When reacting to the rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia, #President Donald Trump was entirely accurate when he stated, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.” He was also, especially in the judgment of his many enemies on social media, being woefully inadequate. Why did the president not condemn the perpetrators of the violence by name? Some of that social media reaction was no doubt opportunistic, coming from people who are pretty sure that the president tacitly encouraged the violence, especially from the racist alt-right. Fortunately, Roger Simon at Pajamas Media provides some sober perspective,

Who perpetrated the violence in Charlottesville?

Roger Simon notes that during its height in the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan had four million members in a country of about 100 million people.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Fast forward to the 1990s, and we see that the Klan had about 6,000 to 10,000 actives members. Adding all of the alt-right hate groups, neo-Nazis, skinheads, Klansmen, and so on, and Simon arrives at a figure of 100,000 active white supremacists in a country of 325 million, an embarrassing number, but hardly a threat to democracy.

The other half of the equation of what happened at Charlottesville is the so-called Antifa movement, a group of radical leftists who have already rioted at the University of California at Berkeley and President Trump’s inauguration. Numbers of Antifa activists are rather hard to come by, but we can safely assume that they make up a similar or maybe slightly higher number of the white supremacist hate groups.

In short, the people who rumbled in Charlottesville were not representative of Americans, people who would like to be left alone by the ideologues to live their lives.

Advertisements

The rioters, both in their way marching under banners of evil, failed movements, came to Charlottesville ready to fight, wearing body armor and carrying clubs and projectiles. They have decided that political issues should not be decided by debate or at the ballot box, but in the streets. Charlottesville brings to mind the street battles fought between Nazis and Communists in Weimer Germany, which did not turn out well.

It’s not Trump’s fault, but he has to do more

Contrary to what is being expressed on social media, #Political Violence is not the president’s fault. Haters on the right and the left predate Trump’s political career and, indeed, his existence on this planet. However, many unhinged people, a great many of the angry, alienated young men, have been triggered by Trump’s election. Three people are dead as a result and a country, already facing lots of stress because of economic malaise and the threat of war in Asia, is on edge.

Trump’s critics are right about one thing. He needs to name the people who decided the blood in the streets is perfectly acceptable political dialogue.

Advertisements

Americans rightly condemned President Obama for not naming Islamist terrorism. #President Trump needs to name the twin evils of fascist white supremacy and violent Marxist terrorism. Naming the thing is the first step toward solving the thing.