When I was a child and I had a problem with a bully, my mom gave me the same advice that most moms give. Walk away from the confrontation, tell an adult, just ignore them. While that’s good advice it’s not always the easiest to follow, its also not always the most effective.
If you say nothing bullies know that they can get away with tormenting you. If you tell the teacher you must be able to prove what happened. If you stand up to the bully you might be able to make them stop, or you might get a swirly.
This past weekend Richard Spencer and a small group of Nazis returned to Charlottesville. In smaller scale protest they went back to the Robert E. Lee statue, which is now been covered with a tarp, and they chanted. They carried Tiki torches, and they yelled “ they will not replace us,” and “ the south will rise again!” They did this all in the same place where just a few months ago a man associated with their cause murdered 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer.
You can find info about the most recent protest if you look for it. Plenty of news outlets wrote about it. However, you would think that these white supremacists returning to the scene of the crime would be a bigger deal. Instead it was a relatively quiet ordeal.
Maybe its because the rally lasted only ten minutes before police escorted participants out. Maybe its because only 40 to 50 people showed up, a fraction of the number of men and women who traveled to attend the unite the right rally. Or maybe news outlets decided to take moms advice and ignore the bullies.
Whatever the case the whole treatment of their return did not sit right with me. Do we give them power by talking about them? Yes, but should we be outraged by their complete disregard for the loss of life and the general chaos they caused just a few months ago? Also, yes.
It’s a tough one, and not one with a simple answer. I think it’s also possible that with the state of our country lately we are simply outraged out. It seems every week another atrocity pops up more upsetting than the last. It is admittedly exhausting, but exhaustion leads to complacency, and complacency leads to a new normal.
One man for this incident was not taken lightly was Charlottesville mayor, Mike Signer.
Signer tweeted “Another despicable visit by neo-Nazi cowards. You’re not welcome here! Go home! Meantime we’re looking at all our legal options. Stay tuned.”
If he has yet to tire of being angry what right do the rest of us have?