About what happened in Charlottesville…


Y’all, I’ve had quite a few thoughts about this, but they’re all pretty involved and would take me time to develop and I haven’t had the time. But for now, I’ll do what I should have done Saturday — put up a sort of Open Thread devoted to what happened at Charlottesville, so y’all can get a conversation rolling.

Some possible avenues of exploration:

  1. Trump’s statement — As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think the president’s job description should, normally speaking, include issuing statements in reaction to every traumatic thing that happens across the country. But if he’s going to say something, it should be something that, for starters, doesn’t make matters worse. Trump utterly failed to meet that standard. And it wasn’t just his usual complete lack of thoughtfulness or hamhandedness with the English language. We know why he responded the way he did: He does not share the fundamental values of most Americans. He actually values the rock-solid backing of white supremacists, and doesn’t want to say anything that erodes that support.
  2. How do we prevent such violence without violating the 1st Amendment? If the ACLU stood up for the “right” of Illinois Nazis to march through Skokie, surely it would sue to uphold that right with this latter-day group of racist yahoos. And who’s to say the ACLU would be wrong? Personally, I think they were wrong in the Skokie days — sure, the Hitler fan club had the right to say what it wanted, but letting them do it in Skokie is too much of an offense against human dignity to allow it. This case seems fuzzier. Again, yes, they have free speech rights. But they went out of their way to express themselves in a place guaranteed to create as much tension, and likely violence, as possible. Should that be allowed? Does the free-speech clause guarantee freedom of venue? Such as, say, a crowded theater?
  3. If there would to be such a rally in Columbia, would you attend? I mean to protest, or for any other reason. Would you see yourself as having an obligation to show up in public to register your disapproval, or would you dismiss it by staying away and not giving the Brownshirt types the attention they crave? I can see arguments both ways.
  4. What about that Robert E. Lee statue? I hesitate to mention this because I don’t want to dignify the supposed “issue” that motivated the demonstration. But I mention it only to say that I have no position on the “issue.” What the University of Virginia chooses to display or to take down is none of my business, and I think Charlottesville homeboy Thomas Jefferson would back me on that. I feel like we have enough going on here in South Carolina and don’t need to weigh in on what they do up there. I would argue that any of those white supremacists who were not from Virginia lack such standing as well…

Anyway, that’s for starters. Happy conversing…

156 thoughts on “About what happened in Charlottesville…

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    To make sure our discussion of Point No. 1 is up to date, I should call your attention to this:

    Trump denounces KKK, neo-Nazis as ‘repugnant’ as he seeks to quell criticism of his response to Charlottesville violence
    President Trump denounced the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name Monday, declaring racist hate groups as “repugnant to all that we hold dear as a nation,” as he sought to tamp down mounting criticism of his response to the killing of a counterprotester at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville over the weekend.

    “Anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held accountable,” Trump said in brief remarks to reporters in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, where he returned after a week of vacation in Bedminster, N.J. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.”

    Trump added: “Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to all that we hold dear as a nation.”…

  2. Claus2

    1. So what Brad is saying is President Trump is a racist and supports racist organizations. What if this clash involved the New Black Panther Party or the BLM club… would it still be whitey’s fault?

    3. Protests and rallies are for people who have no sense of reality. There has never been one protest or rally that has changed anything.

    4. If a statue has stood for more than 10 years it needs to remain. All the political correctness in the world won’t change history… no matter how the ultra-leaning left believe it will. Do the concentration camp standing as memorials need to be destroyed? If we’re wanting to eradicate the world of symbols associated with hatred, let’s start with blowing up the pyramids in Egypt… they were built with slave labor and I’m sure there are some Egyptians out there who are offended that their ancestors were so mistreated.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      1. Nope, that’s not what I’m saying. What I AM saying is that Trump knows that while most of his supporters don’t fit in this category, white supremacists DO make up a sliver of his support base. And with his support declining down to his hard-core base, I think he’s reluctant to do anything that loses him ANY bit of support. I think today, he realized that he was going to lose a LARGER number of people if he didn’t denounce these groups. But on Saturday, I think he was trying to keep the extremists in his base happy…

  3. Doug Ross

    Ignorant, hate filled people have the right to express their opinion in public. They have that right up until the point where they actually threaten to or do commit some act of violence. This group represents a very small percentage of white people. They have no power. The best response to these idiots would be to ignore them. But today we are in a situation where everyone has to feel offended about SOMETHING and then turn that into confrontation that ends up leading to tragedy.

    What would have happened if nobody showed up to confront them? They would have stood around and chanted for awhile and then gone back to their Mom’s basement. But that’s not what the media wants these days. Gotta fan the flames 24×7.

    All the attempts to stifle free speech by calling it hate speech are bringing this to a boiling point. Stop acting offended, stop acting like you’ve been harmed when someone says something you disagree with, stop being “triggered” by words..

    1. Mark Stewart


      I would agree with you – up until the time I saw the video of the car ramming people down and back up the street. That isn’t free speech. That is terrorism. That is murder. Another in a long line of such misguided actions from the far right yahoos.

      Also – can someone please explain how “militias” supposedly organized to protect the ideal of our Constitutional Republic are acting as armed body-guards for Neo Nazis? I get that they are basically one in the same people, but the divergence in philosophies is something to behold. It’s hilarious actually, were it not such a vile display of self-realized impotency.

      It was good to see the Confederate Battle Flag flown in such august company Saturday; lest anyone be swayed by the idea that the flag’s use since 1960 is anything other than a racist symbol of suppression.

      1. Doug Ross

        ” That isn’t free speech. That is terrorism. ”

        Of course it isn’t free speech. As I said “They have that right up until the point where they actually threaten to or do commit some act of violence. “.

        But I am also not going to play the word game of describing it as terrorism. It was a horrific, unconscionable act of violence. He should be tried and when found guilty, executed. Do we know that this was done with premeditated planning? Did he go to that event with the plan to mow people down? or did his violent nature come out in response to the confrontation that was happening? If you want to start ramping up the tension levels, then feel free to use the word terrorism to describe it.

        1. Doug Ross

          When a Muslim drives a car into a crowd of people we are told repeatedly that these lone wolves don’t represent Islam in general. When one messed up idiot white supremacist drives into a bunch of people, it’s a reflection on every non-Democrat white person. Got it.

  4. Mark Stewart

    I’m still trying to understand the calculus here for the President: Trump defends the part of his base that has nowhere to go with his sorry-ass commentary Saturday, which will inevitably continue the rapid erosion of the more moderate GOP supporters and other “regular” populists? How does that work? Is he trying to get to <10% approval? Obviously his unconscious is driving him that way – there really isn't any other explanation, is there?

    There are more good people who supported Trump than these rabid, hateful imbeciles; how long do they stay on the sinking ship with these rats before they leap for the lifeboats? This was a display of Trump's base as he conceives it. That's worth a lot of reflection in a lot of good people…

    1. Doug Ross

      ” This was a display of Trump’s base as he conceives it. ”

      I disagree with that statement and nothing that Trump has said indicates it. I believe he thinks his base is a mix of blue collar workers and upper middle class and above people. I think he thinks his base is all about work/business.

      When he first responded to yesterday’s events, people blasted him for what he didn’t say. Then when he came out today and in no uncertain terms denounced every segment of what you claim to be his base, the same people said “sorry, too late” or “we don’t believe you”. The bias is already built in against him Everyone on the left is looking for a fight, looking for confrontation, looking to turn the temperature up to 212 degrees.

      I’ve said it before. This is just 1968-1970 repeating itself. Yesterday was Kent State.

        1. Doug Ross

          People are dividing into camps based on an issue (race/Vietnam War). The level of vitriol between the sides is increasing to where people act violently. Neither side is attempting to do anything BUT increase the tension.

          What’s worse now is the media feels it is necessary to fan the flames for ratings.

          1. Doug Ross

            Remember the Watts race riots? How about Boston during desegregation? How about Reginald Denny in 1992? Yesterday was another data point in a long running saga.

