Borrowing a page from one of my favorite writers and historians, Victor Davis Hanson, I’ve opted to share this recent angry “letter to the editor” of the newspaper I write for, and my response. The writer of the letter has been triggered by last week’s “Charlottesville” piece. I wouldn’t normally post this sort of thing, but the writer betrays something of the totalitarian mindset lurking just beneath the surface of so many of the more animated social justice warriors.
The Angry Reader:
Craig Rullman’s column in the Nugget titled “Charlottesville” (The Nugget, August 15, page ) is a barely veiled, and completely wrong, claim of moral equivalency of white supremacists and counter protestors, more specifically those of the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement, during the recent demonstrations in Charlottesville.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in 2015, white supremacists accounted for 38 percent of all extremist killings, followed by Islamist, anti-government, and anti-abortion extremists. Left-wing extremism accounted for around 1 percent of all killings; so-called “black extremism” did not register.
We can accept the belief that black lives matter. We can accept the belief that white lives matter. Each of these statements is true by itself, and stating one by itself does not diminish nor negate the other. It is sad and telling that a group feels the need and compelled to state that their lives matter.
Rullman dismisses the media, as he has in the past, parroting Trump’s ridiculous accusations of “fake news”, as biased and misleading, but he says nothing about the media’s pursuit of the truth when presented with Donald Trump’s lies. The latest lie, Trump stated the counter protestors did not have permits to demonstrate, but they did have permits.
Rullman states there is no institutional racism in the United States, but we don’t have to look beyond the White House to see it, where Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka not only bring with them a history of racist rhetoric and acts, but who are currently stoking and inculcating racism in government, and the populace, with their opinions and policies.
If you claim to be an American, and that you love the United States, then you must be against those, and monuments to those, and the disgusting “heritage” embodied by those, who tried to destroy the United States, such as Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and you must be against those who now don’t believe in one of the United State’s most admired principles, that all people are created equal. Unfortunately, this principle is under growing attack, and Rullman has implicitly lended his support by his column.
Dear Angry Reader,
Your letter, like so much of the current atmosphere, is full of righteous “musts”. That’s unfortunate, a missed opportunity really, and I would submit that you risk painting yourself into a very tight moral corner when making such blanket demands of, and accusations toward, your fellow intelligent and free-thinking citizens.
I’m sorry that you insist on a belief that America is institutionally racist, apparently based on your vehement dislike of the current administration. Many millions of your fellow citizens, from all walks of life, would be rightly appalled to find themselves so condemned. You do honest people a terrible injustice with that approach, which can only serve to be divisive.
Notably, you do not condemn the many violent actors in Charlottesville where, in a scene reminiscent of Altona, in 1932, both brownshirts and communists, moral equivalents by any objective standard, met in the streets to do violence.
Naturally, you are entitled to believe that a statue of Robert E. Lee, or any memorial at all—one supposes—is subject to demolition during spasms of atonement.
There are, as I’m sure you know, motions currently afoot to defund the Jefferson Memorial for the same reasons. One can be forgiven for asking, then: if I refuse to disavow Thomas Jefferson, will I one day be lined up against a wall by the latest arbiters of truth? Must I be?
The world has seen that sort of thinking before.
You are factually wrong in your assertion that I “dismiss” the media. That isn’t nuanced enough. Rather, it’s that many of us recognize a growing trend toward hyperbolic news, which often devolves even further into hypothetical news, which isn’t really news at all.
A discerning adult must question the coverage bias of the information provider, and I certainly hope my column encourages readers to do so. Each day, it appears, there is less and less journalism and more and more political ideology masquerading as balanced reporting. That’s true across the spectrum. Unlike you, I’m often left unconvinced that our monolithic news organizations are, in fact, pursuing the truth over an agenda. I’m glad you don’t struggle with those notions.
In fact, I like the media so much, I wonder if you would join me in condemning the supposedly peaceful counter-protestors who brutally beat two journalists in Charlottesville after they refused to stop filming Antifa antics?
In the meantime, while you savage your neighbors with vile inference–whose only fault is testing some of your positions–I’ll stick with Alveda King, who said of Charlottesville: “I believe that if we pray, and we act like reasonable, thinking people, one blood, different skin colors, one human blood in America, we will get to the bottom of some of this. My uncle Martin Luther King said, ‘I decided to stick with love. Hate is too difficult a burden to bear.’ I agree with that.”