I’m live in Charlottesville VA, where the bloody, drawn-out battle over confederate statues ends today with the removal of monuments to Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Watch them come down live on @CNN starting this hour.— Evan McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcS) July 10, 2021
JUST IN – Confederate statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee removed in Charlottesville, Virginia.pic.twitter.com/4FascrbiEZ— Disclose.tv ? (@disclosetv) July 10, 2021
This is what happens when people who have no attachment to the land or history flood into your city, county or country. https://t.co/SSfxzQRNqz— Battle Beagle (@HarmlessYardDog) July 10, 2021
And Stonewall Jackson leaves Court Square Park in Downtown Charlottesville. pic.twitter.com/6vTJfNK6SH— Allison Wrabel (@craftypanda) July 10, 2021
#RobertELee is accurately quoted from private letters at his Arlington Home. It succinctly demonstrates all that he sacrificed for his decision. There is no mention of Slavery. Why? No quote exists from Lee or anyone he spoke with mentioning a defense of Slavery.#twitterstorians pic.twitter.com/houhdDkYFh— Jefferson Davis (@Jeff_Davis1808) July 10, 2021
As a proud White Southerner who was raised with traditional values, I attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 to support the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monuments.
In my mind, I was just exercising my constitutional rights and going to another Southern heritage rally. I had shown up to support memorials of our ancestors over the years in many other cities like New Orleans, Birmingham or Gainesville, FL where our Southern heritage is under assault by woke progressives. We had gone to federal court and easily won the right to hold a free speech rally there. Most Virginians before and after the Unite the Right rally agreed with our position on Confederate monuments.
In Charlottesville, we learned that day before the rest of the Right that the rot in these woke progressive cities goes far deeper than the culture war over Confederate monuments. When we showed up that day to attend our legally permitted event, the Virginia State Police and Charlottesville barricaded themselves behind steel fences and allowed Antifa and Black Lives Matter to attack us in the streets. When we defended ourselves and the park from a mob of violent leftists, the violence that those people started was used as an excuse to revoke our permit and declare a “State of Emergency.” We were ordered to leave town by the Virginia State Police which pushed our people out of Lee Park and into a crowd of violent Antifa who were then allowed to parade around town unmolested for the next several hours.
The corporate media created a fanciful narrative in which we had shown up that day to attack the town or something which was heroically “defended” by Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Everything we said happened that day was captured on video and our account was later confirmed by an independent investigation by Tim Heaphy and a separate state review. The truth is that the fight over Confederate monuments in Charlottesville was only a surface issue and the Unite the Right rally raised even larger questions about the intersection of wokeness with civil liberties and policing in progressive cities.
Are Black Lives Matter and Antifa above the law? Do violent leftwing mobs have the right to vandalize and destroy our monuments? Are progressive prosecutors turning a blind eye to Black Lives Matter and Antifa violence? Are “journalists” still capable of accurately reporting the news? Are social media companies imposing a political litmus test on the internet on behalf of progressive activist groups? Are the police cowed and unable to do their jobs because of the political climate in progressive cities? What is being taught to Virginia’s youth in universities like UVA? Is the law being selectively enforced and used as a tool to suppress the Right? Will the destruction of Virginia’s heritage stop at Confederate monuments?
These were all important questions which were raised by Charlottesville. After that event, we changed our tactics and stepped out of the public spotlight because we had been blamed for the violence that occurred that day. We were also hit by a SLAPP lawsuit in federal court. As subsequent events in Richmond and other cities all around the country after the death of George Floyd last summer would later show, it was possible to have dozens of “Charlottesvilles” WITHOUT any “far right” presence on the ground. This includes at least 70 other incidents in which Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists provoked violent altercations with other civilians and caused multiple traffic accidents and deaths. The FBI also turned a blind eye to all of it.
The Left’s preferred tactics are now mob violence, state repression, censorship, cancel culture, economic intimidation and refusing to respect the civil rights and liberties of others. This is a political problem for the Right that is beyond the scope of any individual activist group to address. The monuments can be taken down and moved to other cities that are willing to host them, but this refusal to respect the rights of others and the political establishment protecting violent leftist groups cannot be allowed to stand.
Note: Once again, Charlottesville’s issues go far beyond Confederate monuments. It is the embodiment of woke progressivism.