      1. bud

        You’re wrong Doug. This is most assuredly an important part of Trumps base and by extension the Republican base. Acts of alt-right incidents are up sharply. White supremacist membership is up. Trump is a bigot. A large portion of his supporters are bigots. Ignoring them is just not an option.

        1. Doug Ross

          Quantify it in terms of a percentage. What percent of the voters in Pennsylvania or Wisconsin would you say are alt-right neo-Nazis?

          1. Kay Packett

            The neo-Nazis are the tip of the iceberg. I know many Trump supporters who think as the hate groups do, even if they would never say so in public. They voted for Trump in part because they believed him to be a successful businessman who would turn the establishment on its head, but probably in larger part because he spoke to their fear that American culture–by which they mean white culture–is disappearing as blacks advance and immigration increases. Put a percentage on it? Probably about the same as the percentage of voters who STILL think Trump is doing a good job.

            1. Doug Ross

              So you think 1 out of every 3 people is living in fear of black advancement and immigration? Next time you are in a group, look to your right and look to your left. One of them is a neo-Nazi in waiting apparently.

              But let me ask you – do you think there isn’t any reason for any person to be bothered/angered/troubled by any aspect of the changes that have occurred in the past few decades when it comes to immigration and diversity? How about the workers in Florida who were replaced with H1B visa Indians and were forced to train their replacements? Can they express some anger over losing their jobs or should they just go along with it cheerfully?

              1. Kay Packett

                I am regularly in groups of people where I can look to my left and right and see 20 people who voted for Trump precisely in the hope that he would curtail cultural change. Many in direct reaction to the first black president, who, as one person said to my face, would make black people believe that “they belong in the big house and we belong in the fields.” If you don’t think white supremacy is alive and well in South Carolina, you’re kidding yourself.

                As for workers mistreated by corporations far more interested in making huge profits than in paying Americans a living wage, I’d say their anger is misplaced. The Indian visa-holders didn’t cause that problem.

                1. Kay Packett

                  One fine Christian who attended church with me happily passed along this appalling screed, which concludes, “The experiment has failed. Not because of culture, or white privilege, or racism. The fundamental problem is that white people and black people are different. They differ intellectually and temperamentally. These differences result in permanent social incompatibility.”

                2. Doug Ross

                  And when people make stupid statements like that, do you call them out on it?

                  I, on the other hand, go to a church that was spun off from a very large Baptist church with minimal black members. But what I’ve seen over the past few years is a real uptick in the number of black attendees. I’m assuming that’s because they feel welcome there. Things ARE changing for the better. The fact is that we recognize and ridicule and ignore those who spout intolerance more than ever before.

                3. Kay Packett

                  Calling them out doesn’t change their hearts. Things may be getting better, as you say, but it’s coming slowly for a lot of people.

                4. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “The fact is that we recognize and ridicule and ignore those who spout intolerance more than ever before.”

                  Yes and no. The fact that someone appealing to that intolerance just got elected president sort of argues that they are not being marginalized.

                  There was a time, a few years ago, when there was such a thing as a civil consensus in this society, and that consensus criticized, ridiculed and ignored the extremists, and it had an effect. Even people who had racist attitudes knew to keep such views to themselves, because SOCIETY as a whole disapproved.

                  We don’t have that now. Now, the ridicule and criticism and disapproval is there, and amplified by social media, but it’s dismissed by those who choose to dismiss it as coming from THOSE PEOPLE, and you know how THEY are — they always say that kind of stuff.

                  The condemnation gets dismissed by too many people as, “Yeah? Well, ya know, that’s just like, uh, your OPINION, man…”

            2. Claus2

              Okay you’ve written a blanket statement about Trump voters, now can you do the same for Hillary voters?

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Why on Earth should she? Donald Trump is president of the United States, a fact that Americans have to deal with. Hillary Clinton is this has-been who way back when ran for president a couple of times and lost. Why would anyone waste breath on her? She’s irrelevant to anything going on in the world today.

                It is BIZARRE how Trump supporters keep bringing her up, as though we were still in the middle of 2016 or something…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I mean, can’t you say anything good about your own guy?

                  I perfectly understand that you might find that difficult, but constantly bringing up what’s-her-name is a really desperate way of changing the subject…

  5. Juan Caruso

    The violence was indefensible and utterly tragic. Unfortunately, (local) government played a pathetic role of enabling the violednce.

    What is NOT being discussed because it is not well-reported is this:

    The NYT reported only this:
    “Unite the Right” rally’s leader had obtained a federal court injunction against Charlottesville which had voted to revoke the PERMIT for the rally to begin at noon.

    The NYT has yet to report this, however:
    Some Counter protestors clashed with the supremacists as they were assembling prior to the noon rally’s start.

    My question is simply why counter protesters were close to objects of their hatred.

    In my opinion the city abdicated its duty of oversight by allowing the counter protestor clash. Justice will be carried out in the case of the idiot driver, but the idiot city gets the ususl government pass for its horrendous inaction. Did some city, state, federal government officials actually want viloence to occur.?

    What may have been a preposterous question a decade ago seems relevant after the corrupt practices since 2008.

  6. Burl Burlingame

    When this “sliver of his base” was roughing up protesters at his rallies last year, and the rest of the audience were cheering them on, Trump promised them legal representation. Is that still the case?

  7. bud

    To be fair Trump’s real base isn’t alt-right bigots. It’s also NOT working class and middle class voters. He doesn’t care a damn thing about them. His real constituency is the super rich. Specifically it’s one man – Donald J Trump. Working class folks are nothing but deluded toadies.

      1. Doug Ross

        Trump got 1.4 million votes in Wisconsion. How many of the 1.4 million would you describe as neo-Nazis? How about the 2.9 million votes in Pennsylvania? Just 2.8 million Nazis or a few less? How about the 4.6 million Hitler Youth in Florida? Last time I went to Disney, I missed the It’s An Aryan World ride, I guess.

        Neo-nazis / KKK are and have been a tiny segment of the population for the past 40 years. Even the Green Party laughs at their membership.

  8. Bart Rogers

    The mayor in Baltimore basically issued a stand-down order to the police and allowed the rioters to do as they pleased with no fear of arrest or being held responsible. There is never an excuse for violence and rioting under any circumstances. What Trump has done is expose the underbelly of racial intolerance on both sides by the minority, not the majority.

    This is not America, this is chaos at the local level but propagandized at the national and international level by the media and both sides. If either side truly believed in freedom of speech, the alt-right would have held their rally, the anti-protesters would stay home and so would the news cameras and the event wouldn’t have turned into violent actions by both sides.

    Yet, there are those who defend “their side” but never consider the consequences of their support and actions. As each rally for the alt-right is treated as anti-American and vice-versa, it only serves to further divide this nation. When California has a 33% support for seceding from the Union, that alone should say something especially when the accusations of treason are aimed at the Southern states for their action when they seceded. So, does that make the supporters in California treasonous because they support seceding from the Union?

    This is not a bold prediction because it is coming fast and furious based on the way each and every incident of racism or violence or some social issue of the day on both sides is broadcast 24/7 and creates a new wave of support for both sides. The prediction is that within 100 years or less, the United States will not be standing as a united country and it will divide into territories with their own form of government. We will revert back to the Civil War days when it was the Union and Confederacy but this time, more than two factions.

    Frankly, it is comforting to know I won’t be around to witness it. To quote a line from a Queen song, “who wants to live forever?”

    1. Mark Stewart

      Come on now, have a little faith. This will all settle down. It’s just a process of people realizing stupid decisions lead to serious consequences…

      1. Bart Rogers

        I do have faith but not in human behavior. No, I do have faith that when it comes to being unreliable, humans will let you down almost every time. This will not settle down, it is a trend that has been moving upward, gaining more and more momentum. Trump didn’t create or is the cause any of it, it has been there all along. All Trump has done is become the flash point for the angst and anger that has been brewing under the surface for a very long time. This happens when generational rule that has been in place for a long time is challenged and a new generation takes over. A generation that basically spurns history and believes in their own wisdom no matter how limited their experiences in life really are.

