August 15, 2017

BRET STEPHENS: Trump, Obama and the Politics of Evasion.

Consider the following propositions:

(1) James Alex Fields Jr., the young man who on Saturday, police say, rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, was not a “domestic terrorist.”

(2) He was a fatherless, troubled individual who likely experienced economic disenfranchisement as a child of Kentucky and was moved to violence for motives about which we can only guess.

(3) The marchers who gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee are not necessarily “alt-right.” After all, the alt-right movement encompasses a diverse spectrum of opinion, only some of it racist, and should not be tarred by the rhetoric or actions of a few.

(4) White people should feel no sense of responsibility because a tiny handful of so-called white “nationalists” and “supremacists” falsely claim to speak in their name.

(5) The blame for the events in Charlottesville does not lie with any particular group. Both sides bear their share of guilt and should have shown greater restraint.

(6) President Trump was right on Saturday to avoid stigmatizing any particular group in his remarks condemning violence and hatred. Doing so would unnecessarily elevate the profile of the angry losers and occasionally violent extremists who defame Americans and give them the P.R. victory they were seeking all along.

O.K., now here’s hoping you’re revolted by each of the six preceding points. Because, if you are, then maybe we can at last rethink the policy of euphemism, obfuscation, denial and semantic yoga that typified the Obama administration’s discussions of another form of terrorism.

Read the whole thing.

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