Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It was Charlottesville, it could be Bloomsburg, it could be anywhere: standing up to NAZIS

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

The following is a letter to the editor of the Press Enterprise, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. it's also one citizen's attempt to speak truth to power, and demonstrate that the local truly is the global.


To the editor:

Taking a page from the Trump playbook of false equivalencies, PE editor Sachetti’s “Can we talk?” column (8.16) repeats the absurd idea that the fascist/racist AltRight is met with equal moral depravity from the Left. He equates the legitimate struggles of African American, LGBTQ, Jews, and other “non-white” people for justice with the demands of self-avowed NAZIS to advance their quest for racial and religious “purity.” He thinks we can all just simmer down, chat over coffee, and work out our differences—as if bigotry, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and homophobia were simply misunderstandings. 

They’re not. 

Fact is, bigotry runs through the bone marrow of the America that privileges him, and it’s the preservation of that “blood and soil” that racists like WHLM’s Dave Reilly personify in their claim to “unite the right.” “Can we talk?” couldn’t be more insipid for a newspaper whose existence is premised on fanning the flames of hatred.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
Sachetti insists we’ve “separated into tribes” willfully oblivious to the fact that his “tribe” remains the entitled class of his country. The white supremacist claim to “take the country back” has no analogue on the Left. 

None on the Left committed a hate- motivated murder in the broad daylight of Charlottesville. 

No Black Lives Matter member demands a “homeland” for a single color/religion. 

None on the Left subscribe to the insane idea that there are other races of homo Sapien besides the human race. 

Sachetti’s claim that our system of government was designed to prevent inequality “with the exception of the slavery question” is false; it was designed first and foremost to protect property and property owners. While he acknowledges that the “slavery question” was settled only after “much butchery,” he fails (much like Trump) to name the butchers—white propertied slave-owners. 

Slavery, moreover, isn’t a “question.” It’s an abomination, and “takin’ to the streets” to protest its contemporary Tiki-Torch-wielding, car-crashing, murderous Trumpster thugs is the least of our responsibilities as citizens. Fact is, those who chastise the protester as “loud” simply want to shame us into the silence of a rotting status quo that makes the work of the AltRight unnecessary for sheer acquiesence.

We must decisively reject its vision of a unity borne of exclusion, subjugation, and the violent enforcement of its warped white-world; we must do it with our voices, our votes, and our feet.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee
Sachetti claims “debate has devolved into a shouting match.” What is there is to debate about the equality and humanity of black, LGBTQ, Jewish, or Muslim people? Of women? Answer: nothing. The call to debate is a tactic to stall and defeat the demand for justice; more telling, Sachetti quotes Ben Shapiro, editor at large at Breitbart through 2016—voice of the Alt-Right—to support the claim that there exists an AltLeft.

Such vapid pronouncements lack not only imagination, but supporting evidence. “AltLeft” is the creation of a racist logic bent on shutting down the legitimate demand for social and economic justice. It must be met by speaking truth to power—what Mr. Sachetti saw at WHLM, 8.15. The 13 local businesses who’ve pulled advertising must expand to every other; schools who utilize WHLM must find another host for their sports broadcasts, including BU. 

While it’s no surprise that Sachetti parrots the distorted rhetoric of a Trump administration that sells his blighted newspaper, we can do better. We can take a stand. Dave Reilly’s a public figure. He has the right to free speech. But when that speech damages his community, his employer must decide whose voice he’ll heed: the white supremacist or the people whom he claims to serve.

Wendy Lynne Lee

599 words