August 14, 2017

Progressive Responses to Charlottesville

make art, not war

A recent article by David Weigel in The Washington Post reported on the conclusion of the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta. As suggested by the title, Progressives quickly organize responses to Charlottesville, it mentioned how those at the conference were responding as they learned about the violence in Charlottesville. I realize they were dealing with rapidly unfolding events, but a couple of the responses struck me as...well...disappointing.
One of the first responses came from Mikey Franklin, a digital director of the labor-backed Good Jobs Nation campaign, who had found a print shop that could quickly make T-shirts. Franklin made a black-and-white shirt reading “Punch More Nazis,” then was dogged by questions about them, then printed 30 more.
Right on, progressives! Because the solution to violence is always more violence, right? I'm sure Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be thrilled to see how much you learned from him. Hopefully, someone will find a good photograph of him that can be digitally altered so that he's wearing one of these t-shirts. I'm sure progressive Twitter would eat that up.

Okay, so responding to far-right violence with calls for far-left violence was embarrassing, so much so that this is the sort of thing that sometimes makes me feel ashamed to have ever called myself a progressive. But at least they aren't resorting to something silly like prayer. That's what conservatives would be doing if the shoe was on the other foot, so at least these progressives aren't...wait...
After forming into a long, winding line, they marched to the state Capitol, where labor organizer Dolores Huerta led them in prayer.
“Let’s pray for the people who have been killed and injured,” she said. “Let’s pray for the haters, that the hate comes out of their hearts.”
What exactly are you praying to? Have you not read the various "holy" books? Did you manage to miss all the hate and violence contained in them? Is there any evidence that any of the various gods are going to do anything to stop hate and violence now? Of course not.

Not all the responses were so bad. Some of the others included vigils, protests, and chanting. It will be interesting to see what progressives come up with in the weeks ahead. There are unlikely to be any easy answers, but I do wonder if giving some thought to how best to respond to future far-right rallies and protests might be worthwhile.