In Our Own Backyard: The Myth of Both Sides

Kay Bolden – Kay@thetimesweekly.com | 8/16/2017, 7:35 p.m.
Heather Heyer is dead. Last Saturday in Charlottesville, VA, she was mowed down in cold blood, in broad daylight, on ...

Heather Heyer is dead. Last Saturday in Charlottesville, VA, she was mowed down in cold blood, in broad daylight, on camera, by a white supremacist. I never met Heather. I don’t know if she liked yoga or hockey. I don’t know if she was shy or outgoing. I only know that she felt strongly enough about love that she stood up against hate. I only know that she joined the peaceful protest against armed terrorists, to add her voice to the call for justice.

Whatever your political leanings, if you are a human being with a beating heart, you were sick and disgusted at the sight of that car, speeding viciously through the crowd, intent on murder and destruction. Whatever you think of Southern history and statues of Robert E. Lee, you were horrified at the sight of those men, strapped with guns and ammo, carrying torches in the dark, chanting “Jews Will Not Replace Us” and “Go Back to Africa Niers”.

At least, I hope you were.

There’s another group of people – some well-meaning, some not – who perpetuate the myth that “both sides” in this tragedy bear responsibility for the death of this innocent woman.

The president -- who should be a voice of reason, justice and equality no matter what party he represents -- used his platform instead to further this lie of false equivalence. In his latest presser, he went so far as to compare George Washington – the founder of this nation – to Robert E. Lee, who led a war to not only maintain the savagery of slavery in the South, but to destroy the United States itself. To literally rend America in half. There’s a word for what Robert E. Lee did, and the word is treason.

Trump continued to push the untruth that counter-protesters in Charlottesville had incited the attacks against them, that those who were beaten, spat on, shoved and killed were somehow as responsible as the gun-wielding thugs who committed the assaults. There’s a word for what Trump does, too, and the word is mendacity.

The Unite the Right demonstrators came to Charlottesville with guns to protest the removal of Lee’s statue, and to uphold all the Confederate flag represents: white supremacy. The counter protesters came – armed only with the Constitution – to uphold the highest ideals of America: equality for all.

And here the myth of “both sides” is laid bare. Equality is not the other side of white supremacy. Equality is middle ground. Equality is consensus and justice. There are no other organizations out marching with guns, insisting on the supremacy of THEIR race or religion, demanding the deportation or outright murder of those who are different.

Only the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan do that.

But when you’re accustomed to being superior, I guess equality can feel like oppression.

In the “well-meaning” category are people who say they hate violence and racism but both sides, left and right, need to unite. I thank anyone who is anti-violence, but please let me clarify something for you: