We all know the internet is full of faulty information, but I hate being part of that. Having realized that some of my comments were based on incomplete knowledge, I want to set the record straight. So here I go, eating a couple of slices of humble pie.
Until this past week, I had never heard the term “antifa.” In fact, I had to look it up. Even then, I didn’t realize it was an actual movement, loosely organized, apparently without national structure or political connections, but still a movement. Members of Antifa don’t start the fight, but they believe violence must be met with violence, and when white supremacists are violent, Antifa is ready to fight back. Because they are so loosely organized and because communism has so many meanings (an actual party, a belief system of a group, a personal belief, an affiliation with a country, often a willingness to overthrow the current government), I think it is erroneous to call these people “Commies,” but they aren’t peace-loving followers of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. either. According to reports, statistically they represent much less of a threat than the Neo-Nazis who are better organized, often with ties to a major political party.
I don’t like their methods, and I still think it’s unfair to tar all counter-protestors when so many are passive, many of them with religious motivation, with the communist or anarchist label, but thanks to Steve Munday for educating me so I can be a bit more honest and on target.
If you read my blog, you know I have been opposed to the destruction of Confederate monuments. I have bemoaned the frenzy with which we are trying to destroy or rewrite history, and I have been harsh about the fact that these monuments offend some. That, to my mind, is the past. But friend and fellow author Cindy Bonner suggested that the monuments should be removed to battlefields and cemeteries, where they are more appropriate than in our city parks and streets. I would be all for that, if they are carefully dismantled and transported, under the supervision of some government authority. I believe that was done in New Orleans and perhaps elsewhere. The wanton destruction by a mob is still, to my mind, vandalism and against the law.
I am still opposed to the frenzy that saw Six Flags take down all its flags and replace them with one American flag. That, indeed, is to ignore history, and I hope that in this burst of political correctness we don’t start renaming parks and streets. I think we will regret that in a few years.
All this for some reason reminds me that we consistently choose the military over the intellectual, and maybe we are reaping the fruits of that now. I am reminded of Adlai Stevenson, Jr., once governor of Illinois, UN ambassador, and a failed presidential candidate, unfortunately best known for the hole in the sole of his shoe while he sat on a platform during a political rally. A man of rare intellect, he was soundly defeated by General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike holds a special place in the hearts of Americans who remember that far back, but I grew up in a Stevenson household, and I’ve always been aware of the tension between soldier and thinker.
We see that today—violence vs. peaceful protest. Which do you choose?