You know what I find terrifying? The notion that exterminating an entire group of people based on their race, creed or sexual orientation would somehow be good for America. When you think about it, the KKK and other radical “Christian” groups have a lot in common with ISIS in that regard. Extremists are really scary.
You know what I don’t find terrifying? People standing up to the crazy assholes that want to kill their neighbors just for being different (or even thinking differently!). I don’t think it’s scary when anti-fascists surround the fascists, and I don’t think it’s scary when they shout them down. I’m not even scared when anti-fascists punch members of actual, honest-to-god hate groups that have asked their members to literally murder gay people.
In fact, I find it comforting.
It’s way scarier to see fascists gathering numbers — unafraid of consequence — with nobody surrounding them, nobody shouting them down, and nobody punching back. I wasn’t alive during World War II, but during the worst of the violent, state sanctioned Nazi extremism, I bet at least a few Germans were looking around and thinking “damn, I wish we had gathered people up to fight this hateful rhetoric earlier.”
Luckily, we’re not in Germany and it’s not World War II — not yet, at least — and so we should count our lucky stars that there are people all across America brave enough to take to the streets when fascists come to town to spew vile hate and gather support.
Here are some things that the alt-right (neo-Nazis) have done or otherwise support:
- The total extermination or forcible removal of people of color from the United States.
- The total extermination or forcible removal of gay and trans people from the United States.
- The total extermination or forcible removal of Jewish, Muslim and other followers of non-Christian religions in the United States.
- Otherwise revoking the constitutional right to freedom of religion — one of the very tenets our country was founded on.
- Murdering anti-fascist protestors like Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA (if you don’t believe that the alt-right supports this, you should see the large number of horrible images people post to our inbox every. single. day.)
- A long, terrible history of lynching, hanging, arson, bombings, and mass shootings in the United States.
Here is what the anti-fascists (antifa) have done or otherwise support:
- Stopping fascists from exterminating or forcibly removing people of color from the United States.
- Stopping fascists from exterminating or forcibly removing gay and trans people from the United States.
- Stopping fascists from exterminating or forcibly removing Jewish, Muslim and other followers of non-Christian religions from the United States.
- Stopping fascists from otherwise revoking the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
- Stopping fascists from murdering innocent, peaceful protestors like Heather Heyer.
- Stopping fascists from lynching & hanging people, burning down buildings, bombing mosques or shooting up black churches in the United States.
Thank God for antifa.
I think we’re at a crucial point in our history as a nation where the fascists are closer than ever to actually building broad consensus and support for some really frightening, hateful ideas. These modern day racist nationalists don’t usually just come out and say “I’m a neo-Nazi” (although, disturbingly, more and more of them are feeling bold enough to stand out in the open and do exactly that). Instead they dress up their ideas in memes like Pepe the Frog, or organizations like “Unite The Right”. But a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.
I’m not going to just stand by and watch a wolf eat my neighbors. And I’m certainly not going to say that someone who vowed to protect the village is just as bad as the wolf is. So, the next time the Nazis come to town, you’ll know where to find me — out in the streets, fighting off the monster we’re just barely keeping at bay.
I hope you’ll join me.