, thinking “If I was alive then, I would’ve…”

    You’re alive now. Whatever you’re doing is what you would’ve done."

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  27. Jim- Thank you for (once again) saying what it in my mind. The very idea that there may be a caveat to the hate is abhorrent and revolting. It makes me fear for the future for my children and grandchildren. Thank You. I wish I could figure out a way to share your words right in their faces without you feeling as if your work had been stolen.
    Keep up the good fight. Call me when you are ready to take to the streets. I'm old but I can fight, and I can shoot. I'm ready to give my life and liberty for the nation that has given me a wonderful life of freedom. RESIST, to my dying day.

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  28. Not to even try to tell you how or what to write, but I think you missed a group. Those who denounce slavery and Nazis and the KKK and the Confederacy and all they stand for, but also denounce "the violence". Those who say that we have to talk, to reason, to let these hate filled cretins go the way of the dinosaur while rationale Americans have a discussion. In my not so humble opinion, they miss the whole internet part of life these days, the whole gathering of the minds that has happened over the past decade or so, the fact that these Nazis and their sympathizers have, in their own words, gone from the internet forum to the streets. And they're armed, and they're willing, and they're violent, and they're ready.

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    1. I'll add to that, those who interview them on news programs and political panels on CNN and elsewhere.

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    2. The counter punch to this extreme violence doesn't *have* to be violent:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trouw

      Of course, it did *elicit* violence, as is described in the article.

      After all, they were dealing with (real, not cosplay) Nazis.

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  29. Thanks, Jim. The time is now for us all to take a side. See you in the streets.

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  30. Thank you. Thank for saying this with equivocating, without apology, without a shred of doubt. Thank yo for saying what every single American needs to hear and think about. If you are not with us, you are against us- and I say this as a person who has always seen the world in shades of gray. I am not a proponent on everything being black or white. Except on this. This has no shades of gray.

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    1. Agreed! Me too. No shades of gray, only black and white!

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  31. I stand against slavery, Naziiism fascism and all that is evil. I am with you Jim

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  32. I find it a sad irony that the same people complaining that tearing down the statues of these traitors is somehow "trying to erase (their) history" (all four years of the treasonous spasm known as "The Confederacy") are the same people who condescendingly tell Black Americans (and ALL POC, especially Native American Indians, but that is WHOLE 'nother volume of essays) that they "need to forget the past, and get on with their lives" - forget all 400 years of systemic and individual racism, oppression, murder, abuse, ad nauseum. Yeah - "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    And they are so self-involved and blind that they are incapable of perceiving that irony. Jesus swept.

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    1. Exactly this. Germany has the right idea. They have no monuments to the Nazis, but they sure as hell haven't forgotten their history - because there are plenty of monuments to their victims.

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  33. Thank you. I have some Conservative friends who are struggling with this. I am unashamedly liberal in most things, but I do value the interplay of both factions. Reasoned compromise used to work for good government. Used to. Racism is not an acceptable stance for any American. Hope springs eternal. Maybe the increased discussion will open eyes, hearts and minds. Thank you again for your insightful thoughts.

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  34. As usual, Jim, I find myself in nearly complete agreement with you--with one exception. The notion that only part of our country benefitted from slavery is incorrect. The *entire* country benefitted and is complicit in their support of slavery.

    In the north, shipbuilders had nearly their entire industry built around the construction of slave vessels, insurance companies made their riches off the insurance of slave ships, the garment industry made nearly all their money off the cotton the slaves picked...the list goes on and on. To only single at the South as beneficiaries of slavery is just historically incorrect. Our entire civilization is built squarely on the shoulders of enslaved black people, both during the period of actual slavery and afterwards.

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    1. This is important for us to remember. Always!

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    2. The role of the North in the slave trade is the subject of "Molasses to Rum to Slaves," from the musical 1776.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9yPdhL6L3o

      And another assumption is that no one in the North fought on the side of the Confederacy. There were quite a few. Northern Westchester County in New York was an area that had a lot of Confederate support.

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  35. So here's the really stupid argument I get from NeoFascists all the time; but but but.... it's the LEFT that are the fascists, Obama, Obama, Obama, Hillary Hillary Hillary... Guns, Jade Helm, World Government, Weakness, False flag.... blah blah blah; you know, the usual groundless tripe that Alex Jones gets a hard on for. TFP don't even know what fascism is so how can you counter that willful ignorance with the fact that they are marching with fascists, ergo they ARE fascists? How?

    Sigh. I weep for this nation.

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    1. Yes - I weep too. I think we have lost our future to the Nazis. Hate it and thank my destiny that I am old and will no be here to see the results of this maddness.

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    2. Accuse the other side of what your side is doing. Standard operating procedure for these guys.

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  36. I'm standing with the U.S.of A. with you and with my fellow Americans. Excellent essay, this right here really could keep America great so I'm sharing it. Thanks.
    p.s. I've commented before, occasionally, but this is the first I've read your commenting rules. Very helpful.

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  37. Bravo! Well said and heartfelt. I stand with you.

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  38. You, sir, are a hero, a patriot, a true American. Thank you from a Southern white woman.

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  39. Nie wieder.
    There is no other choice.

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  40. I watched the Sunday shows and news casts. One by one the liberal talking heads conflated the white supremacists, white nationalists, alt-right, Steve Bannon, Trump himself, and every Trump supporter and painted them all with the same brush as racists. Sounds like guy figures he's being labelled that way anyway so what does he have to lose. Unfortunate. Commentators should actually try to unpack complicated issues and solve problems instead of score political points, but that's the world we live in.

    I'm not familiar with the ideology of any of these groups, but I don't recall anyone ascribing them the position of being pro-slavery. Is that their position, or are you making that up?

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    1. If a person believes in the supremacy of only white straight males, where does that leave everyone else? It is implied that we are not of the same worth. Slavery isn't just picking cotton in the fields, it is oppression through laws, violence, society structures that create systemic racism. Anything that adds to systemic racism = slavery.

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  41. Not sure I agree, not completely.

    Y'see, we're a two party system. I WISH it were otherwise, but America's a graveyard of third parties; we reflexively understand that our BEST CHANCE of beating those OTHER guys is to make the contest as limited as possible: us versus them, black vs. white, red vs. blue, or whatever.

    Regrettably, many of us tend to pick their political candidate they way they pick their football teams: who's gonna WIN? Who's gonna KICK ASS? As opposed to, you know, grow the economy, secure the general welfare, and represent the best interests of the country, and all that.