        We are going through a change and it is one that is divisive on so many fronts, it is difficult to keep track. Everyone belongs to a group or tribe that has been offended in one way or another. Gays, blacks, white men, women, Native Americans, transgenders, transsexuals, Christians, atheists, agnostics, rich people, poor people, illegal immigrants, ad infinitum, are all at some point offended about something.

        The march in Charlottesville and the prayer group in Seattle are prime examples of offended people. Heck, I am offended because I am an older, white male and we are discriminated against at almost every turn. A few years ago I applied for a position at the local tech school and I was actually overqualified. But, because of my age, my resume was sent to file 13. I learned this from a friend who worked there.

        I am mildly offended on many occasions but if I am really offended, I don’t take to the streets literally showing my a$$ like both sides did in both cities. I confront the offender face to face with civility and manners, willing to listen to their side and try to come to a mutual understanding. If that doesn’t work and if the offense is egregious enough, then I seek the counsel of someone like Bryan.

  9. bud

    In light of his pure selfish motivations Trumps various statements make perfect sense. Initially he didn’t want to offend his working class toadies by appearing too PC. When it became clear that even Fox News viewers were alarmed that he couldn’t condemn Nazis he decided maybe PC was the best course of action. Not that he has one iota of misgivings about the KKK, white supremacists or anyone but himself. So let’s not blame the media for Trumps narcissistic bigotry. They’re just messengers.

  10. Bryan Caskey

    A few thoughts. First, as an aside, I haven’t been commenting much here (or posting on my own blog at all) because I’ve been so busy with my law practice. Opening up my own firm has been really rewarding, but it’s a ton of work. There’s not enough time in the day to also blog and comment here as much as I used to.

    Basically, I’m working harder and longer hours now that I’m my own boss. However, it’s really rewarding, and I wouldn’t trade it for what I had. But I digress…

    Okay, about all this hoo-ha in Charlottesville:

    1. I’ve got no problem with the good people of Charlottesville (or UVA) deciding what monuments they want in their town or on their campus. If they want a statue of Lee, fine. If they’re ready to get rid of it, that’s fine too. I try not to tell people what to do, because I don’t like other people telling me what I have to do when it’s a matter of taste/choice/opinion/style.

    2. So these couple of hundred Nazis from all over show up for the alleged reason of being against the statue’s removal. So they show up with torches, march around, bring Nazi flags, and do the Nazi salute.

    Wait, what?

    How do they go from “We shouldn’t be taking down monuments to Robert E. Lee” to “Heil Hitler”? To me, that’s like saying 4 + 4 = Octopus. It just doesn’t follow. I mean, I get the argument that we should try to have some continuity in our history, that we should learn from it, and monuments play a part in that. Sure, sure, I get it. I’m not sure it’s a winning argument, but I at least understand that argument.

    But to make the leap to doing the Nazi thing…I just don’t get that. Probably, that’s because the Nazi bird-brains who showed up don’t really care about history, or context, or anything having to do with the South and its culture.

    This statue is just a pretext for these goobers to show up and provoke something. I guarantee you that you could get rid of every single Confederate monument in the USA, and these Nazi dorks would still rally and march around somewhere.

    So what should we do when a few hundred Nazi goofballs show up and march around?

    We should ignore them and mock them. That’s it. We don’t need to show up and yell at them. We don’t need to “confront” them. They’re entirely irrelevant, and giving them a confrontation is exactly what they want. After advertising this thing for a long time, and rallying everyone they could, they got about the same amount of people as show up for a Rotary meeting. That’s it. These idiots aren’t worth our time. They don’t have anything useful or helpful to add to political discourse. They want to kill other people because they look different. They aren’t worth arguing with.

    3. However, if you are going to address them (as POTUS, or any elected leader) you do it with the dismissive scorn reserved for mosquitoes and ticks. Regardless of what you think about him, Trump is pretty good at insulting people. If there’s one thing he’s got pretty well mastered, it’s the insult. Why can’t he muster up some good ol’ Trump insults towards these Nazi losers? I mean, they’re actually legitimate losers. This is a big ol’ fat pitch right down the middle for him, and he has this sort of tepid response.

    That baffles me. Nazis and white supremacists aren’t any sort of political force. Regardless of what bud says, Nazis aren’t anyone’s base. There aren’t enough Nazis to elect a dog-catcher, let alone a congressman, let alone a President. He could mock these dopes and actually gain net supporters. It’s a situation where the political moves align with what’s actually right. Moreover, even in some alternate reality where Nazis are a political force, every single American politician should be prepared to lose an election by disavowing Nazi votes rather than win with some Nazi support.

    4. (Final thought) The other thing I noticed was that the Nazi protest in Seattle on Sunday (again a couple dozen dorks) provoked a massive counter-protest. I first thought “Okay, fine. Glad to see people with free time are going down to show the Nazi goofs who insignificant they are”. I figured a bunch of people from Seattle would show up with American flags and just absolutely embarrass the crap out the Nazis with an overwhelming show of American spirit, patriotism, and it would be great.

    Actually, that’s not who showed up at all to “counter” the Nazis. You know who showed up?

    The freakin’ commies show up with Soviet Russia flags! I mean, come on! They’re even showing up with American flag…and burning them. AND THESE ARE THE GUYS PROTESTING AGAINST THE NAZIS!

    Bryan’s rule of thumb for protests: If you’re going to a protest in America, that’s great. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress. If you’re going to take a flag, that’s cool. However, if the flag that you bring isn’t an AMERICAN flag, you might want to leave it at home and think about exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

    1. bud

      Bryan I mostly agree with your comments but these groups are growing rapidly. They regard Trump as their champion. He does nothing to discourage them and it fact eggs them on. Perhaps ignoring them was an option a few years ago but in light of the president of the United States wink wink approach to these groups a certain stepped up vigilance is critical. I’m sure Germans laughed and mocked the Nazis in 1928.

      1. Doug Ross

        “but these groups are growing rapidly”

        Yes, they have probably grown by 100% across the U.S.!!!! From 200 to 400 people!!! Before you know it, there may be 500 of them!!! What do we do? What do we do?

        1. Bart Rogers

          Good point but to add to the conversation if I may. If no one paid attention and if the media simply downplayed the event, would we be having a discussion about it now? Therein is the problem. In the overall scheme of things, this was as the British would say, a “one off”. But, with the offended retaliating and the media feeding on the event the way sharks respond to blood in the water, it will grow as bud predicted. To add to the already over reported Charlottesville event, along comes Seattle adding more fuel to the fire and gleefully so by the media.

          The Nazi regime grew from nothing to controlling Germany and most of Europe before it was stopped and it had its beginnings from a small group of dedicated adherents. The same with communism in Russia. Sometimes we don’t pay enough attention to history and sure enough as has been proven time and time again, history will repeat itself.

          1. Doug Ross

            I don’t think it is going to grow to any meaningful number. Who among us personally knows someone who would fit the neo-nazi, alt-right label? I don’t.

            1. Mark Stewart

              Ha! Seriously, Doug?

              I guess you do live in Richland County. Try the counties just outside the plantation belt, and just inside the mill valleys, totally different vibe around those places.

              I agree not many neo-Nazis in the South. That’s obvious. But here it is much more a “lost cause” kind of thing. Militias and racists… You know. Yes, they are all around you. Not most people sure, but too many nonetheless. You know that, right? Right?

              1. Doug Ross

                Too many as in more than zero or too many as in capable of causing a dramatic change in the way people generally treat others of another race? I don’t see anything worse than any other time period in American history… in fact, in many ways there has never been a better interaction between the races. Interracial marriage isn’t a “thing” any more. We have people in color in all areas of society – you may even recall we elected a black President recently.

                Or are you suggesting that all the diversity programs and initiatives have failed over the past few decades?

                1. Bob Amundson

                  The Pew Research Center surveyed Americans in 2016 about racism and discrimination; a majority of whites thought that race relations had improved while blacks and Latinos did not agree.

                2. Bob Amundson

                  The exact question: “Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?”

