I know a number of people angered by the events over the past few days in Charlottesville. Rightly so. I am sure there are a number of people-hopefully, far fewer-emboldened by those events. In case you live under a rock or outside of the US, I'm talking about the protest and counter-protest swirling around Neo-Nazis and Confederate symbols in Virginia. Oh, and the violence that happened. Politically motivated violence. Terrorism.
Let's look at the definition of that last word, shall we? Terrorism: n., the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
Sure, the lawyer in me says we need to wait to see if the young man who killed a counter-protester is guilty of murder, blah, blah, blah. The realist says that a man photographed with the Vanguard America folks absolutely intended to inflict harm in furtherance of his twisted ideology. Don't worry, the link is to the info page about the group created by the Anti-Defamation League; I wouldn't send traffic to a Nazi group.
Here is where it gets tricky for me. I firmly believe that the ideals of our country militate for supporting the right to spew this sort of ideological hogwash. The right to be politically, and actually, hateful does not mean they are right. I think all Americans in their right mind can agree that Neo-Nazis are wrong. The fact that they pretend to represent the ideals of the conservative right should mean that conservatives need to be even more vocal in expressing opposition to this sort of repugnant creed.
To be clear: I am conservative. The beliefs and hatreds fundamental to the white supremacist and Nazi movements are abhorrent. Left and Right, Democrat and Republican, we can-and should-all be able to say that they do not represent us and the hatred they espouse has no place in our Republic.
Let me just remind you, in closing, calling for people to "punch Nazis in the face" is also a call for terrorism... But, this is a topic for further discussion.