“All men are created equal.” From the moment those famous words were uttered in the Declaration of Independence, America has been engulfed in a ceaseless struggle for true equality among its citizens.
The fight began with trying to eradicate slavery, a struggle that lasted more than half a century before resulting in one of the bloodiest wars fought by Americans against Americans. The Civil War ravaged America and left the country in pieces but even the Civil War couldn’t bring about equality. The institution of slavery may have been destroyed but it was replaced by an informal (and sometimes formal) web of laws, rules, and customs that were meant to institutionalize racism in America.
These laws, most notoriously known as “Jim Crow Laws”, championed the idea that white and black people were “separate but equal.” But slowly over the decades, brave pioneers challenged these laws and one by one, this informal structure of racism began to crumble. Among the greatest of these civil rights leaders was Martin Luther King Jr. By today, civil rights for minorities across this nation have taken a definite turn for the better and the 2008 election of Barack Obama, America’s first black President, was a sign that America was almost there at last.
Yet the hopes that a black President would finally heal the nation have failed to materialize. Minority communities still continue to suffer the highest unemployment and incarceration rates while police violence and brutality continue to haunt our communities. Anger hasn’t subsided and has instead begun to swell like a rising tide. The countless incidents of police brutality in the United States have led to riots and chaos that birthed the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
At the same time, eight years of a black President have infuriated the nation’s hardcore white supremacists. Since President Obama’s election, the nation saw a huge increase in these groups’ membership numbers. All of this negative energy and frustration, different in its reasons but alike in its ferocity, exploded like a nuclear bomb during the 2016 President election.
Trump is by no means a white supremacist although his Leftist enemies continue to try to tar him and paint him as such. But many white supremacists, KKK, and neo-Nazi groups latched onto his populist revolution, seeing it as the best vehicle for furthering their own sick goals. While Trump championed a message of “Making America Great Again”, many of these white supremacist groups saw a different meaning for his slogan.
Since Trump’s inauguration, there has been constant fighting between far-left and far-right groups. Groups like “Black Lives Matter” and “Antifa” have taken aggressive, even violent positions against Trump’s supporters and white supremacy groups. This has culminated the weekend confrontation between white supremacists and leftist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia that left three dead and dozens wounded.
President Trump’s remarks to this outrage were also attacked by the Liberal media for being “vague” as he condemned the “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” His comments could’ve have been done better and I do concede that he should’ve been a little more precise in criticizing white supremacy’s role in the Charlottesville riots. However, Trump’s remarks are also very poignant in a good way because they highlight the duplicity of this struggle.
It’s much easier to hate on white supremacists and neo-Nazis than on groups like “Black Lives Matter” and “Antifa” but the reality is that all of their activities are based on race-baiting radical politics with no purpose other than to further polarize, tear apart, and divide up our nation. “Black Lives Matter” was a movement with real issues and real concerns that are worth addressing but since Trump’s election, they have morphed into a liberal hate group that constantly attacks the President at every turn.
Their form of advocacy along with Antifa is to smash windows, burn cars, and they don’t even have the gall to show their faces, preferring to wear masks that make them look more like ISIS fighters than American political activists. But if these groups thought that they would intimidate white supremacists and Trump supporters through their lawless thuggish behavior, they have failed. Instead, right-wing groups and white supremacists have responded with their own show of force and have demonstrated they too are capable of terrorism.
Dylann Roof’s horrendous attack on black church goers has been the rallying cry for many in fighting white supremacy but this isn’t the only side that has taken hits. A black man upset about the police brutality in America ambushed and killed two NYPD officers in 2014 while in 2016, another black man killed five police officers and injured nine others for similar reasons. I am not trying to point out that black people are trying to kill police and many of the black community leaders openly condemned these violent actions.
But these acts nonetheless show an accelerating cycle of violence that is only successful at polarizing communities and fomenting distrust between people. I think it’s time for a great quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
While King was specifically taking about the violence in America during the fight for civil rights, his wise words can apply to any situation and even in today. “Black Lives Matter” and Antifa activists would do well to take the words of King under advisement. Attacking neo-Nazis and white supremacists doesn’t scare them away and will only embolden them to just strike back. And when these groups devolve into rioting, both look bad and those trying to fight hate end up losing their moral ground in the process.
White supremacy is a cancer that needs to be stopped. It’s not as widespread as they would have us believe but America can’t risk it spreading any further. I agree that there is still clear vestiges of racism and oppression left in America that must be gotten rid of. But instead of attacking the institutions, minorities have resorted to attacking their fellow citizens and trying to turn us back into tribal groups based on our skin color. We have work to do and we are still a work in progress but this kind of division only serves to deeper embroil us in strife that threatens to completely sweep away the progress many have fought so hard to achieve.
We need to fight hate in America, not with Antifa tactics and rioting, but with love and tolerance while exposing these intolerant bigoted supremacist groups for who they really are.
Follow Publius Tacitus on Twitter at @PCTacitus