                3. Doug Ross

                  Ok, what do we do then? What are the steps that must be taken to improve their perception? Can anyone give a concrete plan that includes actions?

                4. Bob Amundson

                  When I search “solutions to address inequality” there are 24,700,000 hits; i.e., it’s complicated.

              2. Claus2

                How do the neo-Nazi and other white supremacist numbers compare to say Black and Hispanic street gang numbers? You know… RIchlandj county folk. Why are the left so blind to this?

                1. Claus2

                  Why are you so shocked? Because I said “RIchland County folk”?

                  Apparently this is bad, but Mark stating “I guess you do live in Richland County. Try the counties just outside the plantation belt, and just inside the mill valleys, totally different vibe around those places. ” is okie dokie.

                2. Doug Ross

                  What’s wrong with his statements? Are you saying there is something different between gang members and neo-nazis? Is one group worse than the other? Are the number of members in either group significantly larger?

                  Ask Leon Lott who he’s more concerned about in Richland County.

                  1. Bryan Caskey

                    “Are you saying there is something different between gang members and neo-nazis?”


                    Is one group worse than the other?


                    Are the number of members in either group significantly larger?


                3. Doug Ross

                  Yeah, please do. Start with “The difference between gangs and neo-nazi thugs is…”

                  According to NationalGangCenter.gov, “The most recent (2012) estimate of approximately 850,000 gang members represents an 8.6 percent increase over the previous year.”

                4. Doug Ross

                  From the U.S. Department of Justice: ” An estimated 70 to 75 gangs with more than 100,000 members reportedly operate within Chicago and have consistently been a concern for law enforcement.”

                  That’s more than double the population of Charlottesville in just one city.

                5. Richard

                  Doug I believe what they’re trying to say is neo-Nazis are worse than street gangs is because neo-Nazis are white, and to say street gangs are worse would be a racist statement.

                  What would happen if some group pulled down a statue of MLK?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I would have the same position that I do about vandals taking it upon themselves to tear down other public monuments: I’d be against it. Just as I was against that woman climbing up the flagpole to take down the flag at the State House.

                    I have no patience with people who take the law into their own hands. Whether a public display stays up or not is properly in the hands of the people we elect to make such decisions.

                6. Mark Stewart

                  I don’t follow your point of comparison at all.

                  From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

                  HATE GROUPS
                  Traveller’s Rest

                  Horry County
                  Ft. Mill

                  Two of the hate groups (Charleston and Greenville) are actually Nation of Islam – so hardly white supremacist groups.

                  With the exception of the KKK group in Walterboro and a militia group in Sumter the dispersion of these “alt-right” (white supremacist) groups follows the contours of where I described these groups to reside.

                  I am kind of surprised that there are as many groups as the SPLC lists in Columbia; I think most of us would be more likely to say “LexCo” is more likely where you will find such groups. Is it okie dokie to say that in your view, Claus? Fair statement?

                7. Richard

                  “Is it okie dokie to say that in your view, Claus? Fair statement?”

                  You obviously have me mistaken for someone else, but whatever… you’ve mistaken me for Claus before and have convinced yourself that we’re the same person. I believe doctor’s have medications for that type of ailment now.

                  ” I think most of us would be more likely to say “LexCo” is more likely where you will find such groups. ”

                  Where would you tend to find more street gangs, LexCo or RichCo? Are they any better than the people you’re talking about? Would you welcome either into your home? Why aren’t you condemning them?

                  As far as what happened, there were those there that came for one reason… looking for a fight. I realize you don’t want to believe the Alt-Left would stoop to this level, but the video is there for all to see. Were the people there who pulled down the monument in Durham there peacefully? Did someone just happen to have a 50 foot length of rope on them at the time… coincidence?

                8. Mark Stewart

                  Thank you for officially outing yourself Claus/Richard.

                  Oops. But whatever. I do not disagree that people not fascist / racist were there in Charlotte to stand up to the fascist/racist/anti-semits exposing their nasty ignorance. That doesn’t excuse the scum who marched with their colors exposed. No gang has ever, ever, flown the nazi flag with the American flag.

                  Wake up. I know you will be among the last to abandon your screeding complaints. But maybe one day, right? We can all hope.

                9. Claus2

                  “No gang has ever, ever, flown the nazi flag with the American flag. ”

                  What street gang uses the Nazi flag? Minority led hate groups have used renditions of their gang symbol/colors combined with the American flag.

                10. Claus2

                  I’m curious, do those who get all bent out of shape over a Nazi flag also feel the same way over the Japanese Rising Sun flag?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Probably not, and for a simple reason: Most Westerners know more about the Nazis and their ideology than they do about the Japanese militarists. Frankly, although I’ve read a lot about the war in my lifetime, my own understanding is fairly dim. It’s one of those “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” things. I lack the cultural and historical knowledge to feel confident that I truly understand what they were about, although I think their warped version of the Bushido code has some things in common with Nazism.

                    For Westerners, I think it’s easier to understand the Nazis and see clearly why they were evil…

                11. Mark Stewart

                  And then there was the whole Holocaust thing that we should remember the Nazis for…

                  Japan was atrocious to the Koreans and Chinese (and really everyone the Empire steam-rolled over); but they weren’t genocidal. They felt superior to the vanquished, but did not feel victimized by the weak as did the Nazis.

                  I think Trump responds to the Nazi overtones because it aligns well with his own sense of self-loathing and psychic inferiority. That’s just my surmise…

        2. bud

          Doug I’m not sure whether you’re being sarcastic or not but reports suggest over 2000 in the Charlottesville rally alone. They’re growing rapidly in number and more brazen in their approach. And Trump is the catylist.

          1. Doug Ross

            How many of the 2000 were from Charlottesville (population 46,000)? The guy who drove the car into the crowd was from Ohio.

            Growing rapidly is pure hyperbole. How many new members do you think signed up for the cause after Sunday? It’s a splinter group off a splinter group. They have no power.

          2. Bryan Caskey

            You say “over 2000”. Cite your source.

            The NY Daily News has a report that says “Dozens of white nationalists…”

            Another piece says: “On Friday night, a group of about 100 white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis marched on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying tiki torches, giving the Nazi salute, and chanting slogans including “you will not replace us” and “white lives matter.”

            So like I said, the largest gathering of Nazis and assorted dum-dums from all over the country is such a small number, they couldn’t even fill the Gamecocks women’s softball stadium.

            I’m pretty sure the folks in Poland can sleep safely tonight without fear of the Nazi menace.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Who cares, guys? This is like the silly arguments over how many people were at Trump’s inaugural. It’s like arguing over how many angels — or in this case, devils — can dance on the head of a pin…

                2. Claus2

                  So it doesn’t matter to you because you’re a “word guy” and not a “numbers guy”. Yet you decided to comment defending bud’s comments.

          3. Bart Rogers

            Nothing personal bud but this is what drives the narrative to new heights and spreads false information to the waiting and willing minds of both sides. By attributing a much greater number of attendees to the rally, all it does is give an impression they are much larger than what is actually known. Then for the other side, it gives them a larger target and a broader definition of who is an alt-right adherent.

            Wherever the number come from should be checked and verified to be sure it is not something someone dreamed up for their cause. Remember the claims Trump made about the size of the crowd at his inauguration? Easily debunked but yet his supporters still believe the crowd was much larger.

            When reports “suggest” that means to me someone is writing or publishing misinformation on purpose and all it does is add more fuel to the fire that in time if this type of hyperbole continues will turn into a bonfire or raging forest fire instead of the insignificant campfire it actually was. The media played this up well ahead of time and if the media wanted to act responsibly, all they had to do was report there was going to be a rally, advise everyone to stay home and let the jerks show their behinds and demonstrate their ignorance and intolerance without the press coverage they were seeking. The anti-protest crowd played into their hands willingly and in turn, I can almost guarantee the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists will gain more and more members as a result of the confrontations.

            I grew up during the heyday of the KKK and witnessed first hand the hatred and racism of the organization. I watched as the idiots dressed in white robes with pointed hoods proudly paraded down our streets as a demonstration of their power and for a long time, they did hold power through intimidation and instilling fear in the population, black and white.