    But me? I think. I can't HELP it. There's plenty of Trump voters out there firmly convinced that his inauguration crowd WAS biggest, and that both sides at Charlottesville were bad, just 'cause HE said so.

    By the same token, there's plenty who'd believe squirrels were messengers of God if Jim Wright happened to say so here on his blog. I hope you'll understand I mean no disrespect or derision, but I'm gonna think before I go choosing up sides. WAY too many people ready to just take someone's word for it... when the issue isn't that simple.

    On the other hand, the KKK and the Nazis are... pretty much that simple. There's plenty of obfuscatory bull, but it all boils down to "Anyone we don't like needs to go somewhere else or die."

    This is great... if you're a Nazi or a Klansman. Everyone else? Not so much. Note also that joining up just for safety from your fellows tends to end badly, historically; when there's no Jews or brown people to kick around, the concept of "purge the party" tends to come up. Look it up.

    Then again, if these people were all that big on "thinking it through," I imagine most of them would have chosen differently.

    "There is not a man beneath the canopy of Heaven who does not KNOW that slavery is WRONG... for HIM."
    ---------------Frederick Douglas

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    1. Hey, leave my squirrel god out of this, infidel.

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    2. I often wonder about these Nazi bullies, and what they'd ever do if they achieved their goal of an all white state. There'd be no one left to bully, and where would that leave them? So they'd bully the women, and then the dogs, and when there was nothing left to bully to fulfill their testosterone fueled circle jerk, they'd turn on each other and eat themselves alive. Because bullies need someone to bully, and that's what these folks are.

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  42. If ye' March *with* Nazis & KKK, flying supremacist flags, wearing supremacist quotes & logos, chanting supremacist & nazi slogans, even if you aren't doing those things,just "marching *with* them" maybe you *are* actually a fuckinggoddamnnazi.

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  43. These guys have been qualifying their opposition to racism for so long, they don't recognize a racist when he shows up in a white hood or starts giving Nazi salutes. I'm just waiting for the hashtag #notallnazis to start trending on Twitter.

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  44. The comment about slaves being introduced to Christianity reminded me of a time in the mid-70s when I worked with a Vietnam vet who claimed the Vietnamese benefitted from the Americans going to war in Vietnam because we introduced them to toothbrushes and dental hygiene. I had no words.

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  45. Jim. I hope that someday, somehow, someone puts your name into the mix for the Pulitzer Prize.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. He does write that well.

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  46. I used to be a right wing conservative. Then they put in a religious test and you have to love "Jesus" in just the right way. Hell, I don't even *believe* in a Jesus or any other god.

    Then they let the racists and "Amerika Uber Alles" types in and people with insanity I don't even have a name for now run the country with slogans like "Make America Great Again" used by people who act (and posture) like Mussolini when he promised to "Make Italy Great Again" and we all know (or should know) how well *that* went.

    So I find that, without changing a single damn opinion, I am now a middle of the road liberal.

    The Republic may be dead and sure looks like it is dying and the demagogues, racists and psuedo-Nazis (The real ones from WW2 would eat this lot for lunch) and nut jobs seem to be rising from the dead.

    Being conservative doesn't mean "racist" but to some it seems to. Being conservative doesn't mean hating gay people or not wanting people who love each other to share the same damn legal rights I get as a straight guy but some people perverted all that too.

    This upsurge in pure evil must not stand. Must not be tolerated and should only be given voice so people can see the danger in it.

    Diversity *is* strength. This "pure land" some of these hate mongers want never existed and never could exist and the only states' rights the Confederacy wanted was the right to own slaves forever. (I wonder how many CSA defenders have ever read the Constitution of the Confederacy. A pretty damning document about this.)

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    1. Jim asked when did being against fascism/nazis/KKK become a bad thing. It hasn't, the problem is that if you against any liberal position you are now automatically a Nazi/Racist/Facist/homophobe/islamaphobe No matter how justified your position an a subject is. That is how many liberals act, most especially the Antifa & BLM communities.

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    2. I'm sorry, but that's just not true. And the only people I've heard advance that argument are self-identified "conservative" pundits. I said it elsewhere on this thread: Disagreeing with a liberal viewpoint doesn't make you a Nazi/racist etc. But holding views that are Nazi/racist etc, does. Defending that ideology does. Acting as an apologist for them does.

      This is not a matter of "can't we all just get along". Liberals—meaning those who concern themselves with the just apportionment of respect and resources and justice among other things—would be happy to get along with just about anybody who is not offering harm to other human beings. But here's the reality: White nationalists don't want to get along with people they view as "other". They want them to go away. To live somewhere else. Even to die.

      There is no way to get along with that ideology. It needs to change. And one reason this dialogue is so difficult is that some folks can't or don't want to recognize that this isn't about two worldviews that can be reconciled if only the people involved would agree to coexist. The entire point of Nazism, racism, Islamophobia, etc. is NOT to coexist.

      I know this is a hard fact to face. But if we are going to grow as a species and as individuals, we must face it.

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  47. Beautifully written. I've chosen my side. Nazis have to go

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  48. as always, brilliant. the balm i needed after hearing from a friend that her guest staying with her was not political. The other thing that made an impact that I saw today was about privilege. I am always astounded. thank you.

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  49. "If you don’t stand up, if you don’t take a side, if you turn away now, then you are complicit. "

    I love the entire thing, but this? Yes. Yes.

    Yes.

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  50. I can't believe you still have to write about this in 2017. If people don't know which side to stand by now I'm not sure they ever will, but I admire your trying. Personally I think this is the way they were brought up. Only way to stop all the negatives and predijust is to instill love and honesty in the children. Do it at schools, churches and on playgrounds and do it loud over the voices of their parents.......good luck with that one.

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    1. The church is where the hate is instilled. The 1850's saw a mammoth surge in fundamentalism in this country: it WAS the primary trigger of the Civil War. We've been seeing the same since the early 80's. And their teaching/preaching is anything BUT Christ's teachings. I watched it consume my brother and turn what had been a decent person into a hateful jerk.

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  51. I feel like capering, pointing to people and telling them they should read this. It touches so much on what I feel about being an American and the revulsion I feel toward people standing with nazis. This has been a two years caring for loved ones who were and are still ailing. I'm tired. I'm weary to the bone and there's still stuff coming up. But even with a full up plate, I sure as hell know what side I'm on and it isn't theirs.

