— Alexander Rubinstein (@AlexR_DC) November 19, 2016
This video of a white nationalist attacking a protester has been circulating.
If you watch other videos around this event, this guy was keeping his shit together, even amidst shouts and possible spitting. No video shows what set him off, but something beyond the chanting and bad language set him off. According to some reports, he didn’t lunge into the crowd until someone knocked his camera out of his hand.
Still, I’ve seen friends posting about how Nazis starting fights will get taken down and bloodied. Which is going to scare whom?
The crowd gave these folks exactly what they wanted. Do you think the loaded question of “are you a self-hating white person” was meant to engage or get a meaningful conversation going. They were there to provoke the crowd. And they got exactly what they wanted. They are now heroes among their white supremacist crowd and their video of them being verbally attacked, physically intimidated, and then eventually provoked into a fight is all going to play to their message.
I had to think about this for a while. The “we don’t have to engage” arguments, the “there’s wrong and there’s right” arguments, the “intolerant of intolerance arguments,” and the arguments that we can’t change them, we can only crush them.
In my gut, they felt right. They fed the anger, the fear, the indignance. But a war on white supremacy is like the war on terror. You cannot intimidate, attack, or logic hate out of existence. Shouting down hate does not make it go away.
What the protesters should have done is asked if they could give her a hug and thanked her for coming by to document that they were good people opposed to a bad idea. We cannot be a reactive mob that white supremacists can control with applied stimulus. We must be a rock they cannot move. We must be examples of love overcoming hate.
We should not be silent. We should not be invisible. We should shore up our defenses. At the same time, when we go out to protest, to be visible, to stop their message from causing us harm, we must present the affirmative alternative. We must protest FOR love, not against hate.
Bannon, Trump, and the alt-right tricked Hillary and much of the left into attacking their ideas instead of pushing our own. As long as we spend our time protesting against their ideas and not for our own, we let them control the topic and tenor of the debate.
We must protest for tolerance and show them tolerance (not their ideas, but them as people). We must say, “I disagree with you, but I love you anyway because you are one of God’s children.” Don’t argue. Stay on message. “I hear you and I love you and I hope you will find God’s love filling your heart someday soon.” That’s it. That’s the message.
If they attack, use as much force as is necessary to defend yourself, up to and including deadly force. If they try to institute policies and legislation, engage politicians through physical letter writing, phone calls, and setting appointments at their offices to oppose that. But when we protest, we raise our voices to God in prayer and song. We offer hugs, not fists. We offer love, not anger. WE control the tone and tenor of the debate and make them take the position of being against something. Because this is our fight to lose, and if we keep letting them set the topic and tenor, we will lose it.