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AS I SEE IT 8/14…Thoughts on Charlottesville, including from the wrestling world

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

For those looking for wrestling and a pre-SummerSlam blog,
not happening….not with what happened this weekend in
Charlottesville, VA.

There’s always been racial hatred and white supremacists in
this country from the first moments of the United
States…certainly the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis then the
“respectable” types such as the White Citizens Council types
and their newest incarnation with what could be termed “Bro
Nazis” who couch their hate in suits and designer casual
clothes. But too many (primarily white) Americans were
content to dismiss them as a few small, powerless fanatics.

But this weekend feels like we crossed a line as a
nation…a line where the mainstream of America is finally
being forced to confront this evil.

As the result of liberal college town Charlottesville, VA’s
removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, Confederate leader; a
horde of hate descended on the city this past weekend.

Friday night saw a torchlight parade of neo-Nazis who’ve
been ridiculed as “bro Nazis” young Millennials types
dressed in business casual clothing, firing off Hitler
salutes and spouting vile chants like “blood and soil” and
“Jew will not replace us”. Many found it easy to ridicule
them because they looked a collection of entitled little
brats playing Nazi.

But then came Saturday.

White supremacists gathered on Saturday for a “Unite the
Right” march in Charlottesville, where they were met by
counter demonstrators. They then assaulted the counter-
demonstrators with AK-47s, baseball bats, clubs, metal
shields, pepper spray, and tear gas in what became an out
and out riot. 15 were known to be injured in this part of
the incident. The Governor of Virginia declared a State of
Emergency (which still exists as I write this).

Then at 1:45 p.m., a car deliberately targeted and hit a
group of counter demonstrators, injuring 19; and killing
Heather D. Heyer, 32, a local paralegal who was among
peaceful counter-demonstrators. James Alex Fields Jr., of
Maumee, OH has been charged with second degree murder.

Donald Trump, responded on Twitter…hours later… with a
tepid condemnation of the “egregious display of hatred,
bigotry and violence on many sides”. This ignored the fact
that it was only one side who brought weapons on Saturday.

Trump was condemned for not even mentioning Charlottesville
and not mentioning white supremacists or hate groups. There
wasn’t “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”…but on
one side. Media and people of decency condemned what
happened (and what didn’t happen) within minutes.

But this isn’t a partisan issue…leading Republicans, even
those the farthest to the Right, at least some of whom may
have benefitted from this kind of attitude, quickly
condemned what happened.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) stated: “Mr. President – we must
call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and
this was domestic terrorism.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) responded (to Trump’s statement and
to the violence) angrily: “We should call evil by its
name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for
Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA): “What ” WhiteNatjonalist” are
doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can’t
be tolerated anymore that what Any extremist does”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said: “White supremacists aren’t
patriots, they’re traitors- Americans must unite against
hatred & bigotry.”

Sen Ted Cruz (R-FL) said: The Nazis, KKK, and white
supremacists are repulsive and evil and all of us have a
moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry,
anti-Semitism and hatred that they propagate…I urge the
Department of Justice to immediately investigate and
prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.”

The wrestling world didn’t ignore what happened:

Kevin Steen (Owens) said:

“…. I’ve been pretty out of the loop these past few
days and only found out about what transpired in Virginia
late last night. I have to be honest, this time I’m almost
speechless….What happened is beyond disgusting and
sickening. Racism and bigotry is wrong. That’s all there is
to it. I’m sad and concerned that my children are growing up
in a world like this. All I can say is that my wife and I
will do all we can to ensure that our children are part of
the solution and not the problem. I really hope everyone out
there does the same. “Let’s try to make the world a better
place. Let’s love each other. Let’s not be pieces of $#@t to
each other. Good luck.”

Sami Zayn simply responded by tweeting a picture of a Nazi
symbol with a “no” symbol around it.

Ring of Honor Champion Cody Rhodes also said: “Nazis and
white supremacists can keep marching backwards… Rest of us
are marching forward”
;notably including a picture of his
wife, Brandi.

Matt Hardy said: “Skin color has nothing to do with the
quality of any human being. It’s what lies inside their
heart & soul that matters.”

WWE often adds a brief bumper this time of year concerning
the Martin Luther King “I Have A Dream” speech. It would
certainly be welcome to see its airing moved up a week or so
and aired tonight. There is also a really strong PSA done by
John Cena last year for the Ad Council’s “Love Has No
Labels” campaign. To my knowledge the PSA hasn’t aired
before on WWE TV. It might be a good time to get permission
from the Ad Council air that ad tonight.

If you’ve never seen this ad before, it can be seen at the
link below. Please take a moment to watch this PSA. As old
as I am, I find this very moving. While it’s over 3 minutes
long, after this weekend…it would be an act of citizenship
to air this PSA. It’d mean more than a moment of silence or
the standard MLK bumper they air (which is about as long).

Yes, I know Linda McMahon holds office in the current
administration. But as several leaders of her party made
clear, standing against hate shouldn’t have a party label.

Until next time….

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