Sunday Extra: Editorial was partially off base

Sunday Extra: Editorial was partially off base

By EDWARD A. KOLODZIEJ

The lead editorial on Tuesday, Aug. 22, dutifully condemned white supremacists, while registering sympathy for President Trump's morally obtuse and uninformed assertion that all sides were at fault for the Charlottesville tragedy.

What we were witnessing in Charlottesville were white American supremacists glorifying the unspeakable Nazi extermination of millions and the celebration of the Confederate heritage of slavery.

Two key points should be kept clearly in mind in evaluating the events in Charlottesville as we brace ourselves for white supremacist and Confederate demonstrations in the future.

First, white supremacists and Confederate apologists were using First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly to destroy those rights.

How? By displaying the Nazi swastika on pamphlets calling for partisans to assemble in Charlottesville; by openly carrying weapons, including automatic rifles, to intimidate the police, protesters and peaceful onlookers; by openly brandishing sticks and shields; by random beatings of protesters caught in video footage; by gleefully embracing the Nazi salute amidst a sea of torches reminiscent of Hitler's triumphal Nuremberg rally; by chanting "Jews will not replace us"; and, worse, by inflaming one of their deranged followers to drive ISIS-like into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Second, consider the contrasting moral positions of the protesters and that of the white supremacists and their Confederate allies. The protesters were defending the unassailable principle, proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, that all Americans are free and equal.

In their deep-throated rejection of that principle, the demonstrators forfeited their inclusion, absent unequivocal renunciation of violence, as respected participants in the ongoing American experiment to form a more perfect Union.

Claiming moral equivalence between the two groups is wrongheaded and deplorable at the very least; dangerous, if tolerated, for the fate of American democracy at the most.

Edward A. Kolodziej of Champaign is a political science emeritus professor at the University of Illinois.

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GLG wrote on September 06, 2017 at 9:09 pm

What about the Alt. left hate groups?? BLM, ANTIFA, Black Panthers, Occupy,  Pork chop Louie Farakans Nation of Islam, Are you OK with them?  By your leaving them out of your writing I think you are.