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  52. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

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  53. I like your writing. You're direct, I like that. I tend to also be direct. I don't think I've ever shared your stuff w. more than 2, 3 people. This I'm sending (a link) to EVERYONE.

    Kudos, man.

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  54. Standing with you, in the streets, on line, in emails to reps, everywhere I can state this. Thank you for the clarity and lucidity in your post.

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  55. Hey Jim..............
    "When did standing against fascism, against hate, against racism, against Nazis – Nazis – become a liberal thing?"

    I think it started getting serious about 1948, the Democratic Convention. The Democrats adopted a pro-civil rights platform and the Southern Democrats left the party. 20 years later and we had Nixon's "Southern Strategy". Shortly after that.........Reagan and his "Welfare Queen". Add in Fox news, then a platform called the "Internet"............and continuing and exaggeration of that "Southern Strategy"........

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  56. This may be the best thing you've ever written. Thank you.

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  57. Right on. And here's the thing -- maybe the *only* positive thing I can see out of this picture you paint: if the Nazis and the KKK are defending slavery and genocide out of a knee-jerk reflex against *liberalism* -- then they are quite literally ceding Americanism itself to liberals. The whole red-white-n-blue patriotic shootin' match. Which is fine with me, I'll take it. They have turned their backs on God and Country, in exchange for which they will get, hopefully, the revilement of an appalled nation.

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  58. I'm saddened and my heart hurts that this essay had to be written. That people that call themselves American have to be told this. I imagine you Mister Wright you are also saddened at having to put these words to paper.

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  59. I watched those shows too and came away with a far different take. I saw them making the same argument Jim is making -- that if you stand with nazis and white supremacists you are tacitly supporting them. What the journalists watched were saying was in response to guests who were, themselves, conflating Nazis and the KKK with the counter protesters -- especially Antifa.

    Every single commentator I saw -- whether on CNN, MSNBC, Fox or PBS, was trying to make the point that they were concerned about the laissez faire attitude toward the actual thrust of the rally.

    Kate Bolduan had a guest who voiced the complaint you're making and asked him why, if he did not wish to be linked to white nationalists, he appeared on stage at an event with the organizer of the Unite the Right rally. He blew out the verbal equivalent of squid ink and never did answer the question.

    Look back at the campaign events major conservative figures have done that involved these groups. Given how many there were, I think the "left" has shown restraint and a respect for nuance ... except where there is none. (See Jim's essay).

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  60. As usual, you hit the nail on the head, Jim. Personally, I think these Nazi bastards need a good ass-kicking.

    But the thing that boggles me about most of these bigoted assholes is that they think that if they'd been living back then, they would be the "master", with the land and the slaves and the money. The irony is, they would still be the white trash that the wealthy plantation owners called in to do the jobs they wouldn't risk killing/maiming a slave over. It's like they have some weird fantasy where they aren't complete losers.

    This election has cost me friendships. And I have no regrets. If they want to be blind sheep, so be it. I'm going to continue calling out the bullshit.

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  61. It saddens me that this essay needed to be written. What century am I in?

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  62. Very well written. Some of my, uh, acquaintances are running rampant with this study: http://www.kon.org/urc/v4/tikhomirov.html showing how blacks were also slave holders. As if that negates everything ever said about slavery in this country. I can find nothing about this study or the authors, posting here in case anyone here has. I'm sure you will see it soon as it has become the new mantra of the "I'm really a racist but don't call me one, cause after all this:" crowd.

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    1. It's a Russian/Putin tactic called 'whataboutism'. 45 is the master of it, you saw it very plainly in his first comments..."on both sides, on both sides."

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  63. I'm guessing that these are the exact same Americans— probably down to the 10th decimal place— who not only thought, but actually said stuff like: "torture is bad, but…" or "racism is bad, but…"

    The only comfort I get out of this is the sense that as more and more Americans find their most solid and righteous moral footing in determined opposition to these "buts", we will— through shame and ostracism— drive this thinking back under the rocks and into the slimey sewers where it belongs. I am way past thinking we will ever eliminate these ideas in my lifetime. Maybe at some point in Man's evolution, but not before I die.

    And so I will be perfectly satisfied to see it driven back into the obscurity and darkness where it is most at home.

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  64. Until the last election I truly did not understand the depth of racism in this country and I am dismayed by it. The lack of humanity in a so called civilized society is astounding. It has helped me better understand the war in Bosnia. We see postings every day now of those willing to cleanse the United States.

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  65. I wish everyone in this country would read this, think about it, internalize it. We must realize what got us here and what we must do to heal this country.

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  66. Thank you, once again. There is no middle ground here.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

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  67. Being an admitted history and human nature nerd I think I'll dig out and re-read a two of my favorite non-fiction books: "Confederates in the Attic" by Pulitzer Prize winning author Tony Horowitz and "1861" by historian Adam Goodheart. You might as well brush up on the topic because, to (partially) quote the words Columbia University history professor Barbara Fields spoke near the end of Ken Burns' epic film "I think what we have to remember most of all is that the Civil War is not over until we, today have done our part in fighting it as well as understanding what happened when the Civil War generation fought it. William Faulkner said once that history is not "was", it's "is". And what we need to remember about the Civil War is that the Civil War is in the present as well as the past. You can say there's no such thing as slavery, we're all citizens. But if we're all citizens, then we have a task to do to make sure that that too is not a joke. If some citizens live in houses and others live on the street, the Civil War is still going on. It's still to be fought and, regrettably, it can still be lost".

    That said, there are still a shocking number of people still fighting the Civil War on the wrong side. We usually aren't faced with them every day but we sure as hell saw them last Saturday waving their Confederate battle flags (and swastikas, FFS) but it's not just them. Ask ten of your closest white, conservative Republican friends what the primary cause of the Civil War even was (it was slavery BTW) and be prepared to be amazed. One of the biggest problems we have right now is we can't even agree on history.

    JZinFL

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  68. I do not normally believe in the supernatural. My life's one exception came when I visited Dachau and crossed the bridge to the killing facility. I heard voices crying out to me. We cannot tolerate any ideology that demeans, subjugates, and commits genocide against others and must ensure that it cannot exist in this world.

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    1. I heard those voices, too. "Never forget what was done here. Not for our sake, but for yours."

