There is a phrase that I’m about sick of. It is ‘Yeah, but…”
My kids used it a lot as they were growing up, a response to virtually any parental request. Tell them that you needed the phone? “Yeah, but…” Remind them that you needed them to do ‘x’ or ‘y’ or ‘z’. “Yeah but…” Got in trouble at school? “Yeah, but…”
Their “yeah, but…” were nothing more than an attempt to try to muddy the water. Back in the days before cell phones, a parent had every right to ask a kid to get off the phone for a minute. After all, you were the one footing the bill. It was also not unreasonable to expect them to help out around the house, or to behave in school.
“Yeah, but…” gave them an opportunity to try to make your point disappear in to the great abyss of excuses and justifications. A wise parent would quickly respond, “There are no buts about it,” and fix them with a stern look that brooked no nonsense.
I see a disturbing trend. The phrase is being used repeatedly in our chaotic world of politics to divert attention from the real issues. We’ve sanctioned the Russians for meddling in our politics, but have yet to sanction the Americans who allowed them to do so. It’s a big deal, but still, people will look at you and say, “Yeah, but…e-mails, or Bengazi, or Obama”. Yeah, but…
Can we just focus?
White supremecists, Nazis, and the KKK marched in Charlottesville this month. Think about that. They openly marched in Charlottesville, and shouted out things like: ‘Blut and Bloden’ (blood and soil), a Nazi rally cry, and ‘Jews will not replace us’, telling ‘n***ers to go back to Africa’. They were violent and they beat people. A woman is dead. People were injured.
Is that okay?
Of course it is not okay. Any reasonable person hearing those chants would be shocked. And yet, there are people who will look square at you and say, “Yeah, but…”
And it begins…the complaints about the antifas, a catchy little name used to denigrate anyone who is outraged by Nazis, the KKK or white supremecists. It means anti-facists. Since facism is defined as a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc, and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism, well, I guess that makes me an antifa too.
Did some of the antifa behave badly? I’ve no doubt they did, but let’s be real…they were there confronting Nazis, KKK and white supremecists. (I will continue to repeat these words until everyone understands that.) Nazis, people. Shouting Nazi slogans, doing the Nazi salute. The KKK and white supremecists telling our fellow Americans to get out of the country, shouting, “You will not replace us!”
Those fellows were wearing body armor and they were armed. Make no mistake about it. The bad guys went there to raise a ruckus.
Christopher Cantwell bragged about his two AK-47s, his pistol and his knives. He packed them especially for the rally and said, plainly, “We are not a non-violent group.” The same swaggering bully bawled his eyes out in a later video about how scared he was because people were out to get him and there was a warrant for his arrest. A reminder that underneath it all most bullies are cowards.
But I digress.
Back to the ‘yeah but…’: there WERE some antifascists who behaved badly, and they are subject to the same laws that govern the behavior of the Nazis, the KKK, and the white surpremecists. (Are you sick of reading it yet, because I’m just about tired of typing it.)
My answer is simple: No buts about it. These folks reacted to Nazis and facists marching in their town square. A few of them did behave badly, but remember one thing: 70 years ago, America would have been cheering them on. They would have been heros.
We were united then. We were fighting Nazis and facism and we felt ourselves to be doing God’s work. Everyone saw the need to be fighting them, because if we didn’t, they’d be over here. It was the Allies job to fight them, by God, and millions of lives were lost in that effort.
70 years later, the Nazis and their friends are here. Right here in America, and they’re telling us they have the right to say whatever they want. Freedom of speech.
I’m going to offer up this: if you want to claim American freedoms, you need to act like Americans. I don’t want to hear your ‘yeah, but…’ You don’t get to choose the rights you want to claim and disregard the rest. You don’t get to scream “Freedom of Speech” at the same time that you are trying to intimidate other Americans or drive them out of the country.
70 years ago, we fought the Nazis and the Facists and with our Allies, we fought hard. Some fought to their deaths. And if you love your country’s history as much as you claim that you do, you’ll also know that we also won that war.
No buts about it.