December 25 - A Witness to the Nazi atrocities in Charlottesville; A Rabbinical Student Who Faced the Nazis in Charlottesville; A Former Neo-Nazi with "Life After Hate"

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Full Program


Part 1

Today we look back at the story in the news that defined the struggle between the better angels of our nature and the emerging dark side of America that exploded into the open this year in Charlottesville, Virginia. We begin with a broadcast of Background Briefing from August 13, 2017 on the violence that was brought to Charlottesville, Virginia by the Ku Klux Clan, neo-Nazis and white nationalist groups under the banner of “Unite the Right” who organized a Nazi-like torchlight protest Friday night against the removal of a statue of the Confederate leader Robert E. Lee then on Saturday converged on the statue wearing military gear waving Confederate flags and Nazi swastikas chanting “you will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us” as they clashed with counter-demonstrators. Nicole Hemmer, a professor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and author of “Messenger of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics”, joined us to discuss her article at U.S. News and World Report “Sounds and Silence in Charlottesville: As the violence of white nationalism spilled onto the streets of Virginia” and what she witnessed after a car driven by a white supremacist ploughed into a crowd of demonstrators celebrating the dispersal of the “Unite the Right” demonstrators.


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Part 2

Then we go to our broadcast from August the 14th, 2017 following the grudging acceptance by Donald Trump of the need to condemn Saturday’s violence by neo-Nazi white supremacists in a television address in which he insisted on first emphasizing what a great economy he has created before addressing the burning issue of Charlottesville as if it were an afterthought. A witness who was part of an interfaith protest by clergy who faced Saturday’s phalanx of heavily armed white supremacist Stormtroopers spewing racist hatred, Bryan Mann joined us. He is in his sixth year of studies at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston and will be an ordained rabbi in June of 2018. With his prayer shawl and kippa, linking arms with other clergy led by Cornell West, Bryan faced the Nazi taunts of “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us”, and he describes how the police did nothing to protect the counter-protesters who were defended by the Antifa, the anti-fascists who came to their rescue meeting violence with violence which has led many, including Trump, to assign blame to “many sides”.

Bryan Mann

Part 3

Then finally we go to the August 15th broadcast of Background Briefing for the extraordinary reopening of self-inflicted wounds by Donald Trump who reversed his reluctant acknowledgement that neo-Nazis and white supremacists were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville to blame what he called the alt-left, reviving his inexplicable compulsion to pander to the far right fringe of his base for reasons that remain unclear unless our president is in fact a racist. Anthony McAleer, Board Chair and Co-Founder of Life After Hate, a non-profit working to de-radicalize Neo-Nazi and white supremacist youth whose funding grant from the Department of Homeland Security was rescinded by Katherine Gorka, the wife of White House deputy Sebastian Gorka who vowed to shut down the DHS’s Countering Violent Extremism program and shift funds away from white supremacist domestic terrorism to target American Muslims, along with getting his wife a job. From a former member of WAR, the White Aryan Resistance, we  learn about the mainstreaming of white racism today away from tattooed skinheads to clean-cut people in suits such as Richard Spencer who look like our neighbors.

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