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  69. I think people who defend slavery on any of the ground you mention, need a lesson in history, real history, where slaves worked all day for their masters and them came back to their quarters (which they helped build) to do all the things that needed done to keep themselves alive after back breaking phydical labour, there was still wood to chop, if they were allowed, food to cook (no grocery store, no money even if there had been), mending, carrying water to wash, cook and clea, clothes to mend or to make, assuming they had some fabric. Living in a home where every piece of furniture, every blanket, every rug, was wither a reworked cast off, made yourself, or traded with another slave for something you made yourself. In short, all the work that a white settler with no slaves had to do for themselves, but after a full day of backbreaking labour for someone else. Unable to marry, unable to keep your children, forced to breed on command, and always the threat, of death, of maiming, of bing sold away from everything and every one you loved.

    This isn't Gone With the Wind Disney world. It was a brutal and dehumanising system and anyone who believes otherwise needs a history book.

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    1. Agreed. Filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer was right on the money when he called 'Gone With the Wind' "a great American DISEASE."

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  70. Love love love. Thank you for this!

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  71. Dude, I think I love you.

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  72. There is nothing more contrary to the American Dream than slavery, if you believe the American Dream is that everyone has the ability to better their life through hard work and education, and that ones children could, through work and education, have a better life still. There was no education for slaves; it was a crime to teach them to read and write, and it didn't matter how hard they worked. A slave could not create a more opportunities or a better life for a child who was sold away.

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  73. One small thing I disagree on - slaver owners didn't need to go all the way to Africa; ive heard stories that in New Orleans slaves were sold on street corners in front of general stores, all dressed up to look more attractive. Really sad.

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  74. Kevin Locke BullingtonAugust 19, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    There's a clip going around of a CNN interview by Kate Bolduan. She's talking to some braying jackass whose name keeps sliding off my brain because I tend to forget people who irritate me. Which is probably a severe handicap, now that I think about it. But I digress.

    The clip is being touted as him "mansplaining" something to her and her shutting him down. I won't get into all that, but at the very end of the clip, she says something that, to me, is utterly genius and gives complete and total focus to so much of this brouhaha.

    She says, "It stopped being about statues when people showed up with swastikas."

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    1. Kevin Locke BullingtonAugust 19, 2017 at 4:33 PM

      Also,

      Fucked up! /out

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    2. [Jim - feel free to edit]

      (a Canadian, writing from Scotland)
      I am taking part in an artist's workshop, mix of Scots / Canadians / Americans, the topic of sculpture as memorials came up.
      I am personally deeply involved with history (admittedly pre-Medieval primarily), so often consider the role of object within culture. From this standpoint, do consider any object does remain a reflection of the time and setting which it was created in. * Meaning * may shift considerably through time. (The Great Pyramid was constructed with considerable slave labour as well. Should it be torn down because of this?)

      One of the Americans at the table suggested that instead of taking down historic monuments, these should be *non destructively* modified to reflect a modern perception of those historic events.
      In this way, history is retained, but *meaning* may be modified.

      Given Jim's clarion call to action, this suggestion may easily be seen as feeble appeasement. Obviously, the type of narrow focus, distortion of proven fact and willful ignorance being demonstrated can not be easily combated by a 'gentle' approach.
      So clearly, as so many commenters have stated, this has little to actually do with removing a statue.

      I do caution all to consider the material aspect of the Future. We North Americans are far too quick to destroy and cart off to rubble the marks of our past. Without some marks of our actions, both the good - and the very bad, how are coming generations to have any perspective framework to allow themselves to make their own decisions?

      Darrell Markewitz

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  75. Jim, if you heard some of the callers I deal with at work you would be shocked at what comes out of their mouths.

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  76. Jim - you just get better and better. Thanks for articulating what we know is true. Love you!

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  77. You are a National Treasure! Thank you for your articulate voice! I'm proud to be a minion!

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  78. You are a National Treasure! Thank you for your articulate voice !

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  79. CS in Fl

    Slavery. That is the issue here. That is what is being lost in the discussion over Monuments.

    Okay, I say let's move the Monuments to some central location within any given community that wishes to keep them. The caveat is that it must tell the whole fucking story.

    Start by displaying the entire history of Slavery in America. From 1619 on until today. Yes, today. Because there are still people alive today that went through the perils of desegregation. I am in my seventies and I know that families still tell stories to their grandchildren of this time in America.

    Include the War between the States and the reasons why this war was fought.

    Include the freeing of the slaves and the subsequest failure of reconstruction after the civil war.

    Include the burden of segregation and Jim Crow laws

    Include the lynchings by the KKK

    Include the fight for desegregation.

    Include the bombing of churches and killing of church members.

    Include the killing and beating of people supporting desegregation. Show films of Police using dogs and water cannons against peaceful marchers.

    Tell the whole fucking story so that no one ever forgets this time inour American history.

    And never forget that this was our Holocaust and that the seeds of hate are still fertile today

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    1. We could even make sure that every statue had a plaque reading "this asshole started the bloodiest war in American history to make certain these practices could continue" or we could make new statues that have plaques "this asshole drove his fucking car into a crowd of people who were protesting to remove the other assholes statue", but I'd rather just melt them down and use the land for playground.

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    2. What you are describing is a historical museum. Presenting objects in their context, and telling the whole story, even the disagreeable (or outright horrible) parts.

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  80. It's going to take a movement.

    Neither political party has the will to take this on. The Republicans don't dare speak evil of Trump for fear of backlash from the Tea/fascist base. And the Democrats can't produce a movement without backlash from their donor base.

    It's going to take a movement. We did it in the 1930's. We organized outside party and government. Then we stood up to government.

    Only when we join hands do we realize our true power. We outnumber them a million to one. It's time we remind our elected representatives of this fact.

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  81. It is a sad state of affairs when the most powerful leader of the free world can not understand the history of our country. He has no moral values nor does he care. It's ok for his daughter to be Jewish because in his mind she is not, so the repercussions of his statements do not directly affect his daughter or his grandchildren,(in his mind). He is a very scary man who is tearing our country apart little by little. His supporters see no fault. They have been lured into a falsehood with rose colored lenses. I ask a friend of mine how she as a women, a mother of both a daughter and son....how she could support a man who said he could grab women by the pussy and they would not care because of who he was? Her comeback was well what do you think about Bill Clinton... I said he was a pig. She still stood with her support for this vile man. I then ask her is this the type of man you want your son and grandsons to look up to and model themselves after. She had no response. I have yet to talk to her about this latest association of Trumps moral ineptitude. Our friendship is on the edge. I am deeply saddened and fear if she thinks his support for Nazis and KKK, (his explanation that "good" people at Centerville were there just to protest a statue removal) they were justified in their actions but the opposition was the cause of the violence.... well that will be very telling as to her judgement and moral character. I hope against all hope I know my friend because I do not want to loose her friendship but sadly I will if need be. I have a moral obligation to myself, my children, my family and my fellow countrymen/women to stand up for equality and decency for all.