            Just as a brief history lesson, the KKK did not restrict their behavior to blacks, Jews, and people with dark skin, they took on the role of being the morality secret police and if anyone they thought was doing something that went against their “code of conduct”, their skin color didn’t matter. Many were taken from their homes, dragged to a field with a burning cross and whipped for their actions. People lived in fear of what could be done to them if they crossed the KKK until the organization lost active membership but the original sentiment still lurked in the hearts of many who no longer had their names on the official roles of the KKK.

            When ignored and they cannot be afforded the publicity they desire, they lose their voice and ability to affect us. But when they are given media coverage 24/7 and misinformation published, it only serves their purpose. The events in Charlottesville and Seattle will help their cause, count on it.

            1. bud

              Bart I wasn’t intentionally exaggerating the size of the rally, I did see the 2,000 figure somewhere. However, I was sloppy not being able to recall the source. So for now I’ll withdraw the 2,000 claim. However I stand by the point that this rally was much bigger than what we’ve seen in the past. The “100” estimate is way too low.

  11. Karen Pearson,

    Right now, I’m kind of disgusted with “the media.” They seemed determined to play, replay, and play again the worst incidents, like the car hitting the pedestrians. Which way the talk and comments lean varies from station to station, but it’s not straight reporting, darn it! It’s design to appeal to peoples’ worst tendencies, and to arouse violent emotion rather than reason, or calm concern.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, I wouldn’t know about that, since I READ my news. But I can imagine that it’s not helping. The great thing about reading is that you can move from topic to topic; you’re not held hostage. TV, by the nature of the medium, only shows you one thing at a time, and if you don’t change the station — or even if you do (perhaps even more so if you do, since the station you’re watching might be done with the topic while the next station is just getting to it), you’re going to see it over and over. You’re going to see just what they’re showing you at a given second. And if you’re a news director, dramatic footage, even used repetitively, beats the heck out of 99 percent of the boring B-roll they show.

      That video you’ve seen over and over? I don’t think I’ve seen it at all. I’ve seen some still photos, and beyond that I’ve READ about the incident. And I think that helps me focus on ideas rather than visceral emotion. Which all good Mentats should do… 🙂

      1. Doug Ross

        Can anyone clarify something with factual evidence for me? I keep seeing references to the car “plowing into pedestrians”. But what I initially read and what I saw on a drone video posted on the NY Post website shows what appears to be the car hitting another car that then hits a van that hits many people standing in the street. If that is the case, do we know for sure that the driver’s intent was to do that? If he wanted to mow people down, why wouldn’t he have just hit the ones on the street that were beside his car?

        1. Harry Harris

          New York Post. That may explain the confusion. Other videos and eyewitnesses show and tell of the car hitting a number of people prior to hitting the car. The news aggregators such as news.google.com and news.yahoo,com show other video.

          1. Doug Ross

            This was a drone video. It didn’t offer any commentary on what happened. Sorry it wasn’t posted in the NY Times or Daily KOS.

            I have seen video of him hitting people while backing up. I have yet to see any video of him hitting people BEFORE he hit the car that hit the van. Can you provide a link to an actual witness/victim who was hit before that?

        2. Scout

          I have seen two videos from slightly different perspectives both apparently taken by bystanders at street level. From one video you see the car advance up the street at great speed, past the perspective of whoever is recording it, and continue up the street towards what looked like a bunch of people standing in the street. This video is not close enough to tell what actually happens further down the street where the impact takes place, you just see people scattering in the distance, then after a few moments, you see the car coming back down the street going backward, still going very fast, and lots of screaming and confusion.

          The perspective of the second video is much closer to the impact. You see the car going very fast hit the back of a sedan which then hits an SUV and bodies come flying over the sedan. Then you see the car back away again going very fast and lots of confusion as people realize people are hurt.

          My guess is based on the first video it looks like the driver accelerated up the street into what from that perspective looked like a crowd of people in the street. People scattered and tried to get out of the way revealing that there were actually cars in the street ahead as well, which he rammed, but apparently not everybody could get out of the way and people were caught between cars and thrown over cars by the impact and also hit by the suv that was pushed into the crowd at the other end by the chain reaction started by this guy accelerating up the street into what from that perspective was clearly people, if not, people and cars.

          That’s what it looks like to me.

          Of course, I have no idea what the driver himself perceived or intended, but here is the raw footage I could find, so draw your own conclusions.

          perspective 1

          perspective 2


          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “I have seen two videos from slightly different perspectives both apparently taken by bystanders at street level.” Did they turn their phones sideways? Please tell me they did. Please tell me that, given an opportunity to document an important news event, they didn’t throw away most of the scene by holding their phones vertically…

  12. David Carlton

    Just to point out that this statue is *not* on the UVA campus; it’s in a public park, and as such is under the control of the City of Charlottesville, which wants it down. The alt-righters have every right to stage their protest, but they need to show respect for orderliness and the security needs of the place they’re visiting. Apparently they caught the local police flat-footed, not least with their heavy armament, which contributed heavily to the downward spiral.

    As to the statue itself–public monuments have traditionally been erected as statements of power, and Confederate memorials are no different. Revolutions commonly topple statues, whether of King George III in our own revolution (ironically, statues erected by proudly British colonists not many years before) or of Lenin and Stalin in former communist countries. Such moves don’t “erase history”; they declare that the people who used to wield power have lost their right to impose their own version of history on others.

    1. Claus2

      So you’re okay with some fat land manatee climbing on a Confederate statue and attaching a rope to it? Meanwhile while the local police just sit back and watch this happen. I have seen the video and wish someone would have walked up and kicked the ladder out from under her or pulled it down while she was on the statue… can you imagine the reaction? One couldn’t do anything but laugh. Look closely at the people who pulled down, kicked and spit on the statue as it was on the ground… what a bunch of losers… looks like what you’d see at ComicCon.

  13. Harry Harris

    Polarization used to seem like a shouting match between extremists. Now it’s a threat to all of us. A huge portion of us divide into camps on almost all issues even when we have problems with our camp’s position or behavior in the matter at hand. We’ve become so addicted to “winning” and so propagandized against compromise that we’re easily manipulated by those who would rather destroy than adapt. Large numbers of us are too intellectually lazy to try to understand nuance and too selfish to attempt to develop an empathetic nature. It makes us highly vulnerable to labeling and to manipulation by people whose interests don’t match ours at all.
    I’ve spent 45+ years working for some economic and social justice for black people in our communities and nation. I now don’t have the freedom to say the “n word” (which would keep this comment off the blog), even as a quotation of the stupid stuff I often said as a youth without being labeled by some as overtly racist. I’m such a women’s libber I make my wife and daughters sick. Does that keep me from being attacked for criticizing what I consider immodest and inappropriate dress among women or urging consideration of alternatives to abortion? Nope. I’ve been an active Christian and church member for almost 60 years. Been to seminary. Try to follow Jesus daily. Does that shelter me from disdain when I call out a local church or pastor that I like for being sexist and overly patriarchal in my view. Depends on the group-think of the audience.
    Equally as devastating is the tendency to use false equivalencies in arguing and advocating for one’s side or position and the laziness that often keeps us from debunking those fallacies. Tossing blame, too often exaggerated blame, back and forth is a common modus operandi infesting both sides in most arguments today. It doesn’t help understanding the problem. In fact, it usually confuses the issue – all in an attempt to win the day. I think there is a boatload of this alarming tactic in play with this Charlottesville scenario today. While I am put off (but not surprised) by Trump’s politically shaped initial statement on the matter, I see fault by some on both sides in the fighting preceding the vehicular murder, I hate to see disrespectful words or violent actions incorporated by some of the counter protesters (my camp), and I realize some of my brothers and allies are misguided or hostile. Pulling down a statue in another square is a violation of law and is wrong. It should be stopped and participants prosecuted. Hateful acts are hateful acts.
    Do these ideas of mine disqualify me from contributing to the legitimate work of any group? I hope not. But I will not easily be forced into or out of any tent. I will, however, resist respectfully and non-violently.

