Thomas Gallatin / April 24, 2018

Tale of Two Protests

Recent racist protest gains little national attention as city officials prevent violence.

Over the weekend, a small band of approximately two dozen neo-Nazi white supremacists gathered for a public rally in Newnan, Georgia, a small town just 38 miles southwest of Atlanta. Similar to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, counterdemonstrators showed up to protest against the white supremacists. Many of those counterprotesters were members of the violent, extreme leftist group antifa. Recall that last year’s rally turned violent as members of both groups clashed, leading to the death of one young woman who was murdered by a white supremacist when he drove his vehicle into a group of counterprotesters. The incident created a national outcry, especially from Democrats and the mainstream media, who blamed President Donald Trump for creating a toxic environment and for failing to condemn white supremacists. Trump did in fact condemn the message and behavior of white supremacists, but he also called out the violence of antifa, something the MSM would not tolerate.

Back to the recent Newnan rally, which, thanks to advanced planning by city officials, included a heavy police presence and clearly designated areas for protesters. That helped prevent any opportunity for violent clashes, and only 10 antifa counterprotesters were arrested for failing to remove their masks. Prior to the event, Georgia Republican Lt. Gov. (and gubernatorial candidate) Casey Cagle said he was “praying for Newnan.” He added, “We must condemn the bigotry spread by hate groups. Our thoughts are with Sheriff Yeager, city officials, and all law enforcement officers who are working to protect residents and we hope the protests remains nonviolent.” Since the rally and counterprotest occurred without any violence, the mainstream media gave it little national attention.

So what made the outcomes between Newnan and Charlottesville so different? The simple answer is politics. In Charlottesville, leftists, led by a politically motivated mayor, saw an opportunity to conflate the controversy surrounding the decision to remove Confederate statues with those advocating white supremacy — they rolled it all together and indicted Trump for stoking racism. City officials sympathetic to their cause took little action in keeping the protesters and counterprotesters from violently attacking each other. It resulted in an escalation that left one young woman dead. After the violence, Democrats and the MSM laid blame for it solely at the feet of the white supremacists while excoriating Trump for his statement that both sides bore blame.

Newnan city officials by contrast preserved both civility and Americans’ First Amendment rights. It’s exactly what we should expect from our elected officials — not political posturing, but enforcement of the law. The trouble is no one will remember Newnan, while the narrative surrounding Charlottesville lives on.

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