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    1. Correction it was late last evening when I commented Charlottesville NOT Centerville (I live near a town by that name) I apologize for the error.

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    2. Monica Lewinsky was a consenting adult. Not that it makes it right.

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  82. I looked left and saw that I was sitting with my wife; a gorgeous Kikuyu woman born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, by a really cool guy who spent the first half of his life living under British colonial rule. He was at one time a wine steward, because that's what he was told to be. That's what the colonial rulers wanted and he happened to be there when the decision was made. He was at another time a teacher, because his colonial rulers determined it necessary, and his knowledge of the Queen's English was passable compared to most. After Kenya gained its independence, he was finally able to return to being a farmer, like all of his ancestors were from as far back as he knew. All in all, he had it GREAT by comparison to those unfortunate souls who wound up in chains on the auction blocks in Charleston, Fredericksburg and I don't know where else; he got to marry and raise his family and, you know, not take a one month ride to Europe in the hold of a sailing vessel. So colonialism was mostly bad, but, hey, at least it wasn't slavery...? AmIright or what...? Anybody...? (crickets)

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  83. Jim. I really need help. I've been crying for a week. It's my family. It's been this way forever but it's worse. They sicken me. I live an hour and half outside of Charlottesville. Born in Richmond. My uncles served in the Korean war. My mother's cousin was killed 3 days into France after landing in Normandy. I have cousins who's mother is Filipino. One of those same uncles. But none of this is more important than that fucking hunk of metal. Not the rights of the citizens of Charlottesville to make decisions about their own town. Not even the threat of Nazis in one of our streets can stop them from equivocating, deflecting or apologizing for this cluster fucking tragedy that unfolded right in our midst. I really don't think you or most rational people can understand how the bigoted brain can compartmentalize. Obviously you've never had to live with them because you were so outnumbered. These people, yes my family, literally have "my niggers". That's what I call it. My nigger syndrome. Yes, I spelled and pronounced it right. You see these people have black friends. I mean break bread with, celebrate holidays, births, weddings, birthdays etc. etc. with black friends. So I'll explain how the syndrome works. You compartmentalize. You say but those "other" black people, Mexican people, whatever, are not like my n*gger. (Now I'm getting skeezed out by typing it.) Anyway, that's it. I live it here. My mother called me "different" all my life. She always made it sound like a dirty word. She is after all a genteel southern lady and doesn't really like violence. But what will we do if "they" take over. Well, I'd love to tell her that she probably does have everything to fear. Because like Louis CK says, "they will fuck us in the ass, but until then, whoopee!" I really can't convince the "white folks" I know that they're just fucked up. My facebook feed is lousy with them. Anyway, that's my situation. Sure there are a few people in these parts that don't feel this way. The people of Charlottesville are obviously among them. Virginians love Charlottesville. We're proud of it. Getting a degree from UVA isn't generally considered a bad thing. It's a college town, full of life but small enough to be charming. It's 80% white within the city limits. The idea that any kid that experiences Virginia in any of our college towns and wouldn't be pretty much steeped in the local history just doesn't think rationally. The shadow of Thomas Jefferson looms over Charlottesville so large it almost blots out the sun. The irony of the whole Nazi epidemic for me was really revealed during this cluster fuck of a tragedy. A white kid from a taco stand in California and a Polish kid from Reno came all the way to Virginia to terrorize a town full of intellectuals, artists and hippies. Yes, it is a shitty episode of Black Mirror and I don't even like that damned series. Jim, I really need encouragement. I've been hiding in my house for going on a decade. I quit my position on the executive board of my union about 5 years ago out of frustration and burn out. I've been in a depressive state ever since Bush was elected. Obama didn't make me happy. He was too patient for me and conservatives were so doggedly nasty. I used to think I was a fighter but I'm so damned tired. I kicked the hornets nest a few nights ago. Posted a long rant about how I wasn't going to look at any more Nazi apology posts. Wasn't going to keep my mouth shut about the equivocating, deflecting and mental acrobatics it took to justify giving Nazis the right to march around in towns better armed than the local police. Shut the fuck up. They are Nazis. They are the KKK. Do I need to show you bodies of children hanging from trees, burnt out churches, and piles of emaciated bodies to remind of what evil we are blanketing with free speech? Are you fucking kidding me? No they aren't. I can't sleep.

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  84. Stand up. Be a better citizen. Be an American. Yes!

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  85. It's well worth your while to put "premature antifascist" into your Google machine.

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    1. What a fantastic piece, Mr Gisselbeck. Thanks!

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  86. I was married to a man who thought he was always right. ( he wasn't) I know this because you, Jim Wright, ARE always right . I have never read a word you've written that I disagree with; and I went back and read every single thing here in Stonekettle Station from the very beginning. Much of what you write is in a nebulous state in my own brain, but I lack the brilliant way with words that you have. you are my hero, and I am so glad you are here and writing in this time.

    and as usual, every new piece that you write, I think YES ! this is his best. and every time, you top yourself.

    Since I was a child, I have never understood how someone thinks they're better than someone else because they have a certain skin color, or hold to a certain religion, or are prettier, or smarter or richer. However I have come to the conclusion that the people who are fair minded, and kind, and recognize the value in others no matter what their skin color, gender, religion ( or lack thereof) wealth, or even intelligence ARE better than those who use those markers to think they are better. ( I do hope I didn't get too lost in my explanation there )

    So ONce again I say THank You Jim Wright for your work

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  87. If I didn't live in a rented room in a house someone else owns, I would paint across the front of the house, in the biggest letters that would fit:

    NEVER. FUCKING. AGAIN!

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  88. I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, or another place.
    It looks like you are in the culmination of 30+ years of painting liberals as the enemy trying to destroy the USA. Those who do not want to be tarred as liberals must oppose you, whatever it takes, whatever sacrifice they must make (like being called nazi, or losing their healthcare, or civil rights)
    It seems to have become the reflex, that some conservatives consider themselves the front against liberals, and all they do or say, must be resisted at any cost, because Fox, and Rush, and Newt have all proclaimed liberals to be the cancer destroying America.