    P.S. I would likely have joined Bonhoeffer in the attempt to assassinate Hitler – even would have lit the fuse.

    1. Bob Amundson

      A rational, thoughtful post. However, humans tend to be irrational, unaware of how their emotions and biases affect them.

      1. Harry Harris

        And I have to struggle daily with my own tendencies to be directed by the wrong thoughts, urges, and emotions. Admitting my own biases and prejudices is a step towards resisting them. Like the apostle Paul, I often neglect to do what I know is right while regretting it almost in the process. Many of us find self-correction hard, and need a nudge form others (or sometimes a jolt) to help us to see the folly of our thought and deeds. There’s where a sense of community can combine with a humbled spirit to go us so much good.

  14. Scout

    This segment produced by HBO Vice news documents the events of the weekend and showcases the points of view of these people. It’s well done and disturbing.

    1. Claus2

      My solution is to not allow the police to interfere with these fights, they should only there to protect the property. If you show up looking to create a disturbance, then let it be a free-for-all bloodbath.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      None of my business. That’s in Georgia. If a candidate can get elected on that platform, then I guess he should see if he can get it through the legislature.

      But as I say,none of my business…

      1. Doug Ross

        “But as I say,none of my business…”

        That’s a cop out. Destroying Stone Mountain isn’t just about Georgia. It’s about a national trend that will eventually, certainly impact South Carolina.

        How about a hypothetical? Should the Hunley be taken back out of the state funded museum and sunk at the bottom of the Atlantic? Should any former plantations in the state be closed?

        The fact that we’ve reached the point where someone can look at Stone Mountain and feel triggered about historical events that happened 150 years ago is pretty scary. When does it stop?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Nope. Not a cop out. It’s my standard answer when people ask me to care about other states’ issues. Our flag was nobody’s business but ours — and we dealt with it. Stone Mountain is Georgia’s business.

          I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other about the Hunley. But Burl would probably mind. He’s a leading expert in Japanese mini-subs, and he fully appreciates the Hunley’s historical significance.

          And there you have the big difference, of course, and the problem with your analogy. Stone Mountain is a monument, a testament to what Georgia values and chooses to honor. The Hunley is a unique artifact of naval history….

          1. Doug Ross

            Of what history? A history of mini sub racing?

            How about paintings of any member of the Confederacy? Destroy them? The stars on the state house? Melt them? Books written by or about members of the Confederacy? Burn them? Where does it stop?

            Misguided fools are focusing on easy targets instead of on moving forward.

            1. Claus2

              What we’re seeing is sensational hysteria from the media and left. Idiots break out in a fistfight in a racist themed rally, some individual decides to take a car and ram it into the crowd and now the solution is to tear down every Confederate monument in the country.

              As far as everyone going off the deep end over this tragic stupidity, the last I heard was it took two to fight. I don’t think the neo-Nazi’s were fighting among themselves. I don’t think it was the neo-Nazi’s who pulled down the monument in Durham… someone refresh my memory on what the neo-Nazi’s destroyed. The mental-midget, neo-Nazi’s came looking for a fight, the D&D playing, left-wing freaks came looking for one as well… and both sides got what they wanted.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              You’re kidding, right?

              “How about paintings of any member of the Confederacy? Destroy them? The stars on the state house? Melt them? Books written by or about members of the Confederacy? Burn them? Where does it stop?”

              Where does it stop? Well, a long time before you get to the point of doing any of those things.

              This “where does it stop?” stuff is pure nonsense, and one used by neoConfederates to resist ANY move away from celebrating the Confederacy. I certainly wouldn’t expect you to be taken in by that, Doug.

              One of the laziest arguments in the world, one of the most bogus excuses for doing nothing, is the “slippery slope” argument, whatever the subject.

              And the answer is always the same, in this country. Where does it stop? Where reasonable people, acting through their elected representatives, choose for it to stop.

              1. Doug Ross

                Ok, so you believe that taking down the statues is the end? Once they’re all down, we’ll be all set. Did you think taking down the Confederate Flag was also going to be the end?

                If you can justify removing a statue of a historical figure, how do you stop it from moving on to whatever else “offends” a group of people?

                It’s not a slippery slope. It’s a straight line path.

                1. Doug Ross

                  I realize you live in the ethereal world of Kumbaya representative democracy — but everything that is happening now and has happened in the past occurred under those same conditions. What’s different today that makes you think we won’t see more of the same?

                2. Claus2

                  It’s like Trump said, where is “the end”. Do they go after slave owners next? The majority of our founding fathers were slave owners. Are they any better or worse than the slave owners of the 1860’s? If not, then why do we honor them with monuments?

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Yeah, and it sounds ridiculous when Trump says it, too.

                    I look around, and pretty much everybody understands the difference between Washington and Jefferson Davis — between a Founder of the country, and someone who tried to tear it apart. Except Trump. I can’t quite decide whether he’s playing obtuse or really IS that obtuse…

                3. Mark Stewart

                  The simple reality that seems to be being ignored is that these monuments were placed long after the civil war specifically to assert the subversive proposition that the “lost cause” was noble and that white supremacy would continue to reign, no matter what the “law” said. Yes, these were monuments to a terrible tragedy that saw the loss of many, many lives. I get that pain and the desire to memorialize a society’s loss. But viewed another way, these symbolic, towering, lasting representations of the Confederacy were also placed as terror markers. They were meant to instill the subversive idea that while the South lost, the Confederacy would continue to fight to suppress black people – whether slaves anymore or not. They were meant as the proverbial thumb on one’s back; meant to be a clear broadcast that “others” were not wanted wherever the monument was placed – tribal warnings if you will.

                  This is why these Confederate memorials (just like the Confederate Battle Flag) have no business being anywhere near our civic structures and places of assembly. They are a corrosive stain on the ideas instilled in our Constitution – and our union, our America.

                  I have no objection to them existing as memorials to fallen soldiers and kin; but the placement of these monuments in public places (statehouse, courthouses, town halls, fire stations, police stations, hospitals, schools, public parks, squares, etc, etc) must be rethought.

                  The monuments to units and fallen generals at battlefields like Gettysburg and Antietam are heartbreaking memorials to fallen comrades. They are about respect for soldiers. The statues in and around the SC Statehouse, for example, were not placed there in that purity of remembrance. No, they were meant as symbols of the return to white supremacy in civic, cultural and economic life.

                  Their symbolism at installation was meant to be crystal clear; so all this hand-wring now about their “meaning” is nothing but denial and obtuseness.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Mark, about monuments…

                    I think Ross Douthat, in a series of a dozen tweets today, laid out a decent argument for regarding anonymous memorials to soldiers in general and those to SPECIFIC soldiers differently. The salient Tweets:

                4. Doug Ross

                  Mark – do you support renaming streets, buildings, schools, etc. named for members of the Confederacy?

                  Should funding be cut to Clemson until they change the name? Thomas Clemson served in the Confederacy and owned 20 slaves. Sending public funds to Clemson sends the wrong message, right?

                5. Mark Stewart

                  No one ever had cast a statue of Robert E. Lee at home in his rocking chair after Appomattox, in civilian clothes. That would have been an affectionate memorial to the man and also a recognition that the fight was over and it was time for all to return home. To be at peace.

                  No, every single statue is a martial representation of unyielding might – ever ready for battle; from the lowliest enlisted man alert with his rifle to the generals astride their war mounts.

                  This is worth some consideration. It’s worth the legislature’s reflection when they reconsider their too-hasty monument and flag “hold” across the state. If they do not, then they are demonstrating their continued allegiance to the Confederacy and what it stands for. South Carolina has a prouder, more noble history than that. South Carolinians’ have the moral strength and grace to recognize the benefit of casing the colors, of stepping with a clear conscience into the future.

                6. Mark Stewart

                  No, Doug, streets and institution names are not the same as martial statues lording over the public domain.

                  Naming something in SC for Robert E Lee or Jefferson Davis, etc. would cross my line. As would calling a street Redshirt Blvd. or Klan Ave. or naming an assembly hall Secessionist Auditorium. But naming things for significant local figures doesn’t fit that mold, right?

