Yeah. White nationalists are holding another Unite the Right rally. Yep, this one is taking place in our nation’s capital. And yes, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is giving its participants three metro cars and a police escort to the rally, taking place on August 12. (Update: D.C.’s Metro will no longer be providing separate cars.)
If you’ve been fortunate enough to be living in a hole for the past year or so, Jason Kessler is back at it again. Last summer, he was the guy behind the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville that ended up resulting in three deaths, over 38 non-fatal injuries, and 11 arrests. The point of these rallies is to unite members of the far-right (or alt-right), neo-Nazis, Klansmen, militias, and neo-Confederates, toting guns and anti-semitic messages to protest, uh, the plight of the white race.
The Washington Post reported on Friday evening that the Metro was considering providing separate trains, a statement confirmed on Saturday by the local ABC7 news station.
Basically, the point is to keep the white nationalists separated from the rest of the world and the counter-protestors who are having none of this shit. It’s an effort to prevent the level of violence we saw at Charlottesville. This rally is being held as a protest to the “civil rights abuse in Charlottesville”, so there’s already a hell of a lot of tension and bad blood simmering here.
There’s a lot to unpack here. How are the Transit Authority actually going to regulate who’s getting on what car? What if the union representing train operators decide, hey, fuck this, we’re not giving them a ride? And, mainly, is this the kind of precedent we want to set? Are we just accepting that members of our country hold ideologies so violent that they need special protections to be able to express themselves?
We’re not going to find out until the day of the event. Local police have also opted out of releasing their strategy for ensuring the safety of both protestors and counter-protestors, as well as themselves.
We live in some confusing times, folks.
Update Sunday 12 p.m.: The Washington Post reports Metro is no longer considering running separate trains for those attending the rally:
Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans had previously said that running a separate train was among options being weighed by officials.
“Metro will not be providing a special train or special car for anyone next Sunday,” Evans said.
Word about the possibility of the service for rallygoers spread quickly Friday and Saturday, drawing condemnation from those who decried “special treatment” for white nationalist groups, which are focused on the goal of achieving a whites-only state or the separation of whites from other groups. Others thought the possible move to constitute a form of segregation.