    Sad state of affairs.

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    1. My friend those people didn't just appear 30 years ago they've always been here. My family supported George Wallace but they also loved Kennedy. Now ponder on that. Of course Barak Obama you can forget.

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  89. Sorry, but your argument misses (intentionally?) the bigger point here: defending someone's right to free speach does not mean you agree with what they are saying.
    As to the Charlottesville mess there were two groups involved and both share the blame for what happened.
    and of course, this must make me a nazi
    SMFH

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    1. I don't think I'm the one who missed the point.

      But then, I'm not the one making excuses for Nazis either. You might want to rethink your position if you want to continue commenting here.

      Delete
    2. Let me ask you.Share the blame for what? The few little scuffles in the streets or the guy that used his car as a lethal weapon? Explain to me how both sides were complicit in the loss of life? Sure OK I'll even agree both sides were throwing punches and fighting. But the man who committed murder with his car was a white supremacist not "the other side". Let's just be completely clear about what happened in Charlottesville because even if thought his right to free speech had been taken away he committed an act of domestic terrorism. That is what we're supposed to call people that kill people for their ideology isn't it?

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    3. Respectfully, Jim, would you be willing to address that point? Can't you stand against someone's ideology yet stand for their right to express it without being labelled a sympathizer?

      Delete
    4. RayD,

      I have addressed that exact point many, many, many times.

      There are dozens of essays on this very blog which address that exact subject in endless detail, along with hundred of Facebook posts. I shouldn't have to reiterate it every goddamned time I say something. I shouldn't have to put a "but" in the middle of a sentence denouncing Nazis.

      I have said over and over that, as an American, you have the right to be an asshole. You can stand in the street and shout whatever it is you believe in, from religious lunacy to your love of Adolf Hitler.

      But freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of that speech.

      My First Amendment rights give me the right to get in your face and tell you exactly what I think of your Nazi-humping bullshit. You might have the right to say it, but I have the right to shout it down. You might even have the right to carry a gun, but so do I and I damned well know how to use it. You threaten me or mine or my country, you'll go home in a bag with your gun jammed right up your ass. You march through the streets of America flying the flags of treason and slavery and genocide, waving guns, wearing the uniform of not just our enemies but the enemies of all free people everywhere, then you'd damned well better expect to see me standing in front of you like a rock in the middle of a river. And I'm bringing my friends, and they know how to shoot too and most of them have seen combat and faced down shitheads before.

      Your right to your ridiculous hateful ignorant ideology isn't a right to speak it unchallenged. The government might have to give you a platform, but I don't. And I won't.

      I don't have to tolerate Nazis

      I don't have to listen to the Klan

      I don't have to give bigots and haters and white supremacists not one goddamned inch

      These Nazis deserve nothing but a punch in the throat and they're lucky to get that, my grandfather and my uncles hunted them over the Atlantic and across Europe and exterminated them. I wore the uniform of my country for more than 20 years. I'm a commissioned officer of the United States of America and I'll be damned if I'll stand by and let these fucking thugs take over my country.

      Hope that answers your question. // Jim

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    5. Dear pbluuz,

      You are clearly confused.
      Perhaps, this will help you*
      _______________________________________________
      From: sheerahkahn's Facebook page:
      As promised...

      Ecclesiastes 1:9
      "what has been will be again,
      what has been done will be done again,
      there is nothing new under the sun."

      Let me take you back in time, to a different world, a different time, a different way of looking at one self, and the world around you…a frightening world in which the norms of social, political, philosophical citadels were being thrown down…

      Germany, 19th century where “racialism,” the belief that humans are “naturally” (read biologically) divided into races, and adherents to this ideology believe that race is the primary determinant to traits and capacities, and thus the differentiation of these varieties of human races will produce an inherent superiority of a given race…in Germany, this ideology would lay the foundation for the master race, Aryanism.

      This was bolstered by another form of social/nationalistic ideology called the völkisch movement which saw German people better than their neighbors (including other countries) by blood (read biologically), and to further that ideal, and to emphasize the greatness that the German Empire (Reich) should rule Europe and the inferior peoples. This movement, along with the racialism, led to phrases like..
      Blut und Boden
      Blood and Soil

      Even though these words predate the rise of Nazi's in Germany they would form the foundation for what would become the most odious of political doctrines of the 20th century has ever seen.

      This Blut und Boden saw rural Germans as superior to the urban culture, a coded reference to “Jewish contaminated culture,” or the intelligencia, the elites, and that “real Germans” were to be found on farms, and small towns. The simple folk, and this was bolstered with fables, and tales that idealized “the simple folk” the…”real Germans.”

      Thus, when Adolph Hitler uttered the now famous phrase,

      “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Furherer!”

      He was appealing to their Blood and Soil philosophy that the entire German culture was inculcated with decades before in their reading, in their entertainment, in their politics, in their social contacts.

      If this sounds all too familiar to you, then you should recognize what is, and has been happening in the United States for the past twenty years. The idealization of “simple folk” and “real America” as opposed to the Urban elites, the intelligencia, the learned, the educated, the Jewish contaminated culture, the foreigner, inferior to every measure imaginable…all threatening the simple folks way of life.

      You see, my wife and I argued that White Supremicist don’t see themselves as Nazi’s, that every day Americans who have sympathies to this ideology of “protecting the culture” don’t see themselves as Nazi’s…but, they’re wrong.

      Anyone who believes in Blut and Boden is a Nazi.
      Anyone who believes in “White Superiority” is a Nazi
      Anyone who advocates that white simple-folk are the “Real America” is a Nazi.

      Because that is where all that philosophical background found its home, and was enacted upon…Nazi Germany. Circa 1930’s and 1940’s.

      Today, the United States has an active, and aggressive Nazi party hiding behind pseudonyms called White Supremacy, Neo-Nazi, Skin-heads, White Nationalists, Alt-Right, Ku Klux Klan.
      Their political philosophy is Nazism, their social philosophy is Nazism, and their cultural outlook is Nazism.

      They are all Nazi’s through and through.

      Calling them anything else is ignoring the truth.
      _________________________________________________

      Bottom line is this: If you equivocate, you are siding with the Nazi's.

      There is no middle ground here.

      sheerahkahn

      (*Jim, this is copied from my facebook page, I give you permission to use it or toss it as you see fit.)





