The Jagged Truth: Nazis Are Nazis


Furious frat boy mob. Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In the vile wake of Charlottesville - of those sweaty young white men, their absurd tiki torches glowing and their pasty faces contorted, screaming "Jews Will Not Replace Us!" "Fuck You Faggots!" and the infamous Nazi "Blood and Soil!" - what to say? Some in officialdom sought to rise to the egregious occasion: Gov. Terry McAuliffe was clear when he told them to take their hate, "go home and never come back." "We are stronger than you," he declared. "There is no place for you in America." The mayor was clear, too, with his actions: He expedited the removal of Confederate statues. In Seattle, where the mob went next, a King County executive called out "the white supremacists and fascists": "We fought a Civil War against slavery, and you lost. We fought a World War against fascism, and you lost. Today, we stand united against the hateful rhetoric you have brought to our community. And you will lose again." Our racist-and-appalling-human-being-in-chief, meanwhile, "babbled in the face of tragedy." One observer named it: "A woman died on American soil fighting Nazis, and our president said nothing."

Many other Americans grieved, raged, wept, resolved to both name and push back against the hate-filled racism and domestic terrorism unleashed by this administration. Anonymous reportedly hacked into the foul Daily Stormer, which after the death of Heather Heyer called her "a fat childless 32-year-old slut." The Internet being the Internet, the photo of those pudgy, torch-bearing, khaki-clad frat boys seething about their non-existent oppression drew dutiful jokes: "When mom doesnt get pizza rolls for ur sleepover...March Against Mosquitoes." For most, though, it's hard to joke about the "jagged, sickening truth" of Charlottesville. Naval veteran Jim Wright insisted we name the evils - "Fuck racist terrorism...fuck Nazis...fuck Trump" - as did progressive pastor John Pavlovitz, who urged that "in moments that are this clear, when the malignancy is so fully on display...we whose pigmentation matches theirs need to speak with unflinching clarity about this or we simply amen it."

"White people especially need to name racism in this hour, because somewhere in that crowd of sweaty, dead-eyed, raw-throated white men are our brothers and cousins and husbands and fathers and children...They need to be made accountable by those they deem their 'own kind.' They need to know that this is not who we are, that we don’t bless or support or respect this. They need white faces speaking directly into their white faces, loudly on behalf of love." - John Pavlovitz

Calling out hatred, decades ago and this week.

A sign at a rally here in Portland. A woman held another that read, "Say No To Nazis"; we both paused to marvel how insane it is we actually have to say that.

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