Scrolling through social media, outrage towards the recent activities in Charlottesville, Virginia is apparent. It is very easy to come to a quick decision condemning the gathering of the alt-right that killed peaceful protestor Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who died after being run over by white supremacist James Alex Fields, Jr.
As easy it is to be enraged by this abhorrent act, it is just as easy to fall victim to emotionally ridden responses. Many of these responses are founded on erroneous assumptions and will only lead to problematic decisions in the future.
The first error made is the direct link between President Donald Trump and the alt-right. Yes, many alt-right members did vote for Trump. This, however, does not equate every Trump voter as a member of the alt-right. Nor does it mean that Trump is the leader of the movement. Others also directly blame Trump for fostering the environment to allow for political violence.
By that logic, should we demonize the whole religion of Islam for the actions taken by the Orlando nightclub shooter and the San Bernardino shooter? Or should we blame Barack Obama for presiding over the country at that time? No, that is ridiculous. So does the claim that the Republican Party—and Trump—are all directly responsible for the tragedy at Charlottesville. It’s ironic that the same administration that has vowed to bring down the hammer down on white supremacy is simultaneously being blamed for its existence. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his plans to stop the terrorism in Charlottesville clear, seeking new enforcement powers from Congress.
This reactionary train of thought creates a second dangerous situation. A binary response is being demanded by the reactionary left. It follows the logic of being with or against them. Unless you are supportive of Antifa and other borderline domestic terrorist organizations, you are a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer. This takes away the ability to nuance a situation; the same thing President Trump did in his first statement regarding Charlottesville citing blame on both sides.
Believe it or not, there is blame on both sides. There was violence by radical leftist groups at the rally. This, however, still does not warrant a violent response. We are living in an environment where it is perfectly acceptable to burn down the city of Berkeley, California over the presence of a gay conservative but not acceptable to criticize people who actually are violent. This is all out of fear of being labeled a Nazi or fascist by the uneducated reactionaries.
Hitler’s rise to power cemented with the Reichstag fire which burned outside the German Parliament building and was ultimately blamed on the communists. The hysteria allowed for Hitler to convince the government to hand him absolute power as Chancellor. To this day, we don’t know if the fire was actually started by the communists. It is hypothesized that it was started by the Nazis to incite hysteria.
This is not to say Charlottesville is a false-flag conspiracy. It was a movement of white supremacists started by white supremacists.
The United States seems to be creeping closer and closer to a tipping point. A point where a Reichstag fire of our own could have dire consequences. We must be wary of those who would hand over our freedoms in favor of government power, despite their claim of fighting fascism.