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    6. I would argue that the bigger point, in this case, is the spiritual one. Let's be clear: The white nationalists advocate forcible removal of people they consider "other" from our shared nation. They are offering an existential threat to a wide swathe—possibly even the majority—of our population. I know that by their standards, though I look "white", I and my family and most of our friends fall on the wrong side of their line in the sand.

      Having said that, the white nationalists, as Jim aptly points out, have every right to say what they want. I personally believe that, short of them offering imminent threat to those they threaten verbally, any control or censure of that speech needs to come from within them. In plain English, they need to grow up or grow a pair or simply grow as human beings. That's between them and their God and their own souls/consciences.

      However, Jim is absolutely correct that freedom of speech does not absolve one of freedom from the consequences of that speech. The government does not have the authority to stop people from speaking their mind—witness the proliferation of media platforms for hate speech and conspiracy theories that abound in this nation, regardless of whether a "liberal" or "conservative" administration is in authority.

      That does not mean that other citizens cannot exercise their own right of free speech and free assembly to counter what another group proposes. And do it in the most public and passionate way at their disposal.

      Much is made of the fact that some of the counter protesters in Charlottesville threw bottles filled with urine at the white nationalists. Compared to the verbiage and sentiment that those same nationalists were spewing—and had been since the night before during the torch rally—those bottles were filled with perfume.

      We are a sad people if we really believe that hurling a bottle of urine is somehow more harmful, more heinous, than hurling racial or religious epithets singling out groups for annihilation.

      Delete
    7. I agree with you, Jim, right up until the last paragraph. Yes, we have a right to shout down Nazis and a moral obligation to do so. No, we don't have a right to punch them in the throat. There certainly is no legal doctrine to support veterans waging domestic urban warfare against other veterans over political ideology unless we are planning to declare a civil war. God help us.

      Slavery isn't coming back. Racial purity in this mongrel immigrant nation is ludicrous. Even the Nazis are mongrels. The monuments are coming down one by one. Actually Nazis have to be flown in from all over the country just to fill a town square. What exactly are we afraid of?

      What we should lament is the loss of civil discourse. If we want a better country, we should be better citizens. What I fear is the reintroduction of a sedition act because citizens demand it. Better to tolerate assholes and their stupid monuments.

      Delete
    8. Another Nazi apologist hiding under the banner of "free speech" without of course knowing or acknowledging what free speech actually MEANS. Jim already explained that, so I won't go into details, bottom line is, your free speech isn't being infringed upon any more than Alex Jones' free speech is being infringed upon when people come out and call him a nut to his face because of his crackpot rantings.

      Samuel Johnson once said that "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel". What he meant was that "scoundrels" were attempting to hijack the word "Patriot" and make use of it as a front to justify their wicked deeds, to hide under as a defense against those who would call them out for who they really are.

      Something similar is happening today, and I call it "Free Speech is the current refuge for the racist" and anyone who apologizes for them. Notice how you, and indeed any bugger going around yelling "but it's FREE SPEECH!!!" never, and I do mean NEVER, actually go into what that speech is, its contents or what it says? The default reaction of these apologists is to characterize free speech as a form of shield that protects anyone who wants to say anything from any consequences.

      That's not what free speech is, heck, that's not what ANY rights are. All rights should come with responsibilities, if you DON'T have this responsibility you are only showing yourself up as being undeserving of said right. And boy have the Nazis and their apologists ever shown this to everyone. They cry their Nazi bullshit, then LITERALLY cry real tears and whine about how everyone is so MEAN to them for doing EXACTLY that and they shouldn't because "free speech"?

      That is a total abdication of responsibility, that's an example of the abuse of a right, the exercising of a right with no intention of taking responsibility for doing so. The current President is a stunning example of this. Day in day out he says stuff but refuses to even acknowledge responsibility for them, indeed this refusal to acknowledge responsibility is probably why he even says such shit to begin with.

      Words have consequences, deeds have consequences. The President remains completely ignorant, deliberately or otherwise, to this. Nazis are following his example of putting out their beliefs, and not defending said beliefs, instead citing a "right to free speech" as if though that alone absolves them of justifying or owning their racist screed.

      In doing so they make themselves a perfect example of how rights are undeserved when responsibility for such is absent

      Delete
    9. I'm knee jerk with you.
      However when the constitution was written nobody placed restrictions on our reaction to said speech, only the government got restricted.
      When it comes to hate speech I want them in the town square. I want them to be emboldened in the presence of their fellow assholes to drop the facade and say what they mean, and I want them to take off the hood.
      When they do that we all see who they are, what they are, and where they are.
      We get afforded our chance to make actual progress in this fight because it stops being an insurgency and becomes a conventional battle line.
      If we as a group remember which of our leader condemns them, and which ones don't. And we as a nation remember who was on what side , and we vote, then we can win.

      Delete
  90. Bullcrap.

    You know who else were veterans? Timothy McVeigh. David Berkowitz. Arthur Shawcross. And quite a few other mass murderers and serial killers.

    Yes, they're the exception, and only a tiny fragment of our military veterans. Most of them serve honorably, then come home and continue to live honorably. But the point is, being a military vet doesn't confer special status on someone for the rest of their lives. They're still accountable for every action. And if those actions are harmful or wrong, they don't deserve special treatment because they're veterans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yenta,

      Who, exactly are you addressing with this comment?

      Delete
    2. Jim -
      Sorry, my reply didn't go into the right spot in the thread.
      It's in response to Terra Cluro on 8/19, who was told that dishonoring Confererate soldiers by extension dishonors all vets,

      Which, as I stated, is utter bullcrap.

      Delete
    3. By what twisted logic are confederate veterans being conflated with U.S. veterans?
      The CSA declared themselves to not be members of the USA, and then took up arms against the USA! That's equivalent too saying loyalist militia members deserve veteran status too.
      I am a vet, and I don't want to have my name kept in the company of theirs.

      Delete
  91. "Everything before the word 'but' is horseshit." ~John Snow

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  92. "Everything before the word 'but' is horseshit." ~John Snow

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  93. Great article, Mr. Wright. With Trump in the White House, White Supremacists feel invigorated and pumped up. Things can only get worse unless enough of us anti-Nazis stand up to them.