                  That’s what Trump’s idiotic news conference missed yesterday. Confederate statues are not just memorials to a person, they are imbued with social meaning. So are Washington and Jefferson (as Trump mentioned), but in a totally different sense that ought to be clear to all.

                  It’s like what makes this President different than all the others before him. They spoke to unite the country and propel her future upward; Trump just wants self-congratulatory adoration – and division he can capitalize on.

                7. Mark Stewart

                  There is a story much like the South’s that occurred in Oregon in 1877. The Nez Perce indians were unlawfully shoved off their treaty lands (not similar to the South’s story) and fought a thousand mile retreat trying to flee to Canada. Stopped by soldiers under Sherman’s command (same guy) just miles short of the border, Chief Joseph gave one of the most eloquent speeches I have ever read: it ended with “Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”

                  There is a bronze statue of Chief Joseph that may go to the US Capitol – it is of him post-defeat, standing tiredly but heroically wrapped in a worn blanket, and holding a peace pipe. No bold horse mount, no heraldry or weapons. Just a great man, beaten, but not deterred. Looking to the future – though his place in the world has been lost.

                  Yes, there should be a statue of Robert E. Lee in his rocking chair. Just the way he would have received his comrades who came to visit him after the surrender. There might even be more pure nobility in that, and with less political and subliminal freight attached.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I’ll always think of him this way, from the cover of Guns of the South:


                    Yeah. He’s holding an AK-47.

                    Sorry. I just felt like we needed a brief break from reality. (But not the Trump kind of break, which denies that reality IS reality.)

                    But seriously, if you haven’t read Guns of the South, you should. I’m sort of torn between that and Len Deighton’s SS-GB for best alternative-history novel ever…

                8. Claus2

                  “Naming something in SC for Robert E Lee or Jefferson Davis, etc. would cross my line.”

                  Then I suggest you don’t look at that stone marker in front of the Statehouse to the left of the intersection of Main and Gervais.

                9. Doug Ross

                  Would Strom Thurmond have been considered a racist at any point in his tenure as a Governor or Senator if you asked the black people in the state at the time? Does he warrant a building with his name on it in Columbia?

                  I really am interested to know how many people have actually been offended/triggered/angered over the years that these Confederate statues have been in place…

                  FDR put Japanese Americans into internment camps. I don’t hear any outcry from the Japanese American community over any tribute , statue, monument, etc. to him. Why is that? Perhaps they have a different perspective on life and history.

                10. Mark Stewart

                  Yeah, Doug, when I moved to Cola I found the flag and the statue right at the foot of Main Street in front of the State house to be deeply offensive in their clear bile and bigotry – and warning.

                  There’s another one that also didn’t sit well with me in Lexington County. I think it is in either the new Town Hall or Police station (or maybe it’s in the County Bldg.), anyway there is a seal cut into the entryway floor that has the confederate flag in it. Like step over this threshold into OUR world…

                  I’m not interested in fighting them all; but there are ones that do not reflect positively on South Carolina’s sense of itself – today; or at least should not be seen that way anymore. Those should be relocated.

          2. Claus2

            Exactly how many experts are there on Japanese mini-subs?

            Nice twisting of words in that last paragraph. Now the Hunley is an “artifact of naval history”. I’m sure before this comment it was likely viewed by you as a “vehicle of national terrorism”.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              “Exactly how many experts are there on Japanese mini-subs?”

              Not many. Which is why I probably did Burl a disservice there. I hedged it when I said, “a leading expert.” Maybe I should have said he’s THE leading expert. In any case, when NOVA or some other outfit wants to do a credible documentary on those subs and their role in the Pearl Harbor attack, they interview Burl.

              Because of his study in that field, when Burl was here last year for the modeler’s convention, he and his wife and I ran down to Charleston to see the Hunley museum. Since Burl is the historian at a military museum in the middle of Pearl Harbor, it was a sort of busman’s holiday. (Burl’s one of those lucky people who still gets to do for a living what he would probably do anyway for free.)

              I enjoyed it, and I learned a few things. I love history.

              What do I think, personally, of the Hunley? I think its greatest achievement was to sink a United States Navy vessel, and that makes the Hunley and the men in it the enemy. I’m the son of a career surface warfare officer; I’m cheering for the guys aboard USS Housatonic.

              My Southern chest doesn’t swell with pride that Hunley is “The World’s First Successful Combat Submarine.” I think that’s a fact to mourn, rather than celebrate.

              But if all the U-boats the Germans used in WWI were gone, no historian had ever seen one, and one was found and salvaged, I’d certainly want to make it available for scholars to study and the public to view.

              Because it’s history. And again, I love history. But you know what? It’s not about doing it because I love history. People need to know history whether they love it or not. Otherwise, they become Donald Trump.

              1. Claus2

                What about those who try to rewrite history? Which is what we’re witnessing with the removal of any historical monument that has been up for decades. Just because it’s now no longer popular doesn’t mean it needs to go away.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “What about those who try to rewrite history? Which is what we’re witnessing with the removal of any historical monument that has been up for decades.”

                  No, it isn’t. Not even close. We have museums for history, and they are chock full of good, instructive stuff. Public monuments are for celebrating and honoring in the here and now.

                  I’ve been hearing your “rewriting history” argument for decades, and it doesn’t make a bit more sense today than it did the first time I heard it. It’s as bogus as bogus gets.

                2. Richard

                  So where do you draw the line? Take Trumps question… do you think slave owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson monuments should be removed?

                  Here’s some light reading for you and these honorable men who deserve monuments.

                  KING: Thomas Jefferson was a horrible man who owned 600 human beings, raped them, and literally worked them to death


                  Top 10 Lists:
                  On Thomas Jefferson

                  On George Washington

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    “Do you think slave owners George Washington and Thomas Jefferson monuments should be removed?”

                    No. It’s not a tough call, and it’s not even close to being the same.

                    To be clear: Have you ever known me to advocate taking down statues of Robert E. Lee? No, you have not, because I’ve never done that.

                    But if people want to talk about that, OK, let’s talk. But I have ZERO difficulty separating that from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (even though personally, Jefferson’s not one of my fave Founders — I’m a John Adams man). I understand history. I see things in perspective. It’s not difficult….

      2. Richard

        I wonder if anyone would care if I pulled down the statue of that slave owning George Washington that stands on the steps of the Statehouse? I could probably make a small fortune selling it for scrap.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          As I’ve explained to you several times today, I would have a problem with it because you have no right to do that, just as that woman had no right to take down the flag at the State House a couple of years back.

          It’s not your prerogative; you don’t get to do that. If you do, you’re a vandal. Only our elected representative, acting through the proper processes, can make such a call.

          Why is that hard to understand?

  15. Harry Harris

    My position is this. Nobody, past or present is without flaws or misjudgments, often serious. A few are so repugnant as to warrant serious reconsideration of the public honors they were given. I much favor changing the signage with addenda that reflect later consideration of their merit. Change the signage, change the public discourse, and correct the hype. Take down only the most egregious if overwhelming support is ascertained. Remove naming of buildings or streets and parks in a few cases, but change the signage in most. Erasing evidence of our past reverence for scoundrels, racists, and genocidal leaders doesn’t undo any wrongs, it just might make us less aware of the sins of the past and less aware of the hurt their actions and our lack of judgement in honoring them has brought about. None were perfect, and none seem even righteous to everyone. Ben Tillman’s very character and actions are offensive to my sensibilities (and remind me of Trump), but I want to have his stature right there to remind me how misguided and unfair we can be to our fellow countrymen and how easily we can be led astray. Keep the statue; change the sign.

    1. Claus2

      The Egyptian pyramids were built by slave labor. I’m sure one of Brad’s many ancestors is linked to this somehow. There are probably trillions of people out there who are descendants of these slaves. Tear down these objects of oppression now!!! My feelings are hurt every time I see images of these horrific monuments.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Claus, you know how I keep explaining that Georgia’s monuments are none of my business? Ditto with Egypt’s. Even if your analogy had validity, which it doesn’t, I’m not responsible for the pyramids.

