There was much feigned trepidation among government, religious and activist types about a Ku Klux Klan “rally” threatening to bring 100 hooded racist zealots from North Carolina to the self-styled Capital of the Resistance on July 8th. The Klan group was coming to demand Charlottesville keep its equestrian statue of Robert E. Lee in what is now referred to as “Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park”. Held in “Justice Park, formally known as [Stonewall] Jackson Park,” the event was reported by mainstream media and radical social media as a humiliating rebuke to racism, sexism, homophobia and related evils. Despite their triumph, the anti-Klan crowd could not refrain from alleging police coddling of the Klansmen and brutality against the counter-demonstrators. As one activist saw it, “Police were there to protect the KKK and viewed the anti-racist protesters as the real threat.”
I have no idea of how the 30 or 40 Klan members who actually showed up assess Saturday’s festivities, except that they and their local sympathizers now have a better idea of what to expect when an anticipated larger white power rally convenes in town on August 12th. Central Virginians who deplore the mindless cultural cleansing represented by the war on Confederate memorials can certainly draw no encouragement from Saturday’s events– clearly the march of Progressive folly will not end anytime soon. Among the radical left and the useful idiots of Indivisible and comparable liberal “Resistance” groups a good time was had by all, and the future looks bright indeed.
The Charlottesville Progressive Blob, consisting of an otherwise comically inept City Council supported by complicit local media, a spectrum of radical to liberal activist busybodies, and a university crowd smug in their high-minded liberal orthodoxy, handled the whole thing ably and positioned themselves well for further victories on the streets and in the chambers of local government. They certainly won the war of labels and agendas. The president of the local community college left no room for middle ground: “the Charlottesville-Albemarle community has been embroiled in an ideological debate between those who support racism, hatred and divisiveness and those who support tolerance, inclusiveness and social justice.”
Perhaps the slickest move of all was a mysterious surprise unveiling at the historical society of two KKK robes dating from the 1920’s for a select group of local “leaders” two days before the Klan event. The ad hoc exhibition, allegedly in response to the persistent demands of a “University of Virginia professor and activist,” could not have been timed better. According to a front page story complete with a large picture, 26 pieces of Klan garb had been kept discreetly in storage for years. The headline was rich with implication: “KKK robes unveiled at historical society, but owners kept hidden.” The manufactured event permitted reprinting the same newspaper’s purple prose from 1921 describing the inaugural meeting of a Charlottesville chapter of the Klan: “Hundreds of Charlottesville’s leading business and professional men met around the tomb of Jefferson at the midnight hour one night last week and sealed the pledge of chivalry and patriotism with the deepest crimson of red American blood.” Activists in attendance at the display of the Klan items speculated for the reporter about the undoubtedly sinister reasons a collection of Klan outfits were not the centerpiece of the historical society’s exhibits, about which “old respectable family name which adorns a current Charlottesville building, street or park,” must be associated with the robes, and demanded that the historical society even reveal the names of The Klan Kollection’s anonymous donors. Perhaps sensing where this story was tending, the appropriately-named Mr. Meeks of the historical society lamely observed “Paul Goodloe McIntire — Charlottesville’s most illustrious philanthropist who gifted (sic.) the statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to the city and for whom the historical society’s building is named — is not associated with any of the Klan items in its collection.” But by then the damage was done. Without his customary bullhorn, the relentlessly ambitious activist/City Council member who initiated the effort to remove the Confederate statues engaged in deep reflection: “Those robes were found here in Charlottesville. How can these people say we haven’t had these issues? How can they say they haven’t permeated into our cultural norms? Look at all the opposition we’re facing. How can you tell me that (sic.) is not all connected in some shape, form or fashion?”
Conventional and social media depictions of resolute white Antifascists hand in hand with their outraged brothers and sisters of Black Lives Matter and other home-grown activists set upon by brutal cops with a mission to “ to protect white supremacy.”, a staged event co-opting another local institution to link racist “cultural norms” and Confederate monuments, an implied threat directed at local elites to stay in line or risk revealing skeletons in the ancestral closet, not to mention a few dozen Klan members given the bum’s rush last Saturday—these spell further degeneration of the civic culture and political discourse in Thomas Jefferson’s home town.
When the next, much larger and likely louder band of self-styled defenders of Western Culture descend on August 12 Charlottesville police will feel compelled to prove they are not agents of white power. The old Blues song has good advice: “You better walk right; You better not squabble; You better not fight.” Not, at least, if you are wearing a sleeveless tee with runic symbols or a battle flag bandanna. You could, on reflection, decide not to show up at all and at least avoid lending your presence to what in the end will be heralded as yet another radical victory, but that won’t really matter either. Big crowd or small, a tidal wave of “triggering” flags or a trickle, the result will be the same—at least until a real Resistance shows up.