It has not yet been widely recognized, but I believe Charlottesville represents an epoch in this presidential administration, and quite possibly in the history of this country.
In Charlottesville, a private, heavily-armed, uniformed militia patrolled the streets, unmolested by police. Demonstrators called for the extermination of the Jews. Heather Heyer was murdered because she opposed them. And the president said there had been violence “on many sides.”
For seventy years, we have debated whether or not it could happen here. That debate is over. It has happened here.
It’s not just the president. In our little city of Malden, one of the candidates for City Council insists that he is completely even-handed in his view of the Boston rally in the wake of Charlottesville, expressing no preference for either the fascists or the 40,000 Bostonians who turned out to shame them. After protracted discussion, he wrote on his Facebook page that he had “disavowed Nazism,” though, as best I have been able to discover, he has not actually done so. (This delightful fellow is considered a moderate centrist in his three-way race.).
The question before us is no longer how to prevent fascism: the question is how to face it, stop it, and end it.