I tend to think people in the online world are too simplistic in their ideals. And I see this now in the offline world as well. If x then y. All of the time. And purity tests. If you are x then you must believe y. All of the time.
I don't think that way. I never have. I make the joke that no straight lines were used when creating me. Not in my shape or in my thoughts. I curve. I think situations need to be evaluated separately. I think that good enough is often the best course of action and waiting for perfect is just lazy thinking. Why lazy? Because if you can discount things that aren't perfect you never have to reason out why something is good enough.
I think this lazy thinking is the root of a lot of problems in our society. Simplistic lines lead to tribalism. I believe this so I belong here. You believe that so you belong over there. And then we go from the we believe different things to people who believe different things than we do are wrong and stupid and must never be included.
On and on and on.
But there is pretty much always nuance to be had. There are differences in situations.
One of the bashing sticks on the Right right now is Antifa. If you mention the alt-right and the white supremacist movements they want to bring in Antifa and BLM usually as well. Now comparing BLM to white supremacists is beyond laughable. But I've talked about BLM before so I'm going to skip that repeat and just focus on Antifa.
Antifa is a pain in the ass. They make things difficult for the voices on the left to be heard. They are a great recruiting tool for the alt-right. They do more harm than they do good. I've posted about them before. I railed against what they were doing on election night and the four nights that followed here in Portland. I railed against them again on election day and May Day. I don't approve of them. I think they are generally anarchists who just want to break shit and have no real agenda other than that.
In Charlottesville they were on the right side. They weren't there to damage property or prevent "good people with different ideas" from speaking. They were there because heavily armed white supremacists were marching in the fucking street. That changes the context and context matters. When actual fascists are around it makes sense for anti-fascists to be there too. And let's keep in mind that a woman died and it wasn't Antifa that caused it. Another man was beaten in a parking garage. And it wasn't Antifa. Another man shot a gun in to the crowd. And it wasn't Antifa. The people with the swastikas were not the good guys. There were no good people in the crowd with the torches chanting Blood and Soil. There should be no shelter given to "just different ideas" when those ideas are racial cleansing. Get it? Context matters.
Which then brings us to Berkeley this past weekend. And the context changes again. You had the Patriot Prayer group show up to cause problems. He goes to areas where the majority of people are liberal to get a reaction. "I'm just all about free speech." Okay, but why do you need to travel to Berkeley to practice it? Or try in San Francisco? Or even downtown Portland? You live in Vancouver, why don't you speak there? Could it be because you won't get the opposing crowds there so it's not the photo op you are looking for? Probably. And I get it, you're sure you're not a racist and you don't understand why all these racists keep coming to your events...you're just an attention whore. Fine. But then we have Antifa show up again and it's the Black Bloc version. And they just want a fight. So they caused one. And they were wrong.
See how that works? It's all about the situation and the context.
I don't like Patriot Prayer. I think they are providing a front for some very bad actors and then when they get called out on it they clutch their pearls and declare they have never been so insulted. And they disavow people that are at their rallies and marching with them as soon as they, oh let's say, kill two people on a Max train. So be clear, they aren't good people, they don't attract only good people. But their rallies cloak themselves in Christianity and Patriotism so you do actually get some people there that are just conservatives thinking they've found a place to shout their messages. So now you get to shout them down when you don't agree with what they are saying. Use your own free speech to drown out theirs if you want. And honestly, he and his group should just be ignored. It's just not worth it. And if you cannot ignore them at least don't raise a hand to them.
Until they pick up the swastika. Then beat them back down.
Yeah, I know. Free speech is all about people saying things you don't agree with and we should all be tolerant of it...
There are things we should never ever ever tolerate. And Nazis are top of the list. And the fact that this seems to be hard for people to grasp is boggling to me. It has been since the video of Richard Spencer getting punched on inauguration day went around. I'm not talking about punching someone because you think they are a Nazi. I'm talking about people who self identify with that shit. Who proudly and loudly proclaim their white nationalism and desire for a cleansing. This to me is crazy that people are defending them.
We fought an actual literal war against them. We call that age group the Greatest Generation because they fought the fascists. What the hell happened to all of us that we now can't see out of our own bubbles and if x then y beliefs to understand that NOBODY of ANY political persuasion should be in favor of them marching through the streets. They are violent by nature and call. What they want to do is only achievable by violence so as soon as they pick up that banner it's violent. It's not just a "different idea."
I'd like Antifa to stop being a bunch of violent destructive assholes who are just giving the alt-right an out. But I'd like all of us to break out of our stupid little bubbles and be a lot more anti-fascist. No matter what the context. Simple right?