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  94. To this who want to talk about the poor statues and destruction of history...those statues aren't history. First, we don't see a lot of statues to King George on the streets, why? He lost the war, the statues were piled down and melted down. There are not statues to Hitler in Germany either. But beyond that, the statues themselves were not put up until decades later (the Charlottesville Statue dates to the twenties). They were put up to intimidate and to bolster the mythology of the lost cause and the brave southerner fighting for his beliefs. So let's look at those. Robert E Lee though slavery was a burden on the white man, but he had to do his duty to make the black man better, worthy...he believed that they were better off as slaves because they got Jesus. I bet he never asked one of them, he was completely convinced of his own moral high ground. The statues were put up to make sure to enshrine the idea of white supremacy and white superiority in the minds of white men and instilled fear in black people who could still remember, or were the children, grandchildren of slaves that they had once been property.

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  95. "I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery."

    https://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847385/what-i-learned-from-leading-tours-about-slavery-at-a-plantation

    Note the date on the article: June *19th*, *2016*.

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  96. @pbluuz, I don't see anyone's free speech rights being questioned here. What I do see is a lot of people stating the obvious--if you march under a flag bearing a swastika, you're a Nazi. If you stand silently among people spewing hate, you're at best a apologist for hate and at worst a hater yourself. There are going to be people who oppose hate speech peacefully, and there are going to be others who feel more forceful opposition is required. What they will agree on is that the act of opposition is a moral imperative.

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  97. I don't see any difference between Nazis marching in the street to say their piece and recruit followers and Radical Islamist Imams marching in the street to speak their piece and recruit Jihadist. Would the people who think Nazi's should have free speech support that? Or would thousands of people stand in the street, block their progress and shout over them, stop them in court as inciting to violence?

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  98. As you stand with the Nazis, remember to smile! You'll be on Youtube and the news real soon and your town and boss will have a message for you.

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  99. Thank you, Jim. You nailed it. Every word.

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  100. I read a fascinating article two years ago, that has resonated with me for those two years.

    The part that floored me was the author saying "Black people think as a group. When something happens to one Black person, most of the diapora sympathizes with it and feels it as if it were happening to themselves.

    White people, however, see themselves as individuals. If something happens to a White person, they don't think of it as all White people having it happen to them. "

    (I am paraphrasing the article.)

    So when White cops shoot an innocent Black motorist, all us Black people feel the hurt, frustration and fear of AGAIN seeing one of our own treated with something less than justice. The slave master once again gets away with killing one of us because the master is going to believe him before he believes one of us.

    People don't see anything wrong with going to a march to support Trump and not seeing their own association with racism, because they are ONLY looking at themselves as individuals. They would never put on a sheet, burn a cross or consciously discriminate.

    But the key word is "consciously." I don't think most people know that soft racism is just as bad as wearing a sheet or a swastika. Soft racism is the detective in a department store following a Black shopper around because they "might" steal something.

    I think many White people don't get how serious the situation is with Nazis freely gathering in the streets. They don't see themselves as Nazis, and they aren't under threat, so why should they "as an individual" care, right?

    And I didn't laugh at you when your jaw fell, Jim. None of this is particularly funny. At all.

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    1. To grossly over simply. Black people feel as a group because of the "soft racism", whites wouldn't be so individually biased if they were the daily individual target.
      Any oppressed people identify more with "group" than as "individual" because of shared, common experience.

      Delete
  101. Certainly. Now what? The financial pressures that fired off the actual violence of the US Civil War are nearly coming to a head again. Unions have been ground nearly to death under the heel of big Capitalists, and we are ALL (of every color) at risk of being wage-slaves.

    Absolutely, slavery was evil, wrong, whatever adjective you choose to apply (because whatever one I choose won't be the one bad enough) and Nazis are the scourge of the earth more modern than the slave-holders of the older times.

    Can we pull together? Or will be tear each other's throats out over terminology? Will we be stuck like the proverbial herd of cats, refusing to help each other because we can't actually believe that a rising tide actually DOES lift all boats?

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  102. RayD wrote: "There certainly is no legal doctrine to support veterans waging domestic urban warfare against other veterans over political ideology unless we are planning to declare a civil war. God help us."

    Advocating the anihilation or exclusion of people who are not us is not "political ideology".

    As a people, we have become amazingly good at the avoidance tactic of declaring fundamental human rights issues, spiritual issues, core human issues "political ideology" or "politics". This is both dangerous and cowardly and it's exactly the sort of trivializing of a deeply human problem—a disease—that keeps us from finding solutions or coming to consensus about an appropriate cure for the disease. It keeps us from progressing as a species and from overcoming our animalistic impulse to tribalism.

    Again, we make much of the "violence on both sides". I would ideally respond to someone physically attacking me for my religious or other core beliefs by simply protecting myself without offering to strike back. But I understand that the impulse to strike back when attacked is a human response that does not mean someone hates the person attacking them or holds hateful ideas about another group. THIS IS NOT TRUE OF THE WHITE NATIONALISTS. They are not peaceful, innocuous defenders of a different ideology. They are spreading a disease that needs to be cured. A deadly one.

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  103. Conservatives have been pro-slavery for a long time now. In the sense they get to own slaves not in the sense of them being slaves themselves. Right-Wingers have flocked to the peculiar institution more and more, it's a strong component of their ideas of property and the government existing only to safeguard property.

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  104. So slavery is in the Bible. So are a lot of other things, like adultery and polygamy. Cain killed Abel in the Bible. By that logic, it's ok to kill your brother.

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    1. Huckabee actually has said publicly that "parents should be allowed to kill disobedient children "as the Bible also says......so logic isn't their strong suit, but it's in their book, and that's good enough for them.

      Delete
    2. Well done sir, you squids say something else but I don't recall what it is.
      For those who've never read it before I've copied the first, and second paragraphs of the Mississippi declaration of session.
      In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

      "Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin."
      The next time you hear "it wasn't about slavery" here's some ammo.

      Delete
  105. Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company. -George Washington

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  106. I find it interesting that we do not realize that giving people more freedom does mean slavery has been done away with. If you must work for another to survive or if another is capable of not working because others need his money to survive, we still have slavery, and only the method of it use has changed. That people can be made to not realize this is what is amazing. Until they do realize this, slavery will be with us. Just because a person can be made to believe that he is not a slave does not mean that is not. We are all slaves to something, if it is only survival. Will we ever rise above being a slave to others. Not if we do not even realize that we are. Dose it make it right if we do not realize it and accept it? Humans have a long way to go, don’ they?

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