While routinely denounced as a bastion of liberalism, the ACLU has often drawn leftist fire for its defense of the free speech rights of the radical right – on the theory that vilified speech is what the First Amendment is designed to protect.
City officials in Charlottesville, Va., initially denied white supremacists a permit for their rally last weekend, but the ACLU filed a lawsuit defending their right to gather. However, in the aftermath of the Saturday violence, the ACLU has imposed a new limit on who it’s willing to defend. From the Los Angeles Times:
The national organization said Thursday that it would not represent white supremacist groups that want to demonstrate with guns. That stance is a new interpretation of the ACLU’s official position that reasonable gun regulation does not violate the 2nd Amendment.
With the recent unrest in Charlottesville, Va., spurring efforts to bring down Confederate monuments across the nation, a group of mostly Black Dallas locals have teamed up to ensure that the city’s Confederate statues remain standing.
For Former Dallas city council member Sandra Crenshaw, removing the controversial statues isn’t the solution to combating racism.
“I’m not intimidated by Robert E. Lee’s statue. I’m not intimidated by it,” Crenshaw told CBS Dallas. “It doesn’t scare me.”
“We don’t want America to think that all African-Americans are supportive of this,” she added.
Crenshaw, along with Buffalo Soldier historians and members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, have banded together to prevent the city’s Confederate markers from toppling over, CBS Dallas reported. The group believes that such monuments, like the Freedman’s cemetery, tell an important part of history and help heal racial wounds.
“Some people think that by taking a statue down, that’s going to erase racism,” Crenshaw said. “Misguided.”
One after another, the nation’s most powerful Republicans responded to President Donald Trump’s extraordinary remarks about white supremacists. Yet few mentioned the president.
The Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, condemned “hate and bigotry.” House Speaker Paul Ryan charged that, “White supremacy is repulsive.” Neither criticized the president’s insistence that there were “very fine people on both sides” of a violent weekend clash between white supremacists and counterdemonstrators.
The nuanced statements reflect the party establishment’s delicate dance. Few top Republican officeholders defended the president in the midst of an escalating political crisis. Yet they are unwilling to declare all-out war against Trump and risk alienating his loyalists. And as the 2018 elections begin to take shape, the debate over Trump’s words appears to be taking hold in GOP primaries.
Trump on Thursday attacked some of the Republicans who have directly criticized him.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who doesn’t face re-election until 2020, said the president “took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally” and the people demonstrating against them.
“Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world,” Graham added, referring to the former Ku Klux Klan leader.
Trump shot back on Thursday on Twitter: “Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists and people like Ms. Heyer.” He was referring to Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed when she was struck by a car driven into the crowd.
“Such a disgusting lie,” Trump said of Graham’s remarks. “He just can’t forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember.”
A drunken American tourist was assaulted over the weekend after repeatedly raising his arm to give the Nazi salute outside a bar in the German city of Dresden.
Dresden police said the 41-year-old man, who didn’t get too banged up in the attack, is being investigated for violating the law against the use of symbols from certain banned groups. Public displays of Nazism, such as the swastika symbol and gestures like the “Heil Hitler” salute, have been outlawed in Germany since the end of WWII, The Guardian reported.
The incident unfolded early Saturday, Aug. 12, when the tourist, “who was strongly under the influence of alcohol,” exited a bar in the city’s Neustadt area and proceeded to give the Nazi salute in the street, according to the newspaper.
“An unknown passerby then beat up the man and slightly injured him,” the police said in a statement.
For seven months, President Donald Trump giddily has ignored the norms of his office and tried the patience of those who had more than a passing knowledge of its history.
But during Tuesday’s press conference, before the gold-plated bank of elevators inside his Midtown temple to himself, the President defended those linked to white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other racist corners of American society in a display that defied any historical precedent. So striking was his bold protection of a small but vocal part of his political base, many reporters in the marble foyer dared to interrupt the President. If he was breaking with custom, so, too, would they.
“If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said of the Friday night march around the University of Virginia campus. That torch-lit procession featured white nationalists chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.”
Saturday, August 12th, will go down as a dark day for America. A coalition of white nationalists attempted to rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Young and old donned swastikas. White militia in full camouflage and many openly carrying weapons set out to “protect” the demonstrators. Angry men and women screamed vile and racist slogans. Violence broke out with counter-protesters. Then James Alex Fields, Jr., a 20-year-old from Ohio, decided to plow his car into a peaceful crowd protesting the racist spectacle. Heather Heyer of Charlottesville was killed and at least 19 people were injured. Cornel West, who joined the counter protests with a group of clergy, witnessed it all and told me, “I have never seen this kind of hatred.”
If these were normal times, even if you believed a press conference to be typical American racial theater, you would expect the President of the United States to condemn unequivocally the hatred and bigotry of the white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville. But these aren’t normal times.
Instead, Donald Trump offered a mealy-mouthed response. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”