Charlottesville, Virginia

I don’t know about any­one else, but the events in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia were a turn­ing point for me. And I just read that they were a turn­ing point for the ACLU as well. I’ve been a mem­ber of the ACLU for most of my adult life, and I have long been a sup­port­er of the ACLU’s posi­tion that free speech was free speech no mat­ter what. At times that was a hard posi­tion to hold, but I felt that we as Amer­i­cans need­ed to hon­or our first amend­ment rights no mat­ter what.

I don’t believe that any­more. Nei­ther does the ACLU, evi­dent­ly. But I have to say that my own per­son­al belief goes quite a bit fur­ther that the ACLU went….

The ACLU says it will no longer defend the rights of free speech for hate groups “that demon­strate with guns,” and that they will now review their defense of free speech by hate groups on an indi­vid­ual basis.

I just can­not do any of it any­more. I can no longer defend the rights of hate groups and hate speech at all, despite my desire to defend first amend­ment rights. I’ve seen too much, and it’s been build­ing for awhile. Char­lottesville was just the clinch­er.

I do not believe the founders of our coun­try, and the framers of our con­sti­tu­tion, ever intend­ed for us to defend peo­ple, or speech, that encour­aged vio­lence toward oth­er groups of Amer­i­cans, encour­aged killing or impris­on­ing oth­er Amer­i­cans or encour­aged deny­ing basic civ­il rights for oth­er Amer­i­cans. Not. At. All.

The pro­test­ers in Char­lottesville didn’t care about free speech. They did not care about defend­ing the rights of all Amer­i­cans. They didn’t care about you or me. In fact, I don’t real­ly think they par­tic­u­lar­ly cared about defend­ing that Con­fed­er­ate stat­ue. I think they were just using it as an excuse to pro­mote their extreme agen­da. And, in doing so, I think they were actu­al­ly tak­ing a posi­tion that dis­agrees with every sin­gle thing our coun­try stands for.

If you’re a doubter, or inclined to be swayed by cable news and radio hosts, just set aside all the news media and the pun­dits. Look at the pho­tos tak­en by peo­ple who were there. Look at the video footage from all the indi­vid­ual cell­phones and tablets that were being held by peo­ple stand­ing there watch­ing what was hap­pen­ing. They all tell the same sto­ry.

These peo­ple, large­ly white men, and most­ly self avowed neo-Nazis, white suprema­cists, white nation­al­ists and klans­men, were march­ing into Char­lottesville like a well equipped army. They came from all over the coun­try to con­verge on Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, and they were car­ry­ing semi-auto­mat­ic weapons, car­ry­ing torch­es, dis­play­ing swastikas, Nazi and Con­fed­er­ate flags, and chant­i­ng things like “unite the right,” “white lives mat­ter,” “blood and soil,” “Jews will not replace us,” and more.

Sor­ry. Not going to stand by and watch this. Not going to try to take the high road and defend their right to free speech. Not going to watch his­to­ry repeat­ed.