Stop Defending Neo-Nazis

I originally posted this on my personal Facebook, but I think it’s a message important enough to share on multiple platforms.

In the wake of an act of domestic terrorism, I have seen a bunch of you unabashedly defending self-proclaimed Nazis and white supremacists. Whether directly or indirectly, you’ve had the backs of people who want my friends to die. And I am absolutely disgusted by everyone who believes that’s acceptable.

One of the most common arguments that has been proliferated over the past week has been that people from the left need to be more tolerant of the type of reactionaries who perpetuated violence in Charlottesville. In fact, many of you are saying, we should befriend klansmen, speak to them calmly, and refrain from returning what they’re doling out.

If you buy into this argument, then I have a lot of questions for you. Why should people on the left be the only people who are courteous? Why must every ounce of thought, emotional energy, and basic human decency in this debate come from the left? Why is there absolutely no expectation at all, whatsoever, that the people on the far right contribute even one iota of kindness or consideration?

Most importantly, why do you insist that this debate is even possible? How can anyone have a rational conversation with one of these people––especially when these people enter the discussion with the assumption that their fellow interlocutors are subhuman? Why do you insist that people on the left remain amicable with villains who think they are subhuman? Why does that make sense to you?

I’m not an expert, but it certainly seems that you are making it easy for Nazis and white supremacists to scream their horrendous ideologies from the streets––and at the same time, you are silencing the voices who are trying to condemn evil. It certainly seems that your rhetoric is upholding a history of atrocities and carrying them into our era.

Allow me to repeat something. The extreme-right people who took to the streets in Charlottesville want my friends to die. And they may very well want your friends to die, too (although, if you’re one of my addressees here, I have to wonder whether or not you are truly a friend to anyone who is threatened by reactionaries). But you’re still defending them.

That’s unacceptable. If you don’t recognize why that’s unacceptable, then please, explain yourself. At the moment, I can’t fathom one logical reality in which defending Nazis––people who want to kill the people I love most in the world––is okay.