President Trump was right to call out the extremists on both sides of the Charlottesville tragedy, but more needs to be said about those on the left who helped to bring it about.
The crazies on the right—the KKK, the Neo-Nazis and the White Supremacists—have been justly condemned by virtually everyone, save for their sick sympathizers. But we will not make progress if the role of the left is ignored. Their censorial agenda is wide-ranging.
It is the left that has led the fight to scrub the public square free of religious symbols. From banning Christmas songs in school events, to lawsuits against the display of nativity scenes and the Ten Commandments on public property, the left has been waging war on our Judeo-Christian heritage for decades.
The multicultural agenda, with its express animus against Western Civilization, is another expression of this pernicious uprooting of our past. Very much linked to this phenomenon are the speech codes on college campuses. It is not conservatives who are promoting gag rules, it is the left that wants to muzzle the free speech of those who defend
American traditions and our religious heritage.
Now the left has seized upon Southern historical persons and symbols to attack and destroy.
The media have done a superlative job in creating the impression that what happened in Charlottesville was purely the work of right-wing lunatics. That is why they are so angry with Trump—he unmasked them. More unmasking is in order.
Even normally astute commentators such as Charles Krauthammer took the media's bait. He put 100 percent of the blame on the far right, saying "the riots began over a Nazi riot." But it was not a neo-Nazi who put a cord over the neck of a 1924 statue of a confederate soldier, smashing it to the ground—it was members of the Workers World Party.
There was no mention of the Workers World Party at the Charlottesville event on ABC, CBS, NBC, or PBS. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and a few other newspapers cited its role. AP said nothing. That was it. It was close to a media blackout.
Even this account is too generous. Though the Washington Post reported on the Workers World Party, its front-page story on August 16 simply noted that "left-leaning protesters" were there. It did not refer to the Klan or the neo-Nazis as "leaning" right.
The Workers World Party is not "left-leaning": it is a Communist organization. Since being founded in 1959, it has taken up the cause of Mao Zedong, who killed 77 million Chinese people, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and the mass slaughter of innocents by Saddam Hussein. In America, it has supported the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground.
When not endorsing violence, the Workers World Party is busy attacking the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality. When Pope Francis was elected, he was cast as the pawn of capitalists. Israel is accused of promoting genocide against the Palestinians, and now the U.S. is charged with waging war on North Korea, a nation the Communists proudly defend. It also supports the left-wing dictatorship in Venezuela.
The media have said nothing about any of this. Nor will it report that the Workers World Party mapped out a violent agenda for Charlottesville several days before the Nazi rally. It also pledged to work with Black Lives Matter to "disrupt" it.
Instead of fairly reporting on the violent pedigree of both sides, the media rely on the notoriously unreliable Southern Poverty Law Center—it treats the Family Research Council as a hate group alongside the KKK—for source material.
The truth is that this left-wing organization does not track "hate groups," per se. The Southern Poverty Law Center explicitly limits its interest to "the American radical right." This explains why the Workers World Party is given a pass: it is too busy monitoring Tony Perkins.
If we are going to bring the country together, more needs to be done than to condemn all of these hate groups. We need to answer the president. He asked the right question. "Where does it stop? I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?"
Krauthammer has given us his answer. He would prefer to leave such statues up, but he will not object if they are taken down. He did not say just how far his "tolerance" might extend. All he said was that "if they become symbols and centers for racism and neo-Nazism and the KKK, then there's a case for bringing them down."
Krauthammer did not mention that those most responsible for associating Southern historical persons and symbols exclusively with racism—it is certainly not the Southern people—belong to violent, anti-American Communist entities such as the Workers World Party.
Censoring speech, religion, and traditions is the mark of a totalitarian society, not a democratic one. But as Tocqueville instructed, there are times when the passion for equality in democratic nations turns to "delirium," and when that appetite is abetted by administrative centralization, it inexorably leads to despotism.
That is the conversation we should be having.
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.