Charlottesville: Act 2 🎬

 Erin Schaff / The New York Times

Erin Schaff / The New York Times

Violence-free alt-right rally

The “Unite the Right II” rally was held near the White House yesterday and again organized by Jason Kessler. The goal of the rally was to unite “white civil rights activists.” Leading up to the event, there were concerns that counter-protests would lead to violent clashes, but as of this writing there were no reported injuries. Phew!

 

Refresher on last year's rally

Exactly one year earlier, the first “Unite the Right” rally was held in Charlottesville, VA. The rally included self-identified members of the alt-rightneo-Confederateswhite nationalistsKlansmenneo-Nazis, and various militias. The rally's goal was to unify white nationalist movements and oppose the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Tragedy struck when an activist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a young lady.



The right sticks to its tried and true approach when dealing with a clearly divisive issue: stick to the basic facts. Articles focused on the logistical details of this year's rally, how last year’s rally ended in violence, President Trump’s tweet denouncing racism, and the planned number of attendees (in the hundreds) as opposed to the actual number (estimated at far less).

The left focuses its narrative on the physical danger allegedly posed by the rally and the “dwarfing” of “a small group [of protesters]” by “throngs of counterprotesters.” By stoking fear that a repeat of last year may occur, the left plays a common and expected card: the right is a dangerous and violent group of racists. The left also points out that several sharing economy startups refused service to rally attendees, due to "safety concerns."

Good example of the First Amendment

Fortunately, no injuries were reported at this year’s rally. Instead, we had a safe and successful demonstration of the power of our First Amendment rights by both sides of the political aisle. Regardless of your political beliefs, most Americans strongly value First Amendment rights. Yesterday’s peaceful rally stands in stark contrast to last year’s in Charlottesville and Berkeley. While we all disagree on many things, having those disagreements in a civilized way can lead to dialogue that can hopefully unify us down the line.

Thinking before acting


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