Here is some perspective: In Charlottesville, Unite the Right cobbled together a few hundred white supremacists who left their Call of Duty games for a weekend to yell Nazi slogans they don’t understand and wave citronella tiki torches around like they were warding off mosquitos from their racist, pale skin. These people came from all over the country, and while they are certainly deplorable, their numbers should be encouraging.
This weekend, there were numerous rallies around the country to oppose the tiki tormenters. In Dallas alone, a crowd of 2,300 or so gathered at City Hall, armed with well-worded signs, to listen to speeches and promote acceptance. There was even a papier-mâché Donald Trump, complete with Nazi-saluting arm and stringy, combed-over rope hair.
The rally was as peaceful as it was sweaty, with numerous speakers from area advocacy groups, churches, and the greater Dallas community. Though it was difficult to hear over the buzzing of the helicopters ricocheting off of City Hall’s brutalist architecture, the numbers alone were a statement about where we stand as a country.
What wasn’t hard to hear was the consistent chanting of the crowd, “Tear them down,” throughout and in between the speakers, in reference to Dallas’ Confederate monuments.
The numerous and passionate protesters on Saturday stand directly at odds with Mayor Rawlings’ plans to create a task force to further study the Confederate monuments around Dallas, which could take months to make a decision and even longer to take action. Philip Kingston, East Dallas’ and Uptown’s own firebrand councilmember, has released resolution that demands that the City Council be allowed to vote on what to do with the monuments and let the task force decide what to do with the statues, should the vote decide to remove them.
The press release reads, “the Mayor decided instead to instigate a task force, which will deliberate for 90 days before taking a decision to the board of the Cultural Affairs Office. Only after that would it return to council, with the timing at the discretion of the Mayor.
The advocates are insisting their objectives are clear: Three months of a task force is not needed when elected representatives can take action in a matter of weeks. Their constituents have been addressing this issue to them, and this vote allows council to represent them. Per the memo, the vote will decide whether or not to remove the statues, and a task force will be charged with deciding what to do with the removed structures.”
There will be a press conference at City Hall on Monday at noon making this announcement.
All over the country this weekend, there were response rallies. Texas A&M, who doesn’t have the best record when it comes to race relations, even canceled the Unite the Right rally that was planned for Sept. 11.
In Boston, the large anti-white supremacy rally got the attention of Donald Trump, who began the day calling the protesters “anti-police agitators” but ended the day applauding them for “speaking out against bigotry and hate.” He also misspelled “heal” several times along the way.
So while the white supremacists bumbling around Charlottesville were scary and deadly, the decidedly more numerous responses should put a salve on some of Charlottesville’s wounds.