Yesterday, a group of neo-Nazi inspired white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. One of these individuals decided it was a good idea to drive his car into a crowd of counter-protesters and anyone else who happened to be standing in his way. One young woman was killed and 19 were injured. As always when terror strikes, our prayers go out to the victims and their families.
Hours later, President Trump made some comments condemning the attack. Trump: "We condemn this egregious display of bigotry and violence on many sides; it's been going on for a long time in our country," noting that it predates both his and Obama's presidencies. The uproar over Trump's use of "on many sides" immediately followed.
One criticism concerned Trump seeming to create some equivalency between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters. But, Trump did say that this violence has been going on for a long time. So, if we are honest, we must acknowledge he is correct. The violence against Congressman Scalise and others at the Republican Congressional baseball practice was actually quite recent. Then we have the violent protesters against freedom of speech, most notably at Berkeley. And, we can go back through our country's history and cite numerous incidents of political violence "on many sides."
The other criticism of Trump's comments had to do with his failure to call the attack for what it was - a domestic terrorist attack by white nationalists. Here, I am struck by the sheer hypocrisy of the Left. Obama would never call Islamic terrorism by its name. Instead, he referred to "violent extremism." Did those criticizing Trump now ever criticize Obama for the same lack of specificity in refusing to put a name to terrorism? Not likely. Instead, we have the usual hypocrisy from the Left.
Some examples. Actor Ed Helms referred to Trump's statement as "milquetoast drivel." That is rather interesting, as Trump also said: "Above all else, we must remember this truth - no matter our color, creed, religion or political party - we are all Americans first." Is there a problem with that? Helms: "What kind of coward is afraid to call out white supremacy by name?" Did Helms call Obama a coward for failing to call out radical Islam?
Actor and activist George Takai made a similar remark: "If you ever need to explain moral cowardice and false equivalence, quote Trump's "on all sides" speech today. Made me want to turn and spit."
Once, when Obama was explaining why he would not say "Islamic terrorism," he said that "no religion is responsible for terrorism. People are responsible for violence and terrorism." Does that explain why Obama, and many on the Left, so often referred to Islamic terrorist attacks as "isolated incidents?" And, can we say that "people" committed the violence in Charlottesville, and not have to identify those people any further? In early 2015, following the Islamic terrorist attack in Paris on, among other victims, people in a kosher market, Obama would not even identify the victims - the targeted victims - as Jews. Rather, you may recall he referred to them as "a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris." Obama refused to say that an Islamic terrorist targeted Jews. Who was the coward then?
My take. The truth should always prevail. Of course Trump should have identified the rat-bastards who carried out this attack as neo-Nazi white supremacist terrorists. (I apologize for the language not usually seen in this blog, but as a Jew, and as an American, what I actually think of neo-Nazis cannot be said here. Six million of my fellow Jews died at the hands of the Nazis, family members fought the Nazis, and we remember the over 400,000 American soldiers who died, mostly fighting Nazis, during World War II.) The neo-Nazi, white supremacist ideology is a hateful ideology - unable to see the humanity in the "other." In that regard, it is no different from radical Islam. Both should be properly identified as enemies of this country.