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Wed, June 19

Column: Charlottesville, the full equation

Nonpartisan effort to keep insurance available

I apologize for having to write about something as depressing as racism, so I promise to end with something positive.

The “it’s all their fault” vs. “they’re equally at fault” debate needs some parsing. We’re adults. If you read newspaper columns, you probably are not simple-minded. We can understand this with a little more subtlety than the versions from the loudest voices trying to drown out any alternatives.

We could look back in distant history, or recent history, and dig up endless “Well they did this” and “The others did that,” so rather than get lost in all of that, let’s just look at the events in Charlottesville themselves.

The initial group said they were coming to protest the planned removal of a statue, but actions speak louder than words. They came in Nazi gear and Ku Klux Klan gear, gave Nazi salutes, chanted racist chants, and came as groups whose core, overt purpose is racism.

Many people showed up to counter-protest. Lots of local people, and in general people against racism and against the promotion of hatred.

Mixed in were some who call themselves anti-fascists. These are similar to groups who call themselves the “black bloc” because they wear black clothes and hide their faces (some identify as anarchists). Sometimes in otherwise peaceful marches or demonstrations by the left, this black bloc shows up and breaks windows and burns cars and somehow thinks that’s going to be more effective than peaceful demonstrations. To me they are just aggravating fools who accomplish nothing other than tarnishing the credibility of the peaceful protesters.

In Charlottesville, mixed in with the counter-protesters, were some anti-fascists looking for a fight, and they found plenty of the white supremacists ready to give it to them. Destructive fools, all, and all to be condemned.

But the equation doesn’t end there. The first group explicitly wants to promote racism and the hatred of others. The peaceful counter-demonstrators are against that. The anti-fascists are against it too, if by wrong-headed means. The original sin here is the promotion of racism and hate. There is no equivalency. The first group is dead wrong. The second group is exactly right, with a few who go about it in wrong ways.

This is without even getting into the issue of the murderous man who ran his car into people. Even without that, it stands, that the racists are morally wrong, and those opposing them are morally right.

We can take heart that in Charlottesville, and in Boston on Saturday, people opposed to racism show up, vastly outnumber the others, and with rare exception were peaceful.

Will this happen in Prescott? Who knows? If it does and you want it nipped in the bud, be prepared to show up, be peaceful, and make it clear there’s no place for this here. You can also discourage it from even getting that far by, in your personal life, making it clear to those who reveal their racism or hatred that it’s not acceptable.

So, a nice piece of good news, on another topic? States across the political spectrum are being able to work with insurance companies and fill most of the gaps in the Obamacare exchanges. A non-partisan effort that means there will be that many more people with access to health care. See the link with this column online.

Tom Cantlon is a local business owner and writer and can be reached at comments at

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