David Duke, the White Supremacy theorist and a former KKK leader, quoted Donald Trump’s tweet: ‘I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.’ What’s going on? 80% of the voters in Charlottesville voted for Hillary Clinton. Since 2008, it’s always Dems winning in VA; However Virginia, one of the Thirteen Colonies, has always been closely associated with slavery throughout the history. What’s more VA and its Governor, Terry McAuliffe (D), were among the firsts to stand against Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban.
The protests go back to the removal of a Confederate Monument, i.e. Robert E. Lee’s statue in Charlottesville; not the first Confederate Symbol to be removed over the past years. What makes it particular is actually the procedure of its removal:
- The story started through a petition, launched by a black high-school student.
- The vice-mayor, who was the only black member of the City Council, proposed the statue to be equipped with historical details so that it could be used as a demonstration of the course of history.
- The city council voted that the statue would be sold.
This was where the organizers of the protest made their first public appearance. Through an appeal court, they postponed the removal of the statue and in the meanwhile they campaigned in Virginia and some other Southern states; namely in Louisiana, where Jefferson Davis’s statue was previously removed, and in South Carolina, where the Charlestone Church Shooting had taken place.
As for the terms used by the protesters, they could be well easily associated with Trump’s electoral campaign. Trump kept silence till the time that the Emergency State was declared and in his statement, he invited everyone ‘to condemn hate’ despite numerous speeches and vows of his promoting hate across the nation and the world. He blamed the violence on many sides and repudiated to associate it with White Supremacists. He refused to comment on what the journalists asked him as if the car driving into the crowd could be called a terrorist attack and left the hall instead.
In my opinion, there should be a number of issues to consider as for this movement:
- The organizers and the promoters of such demonstrations pose two questions relying on the incorrect understanding of power mechanisms and lack of historical consciousness.
- Why would a movement like “Black Lives Matter” be known as progressive but a possible “White Lives Matter” would be labeled as Nazism?
- Why should historical symbols be removed as slavery symbols?
- One of the key factors that made nationalists vote for Donald Trump, instead of Hillary Clinton, was that Trump was known as a non-interventionist. Over the past days with the menaces against NK and Venezuela, nationalists are feeling threatened that Trump’s foreign concerns could reduce his focus on domestic issues and what he had campaigned on as “draining the swamp.”
- Fascism in Europe demonstrates a grassroot movement blaming the political structure for the intensification of the political, cultural and economical heterogeneity; Thus looking for a figure that could restore “law and order.” What was, partially, realized through Donald Trump being elected as the President but turned out to be more complicated than expected when Trump lost some battles to the political structure, i.e. The Senate and US Congress.
- Charlottesville is now a symbolic arena of hatred against groups as an issue in contemporary US; That’s to say, Charlottesville, and previously Charlestone or Orlando, made the public notice hatred against groups as an issue, present in political atmosphere of the society. However, one should note that hatred against groups has been, is, and is to be a present issue in American society. Charlottesville’s symbolicalness should not cause a negligence of everyday racism, sexism and homophobia.
- Majority of the journalists use the rhetoric that “Everyone is free to express whatever they believe in” and give up on criticizing such creeds; consequently they’ll be victims of the very movement towards which they were being neutral. At the moment, American journalism is taking a causal approach focusing on Trump and his coping with the issue, rather than taking the course of events into account.