If only the Cheeto in the White House hadn't decided he needed to yet again draw an equivalence between those who are fascists and those who oppose them. If he hadn't done that thing we wouldn't have to have yet another discussion about why antifa and Nazis are not at all the same thing, and why there is no equivalence between them.
Senator Tim Scott tried to explain this directly to Trump, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in, even as he specifically said "there is no realistic comparison" between white supremacists who have "been killing blacks for years" and antifa.
CNN took up the discussion last night on Anderson Cooper's show, with panelists Gloria Borger, Van Jones and Ohio Pastor (and ardent Trump supporter) Darrell Scott.
This discussion is bonkers. That's all. Van Jones led off by speaking some truth; namely, that had it not been for the antifascist counterprotesters in Charlottesville, more people would have died. He also made a point I've been trying to make for weeks now. No one knows what "antifa" means, but when you explain that these are people actually trying to do battle against fascists, they have a better understanding.
As Jones says, "Antifa has a PR problem."
The whole discussion really went off the rails when Cooper quite pointedly asked Scott if he thought "hundreds of young men saying Jews will not replace us and chanting blood and soil, a Nazi chant from the 1930s," included some good people like Trump claimed.
"We are talking about bad people on both sides," Scott shot back.
"One reason you can't equate antifa -- you said can't because Ku Klux Klan has a history," Scott said when pressed on why he simply cannot agree that there are not equivalent evils here. "Antifa is a new group but violence is violence. You can't say the violence from the KKK is worse simply because they're white supremacists."
One is defense; one is offense. Why is this so hard to understand, again?
As the discussion proceeded, it got to Charlottesville, where Scott descended into a mad argument about how antifa was bad because they went to the place of the march, downplaying the fact that a white supremacist mowed down a group of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer.
Because guns? Here's the transcript of that last weird part, via Media Matters:
VAN JONES: Here's what I saw. You had people who were Nazis, who were armed, who were going with torches into a city. I think if Nazis marched into your neighborhood, marched on your house, and you came out with a side arm and said, "Hey, get away from here, you're a Nazi, you've got weapons, you've got torches, back up," I don't think anybody would call you violent. I think people would say you are correct to try to protect yourself from Nazis. Do you think that people don't have a right to defend themselves against Nazis? I just don't understand what you're saying.
DARRELL SCOTT: If I heard that the Nazis were marching across town and I armed myself and went across town to prevent their march, then I have evil intent. Go walking across my grass -- walking across my grass is one thing --
GLORIA BORGER: Oh really? Really? Wouldn't that be self-defense?
SCOTT: How is it self defense if I come to you? And you don't come to me?
BORGER: Well, I have a question. If Nazis, we have seen this --
SCOTT: How many gun shots went off at that meeting? How many -- how many people got shot by a white supremacist?
JONES: Well, somebody -- a woman was murdered. Wait, hold on a second --
SCOTT: How many people were shot by a white supremacist? How many guns went off? How much gun fired did we hear? I don't think we heard any.
JONES: I'm confused. Reverend, reverend --
SCOTT: One person was run over by a car, you're absolutely right and that was horrible.
JONES: But reverend -- but reverend --
SCOTT: If that's the case, then anybody that drove up there went with a weapon then.
So apparently because a gun didn't kill Heather Heyer, it wasn't as terrible as it could have been. Do you also see how Mr. Conservative Trump Supporter Guy suddenly isn't enthusiastic about guns in the hands of antifascists, but is fine with them in the hands of white supremacists?
This is some of the most whack, intellectually dishonest talk I've seen about antifa. It's particularly disturbing because those people I know who are anti-fascists are NOT violent, do not believe in violence, but will defend those under attack with their bodies. Emphasis on the word DEFEND, which apparently is only something to approve of when Nazis and KKK members do it.