        Oh, and I’m not descended from any of those slaves, or from any brought over here from Africa, according to Ancestry DNA. Best I can offer is that at least one came over here as an indentured servant. But he was compensated for his labor, so I’ve got no beef on his behalf…

        1. Claus2

          So since you’re ancestors didn’t come from this region it’s okay with you. Out of sight, out of mind.

          How many of those protesting and destroying monuments were descendants of slaves or slave owners? Probably very few so using your logic, why should they care? They’re likely not responsible for slavery.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, you’re not following my logic at all. It’s a federalist argument. Georgia is Georgia’s business, it’s not mine. And I am definitely not a citizen of Egypt.

            It’s a running theme on this blog: I don’t concern myself with purely local issues in localities where I do not live. Usually it comes up when people start talking about congressional races in other states. That’s the business of people who live in those states. They should elect the candidates they want, and we should elect the ones we want.

            People tend to care about things like that because they care which party has a majority in Congress. I don’t.

            Anyway, I’m uninterested in Stone Mountain for a similar reason. That’s Georgia’s business.

            I hope that suffices, because I’m not going to explain it again today…

            1. Claus2

              If you moved to Georgia, would you then take on this monument and forget about the flag in South Carolina? “That’s their problem now”.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                If I cared I would.

                I cared about the flag. It was an outrage to have that flying at our seat of government, as though it represented something present and living rather than a lamented past.

                It had to be dealt with, and now it has been — in the best possible way. We South Carolinians, acting through our elected representatives, reached a consensus and took it down.

                If I had a position on Stone Mountain, it would probably be something like, the state doesn’t need to be running and caring for it. If some private group wants to take it over, let them… Or something like that. I’m not going to rack my brain trying to think of a solution…

  16. Bart Rogers

    Once a movement starts that is emotionally charged, it is difficult to stop it. Removal of Confederate statues is highly charged emotionally by both sides but one side has the greater advantage, the side wanting the statues to come down by any means necessary. It will happen, eventually all statues of anyone associated with the Confederacy, anyone who ever owned slaves, or was not politically correct by our current societal rules will be removed from public view and relegated to museums or the back rooms of history. Names of institutions, streets, dorms, and all other references to anyone considered to be offensive will be purged from public view. In other words, an SJW pogrom of sorts but the target will be symbols, statues, and other public displays of what they consider offensive honoring of undeserving individuals.

    Eventually, Washington & Lee University will have a name change and Lee’s name will be dropped because of his allegiance to the Confederate States. The irony is that Lee himself more or less predicted there would be problems associated with statues honoring Confederates due to the nature of the Civil War and how it divided the country. He didn’t believe it was a good idea and his prediction is playing out before us.

    I agree with Claus to a point but only as far as it concerns this country. Even though Brad is only concerned with what happens in South Carolina, South Carolina is involved as part of the process and cannot be separated from the eventuality of erasing all public mentions or memories of the Civil War and slavery from all public displays unless they are on private property.

    One anecdote you all might like. My nephew lives in Charlotte and two of his very close friends are black. One was invited to a wedding in Charleston on one of the plantations that specializes in hosting events. It is historical and has been restored to its original state with a few necessary upgrades. The friend accompanying his other friend was very upset when he found out they were going to the plantation for the event because of its past but he relented and agreed to attend. When he was about to enter through the gate, there was a sign that pointed to the “Slave Quarters”. He was so upset over the sign, he refused to go any further and remained outside the grounds until the event was over. The other friend went in and enjoyed the event and he was not upset because he understood the days of slavery are long gone but the other friend is still carrying the anger over slavery with him. I won’t judge either one but IMHO, the one who went in is the one who will go farther in life because he won’t let the past hold him back nor allow it to define who he is.

    Seldom do I agree with Trump but his comment that both sides were equally guilty of the violence in Charlottesville is accurate. The alt-right had every right to have their rally and it was approved by the city. The antifa had every right to counter-protest but if they were going to do it as a counter-rally, they should have obtained a permit like the alt-right did. The violence was present on both sides and once it started, anyone engaging in it is no less guilty than the ones who started it. I don’t agree with the alt-right’s cause but they have the Constitutional right to freedom of speech and assembly just as the antifa contingent have.

    We seem to have forgotten the words attributed to Voltaire that were actually by Evelyn Beatrice Hall: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall. I don’t agree with a lot of what bud or claus has to say but I will stand and defend their right to say or speak their mind. When we forget that simple principle of freedom, then we become something other than the United States of America, founded on the principles of the Constitution. Unfortunately, we have one side doing everything they can to suppress the freedom of speech and assembly. And they are winning whether anyone else agrees with me or not, that is my conviction based on the events of the past several years.

  17. Bryan Caskey

    I’m trying to remember, but at Washington & Lee University, (my alma mater) I think there is only one statue of Robert E. Lee anywhere on campus. We have Lee Chapel, which was built during his administration at his direction. At his death in 1870, Lee was buried underneath the chapel in a crypt with his family.

    There’s a statue of Lee in the back of the chapel, showing him asleep in a recumbent position.

    There’s the Lee House, which is the house for the President of the University. It’s still in very much the same condition it was in the 1860s when it was built. The house still has a wrap-around porch that Lee had built for his wife, who was confined to a wheelchair, so she could be outside more.

    The now garage for the Lee House is what used to be Traveler’s stable, and it’s just behind the house. I walked past it every day for four years. It still looks like a stable, because rather than having a modern looking overhead garage door, it has the double swinging gates. The gates are always left open for the ghost of Lee’s famous horse to return to his stable whenever he chooses.

    There’s actually a statue next to the Lee house of a man that everyone thinks is Lee. However, it’s actually a statue of Cyrus McCormick, who donated a bunch of money to the college.

    There’s also a statute on the very top of Washington Hall, which is naturally, George Washington. There’s an old story that when Lexington was occupied by Union Soldiers during the war, some troops were taking potshots and throwing rocks at the statue on top of Washington Hall, thinking it was Jefferson Davis. (Remember, at the time, it was just Washington College, with no affiliation with Lee.) One of their officers came over to see what all the racket was about and the told them to stop shooting at George Washington.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I think the chapel is a fitting tribute to the man; and the doors left open for Traveler’s spirit a nice Southern touch of history and welcoming.

      I’m probably a little more ambivalent about the name Robert E. Lee on a college; but then I went to Hamilton College, so might be a bit more biased toward Federalism.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Of course not. Come to think of it, though, I don’t know whether we’re “friends” on Facebook. It’s not important, because we’re REAL friends, the old-fashioned kind, the kind that matters.

      1. Richard

        Even now that he’s compared those liberals you’re siding with who pulled down a historical monument to ISIS?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Richard — can you read? This has been brought up more than once already this week, and each time I’ve explained in no uncertain terms that I am COMPLETELY opposed to idiots who take the law into their own hands. I’ve said to you over and over that keeping or doing away with public monuments is something to be decided by elected representatives acting in accordance with the rule of law.

          I have ALWAYS said this. I said it when that silly woman from out of state came down here and climbed the pole and took down the flag at the State House in 2015. She had ZERO right to do that.

          I have been nothing if not completely clear on this point at any time.

          So why do you keep repeating such lies as “those liberals you’re siding with who pulled down a historical monument?”

          Why do you have so much trouble following what I have said?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            As you can probably tell, I really get tired of typing the same thing over and over, and then having people say things that shows they paid NO attention to what I keep saying.

            I’m glad to have people take me to task for my actual positions on issues. But I’m just not going to approve any comments going forward that accuse me of holding positions that are the opposite of what I have clearly stated, repeatedly…

            1. Richard

              “As you can probably tell, I really get tired of typing the same thing over and over, and then having people say things that shows they paid NO attention to what I keep saying.”

              Yet you defend news reporters who do exactly what irritates you.

  18. Mark Stewart

    “I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

    Charlottesville VA this evening.

    For Heather Heyer and for us all.

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