I just don’t even know what to say about Virginia this weekend. I’m so tired of this stuff that I don’t know what to do at this point, nor do I really feel like doing something is going to help much.
I mean, I live in California. I donate as much as I can afford to the ACLU. I’m 100% against Nazism, as is everyone I know. I don’t have hopes that anything I do will make the president denounce these people, or that by saying something I can make these folks feel ashamed of themselves. I’m tired. I just don’t want to do it anymore.
I will also say that I 100% realize that being tired so easily and being able to just give up is a function of my own white privilege. I’m blonde and blue-eyed. The Neo-Nazis are gonna leave me alone if I ignore them. Not everyone can say that.
But I’m still at a loss. I don’t know what I can do that will make a difference in a world where we have a president that is more outraged by Nordstrom’s refusal to carry his daughter’s handbag line than he is by alt-right terrorism. I don’t know what to do in a world where that galvanizes his supporter base instead of alienating it. I don’t want that base to be my friends and neighbors, even though it often is. Whatever we feel about him and his business sense, I would hope that we could at least agree that domestic terrorism isn’t okay.
I wish I had more to offer besides a refusal to be silent despite my strong desire to toss up my hands. I don’t have any salient points, and I’ll admit it.
The whole episode makes me think of the time when Neo-Nazis protested in Claremont, oh – not quite 10 years ago now. I read that it was happening in the Courier, and everyone was flummoxed. There weren’t actually any Neo-Nazi groups in Claremont, but for some reason they had picked the city for their protest.
I’m not even sure if they were actually protesting anything so much as they were trying to be ornery in a city they knew wouldn’t be pleased. There was an entire corner of counter-protestors that was bigger than the Neo-Nazi group. I had thought about joining them several days before-hand, but I had to work that morning so that ended the ambivalence.
I did drive through the intersection on my way to work, though. I was struck by how unhappy the Neo-Nazi’s seemed. It wasn’t even an angry fervor. The entire crowd of them had that pissed rebellious-child look that made me think they all REALLY didn’t want to be there. They stood quietly behind their banner with those insolent looks on their face, using their laminated canvas like a shield, sulking.
It was the counter-protest corner that was alive. Colorful homemade signs flew above the crowd, and the throng chanted and writhed on their corner, insisting that the Neo-Nazis weren’t welcome and shouting messages of peace. The vibe was not at all what I would expect. The Neo-Nazi’s looked back at them in silence, just giving them and the police the stink-eye.
Police directed the traffic through the intersection, and made sure that the two corners across from each other didn’t mingle.
It was non-violent. I only had that 3-minute glimpse of it all before the policeman waved me through the intersection and I sped to the freeway ramp in the distance. It stuck in my mind, though. Why would the Neo-Nazi’s purposefully go to a city to make them pissed and then just end up silently pissed themselves?
Like I said, I don’t have anything to offer really. Just that small memory.
Maybe I should try and get up some patriotic gumption ala West Wing; that this country is remarkable because it seeks to protect even those who would destroy it. People died, though, and I don’t think I can quite manage it right now.