Call it whatever you like, it's just a name and not a very truthful one at that.
There's quite a row brewing in Boston. Judge Richard Sinnott refused a request from the District Attorney's office to dismiss charges against a counter-protester stemming from a confrontation at the recent Straight Pride event that took place in Beantown. DA Rachael Rollins called Sinnott's decision "unprecedented and outrageous"; Boston mayor Martin Walsh said that he's backing the judge.
While I fully support people protesting unjust causes, a big part of me applauds both Sinnott's choice and Walsh's support. Why? Because the loose collection of Antifa have shown themselves to be anything but anti-fascist. A cursory search shows that those who affiliate themselves with the de-centralized semi-collective seem more interested in violence and destruction than in affecting real change.
Let's take a quick look:
January 20th, 2017 - Masked "protesters" rioted in Washington, D.C., leading to 217 arrests. During the melee, they damaged bus stops, store fronts, and hurled rocks at police. They also vandalized and set fire to a limousine owned by a Muslim immigrant. Fight the power indeed.
February 1st, 2017 - Antifa showed up at UC Berkeley prior to a scheduled speech by right-wing personality Milo Yiannopoulos. Showing the typical restraint they've become known for, they caused $100,000 worth of damage. They also hurled molotov cocktails and pepper sprayed a young woman during an interview because she was wearing a Trump hat. Using violence against those who disagree politically? Yeah, that sounds like the behavior of people who truly oppose fascism.
March 4th, 2017 - Once again, Berkeley was the scene of the action. A pro-Trump event was targeted by our dear Antifa. Ten arrests were made, including four for assault with a deadly weapon.
April 15th, 2017 - Another pro-Trump event (guess where) became the site of violence. More arrests were made and police confiscated weapons including, but not limited to knives.
There are plenty of other examples and they're not hard to find. People are quick to point to rhetoric being a dangerous factor in situations escalating, and they're right. What many seem to ignore is that there is a steady stream of it feeding this anti-fascist movement which has shown itself to be anything but.
Seriously, think about it.
Before you do, let me be more concise: think about it without letting your political affiliation taint your opinion. Nazis are bad, no one (at least no one who matters) is denying that. The problem is that Nazi has become a slur thrown around with reckless abandon and the people doing it either don't see the danger or they don't care. When you have a legitimate group of White Supremacists holding an event, by all means, show up and voice your concern.
That said, people disagreeing with your political views does not a Nazi make. Then again, you would never know it by reading and hearing some of the absolute bullshit that has been spewed, including Chris Cuomo comparing Antifa protesters to World War II soldiers.
I'm not a guy who blindly swears allegiance to the military. Never have been, never will be, but comparing soldiers (many of them still kids) who stormed the beaches at Normandy in a fight against a regime that was responsible for the Holocaust to these masked assholes is disrespect of the highest order. Anyone who agrees with Cuomo's woefully ignorant statements should visit the Holocaust museum and listen to the voices of those who lived through it. Hell, just crack open a history book.
If you've read this far and don't share my perspective on this, that's fine. I don't want to live in a world where the hivemind reigns supreme. You can label me a conservative, a Trump supporter, even a Nazi. I don't care, because none are accurate. I spent the first decade of my voting life a registered Democrat. I didn't vote for Trump. I have no hate for any man, but my tolerance for ignorance is incredibly low and, unfortunately, ignorance has swept this nation like a plague.
Anyway, enough ranting, let's get back to the original topic. I viewed the Straight Pride parade as a joke. Apparently the organizers shared this view, as the Grand Marshall was none other that the aforementioned Mr. Yiannopoulos, an out and proud gay man. I can also understand why members of the gay community would be offended and I absolutely will not downplay the strife and struggles that they've faced for generations.
Would Antifa have shown up simply to "protect" that community? Nope. Enlightened members of the "media" labeled it as a white supremacy event (I'm not joking, google it; I'm not driving any traffic to their sites) and the masked bandits rode into town.
So why do I support the judge's decision in this case? Because Antifa acts like bullies and much of the coverage that they get justifies their actions. If you want to show up with weapons and physically attack people then you'd better be prepared to face the consequences of those actions. DA Rollins needs to realize that the defendant is a grown man who made his choices, poor as they were, and now he must be held accountable.
There is no room in modern society for this type of shortsighted idiocy. That goes for white supremacists, Antifa, and any other collection of extremists. We cannot let this type of mob mentality rule us. We have to be wise enough to realize that evil exists everywhere and doesn't recognize the boundaries of political affiliation, gender, race, sexual orientation or anything else.
We have to build each other up and stop treating each other like a flaming bag of dog shit on a stoop. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and we can. Don't surrender your voice to a faceless collective that will use it for purposes which are diametrically opposed to what they claim to stand for. Don't let anyone (myself included) tell you what or how to think.