In an environment in which a presidential condemnation of the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” of the white supremacy movement is described as giving “white supremacists an unequivocal boost,” monuments — even to such iconic American figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington — are being threatened with removal, and Antifa thugs are routinely called “civil rights activists,” Dr. Ben Carson has published a post on his Facebook page that may help put these controversies in perspective.
Regarding all of the racial and political strife emanating from the events in Charlottesville last weekend, let me relate a story. Several years ago we bought a farm in rural Maryland. One of the neighbors immediately put up a Confederate flag. A friend of ours who is an African-American three-star general was coming to visit and immediately turned around concluding that he was in the wrong place. Interestingly, all the other neighbors immediately put up American flags shaming the other neighbor who took down the Confederate flag. More recently our home in Virginia along with that of a neighbor was vandalized by people who also wrote hateful rhetoric about President Trump. We were out of town, but other kind, embarrassed neighbors cleaned up most of the mess before we returned.
In both instances, less than kind behavior was met by people taking the high road. We could all learn from these examples. Hatred and bigotry unfortunately still exists in our country and we must all continue to fight it, but let’s use the right tools. By the way, that neighbor who put up the Confederate flag subsequently became friendly. That is the likely outcome if we just learn to be neighborly and to get to know each other.
This attack upon such an important figure in the African-American community — presumably by the same forces, or those in league with the forces that the New York Times calls “activists protesting racism” — clearly calls into question the supposed pro-civil rights agenda of the attackers, even if the vandalism contained “hateful rhetoric” about Trump.
As a reminder, civil rights for blacks means civil rights for conservative blacks as well.
And, one should note that in Dr. Carson’s narrative, the Confederate flag was not removed by force by the neighbors of the flag owner. There were no trespasses upon his or her private property, the flag was not set on fire or desecrated, nor were there any threats against the flag owner. Rather the flag was removed as the result of a civil protest.
As Dr. Carson suggests by relating this story, it contains a great lesson which should be studied today.