Over the weekend the city of Charlottesville in Virginia, USA was plunged into a state of emergency thanks to a bunch far-right fanatics who dubbed their march 'Unite The Right'. The march which was organised by white nationalist movements was in response to plans to remove a statue of a US Civil War general, Robert E Lee who is widely reported to have been pro-slavery. The protests were met by a police presence and counter demonstrators.
There was a number of violent clashes with police launching tear gas and making a number of arrests, meanwhile, a vehicle was driven into a crowd of counter protesters. It was not immediately clear how many people had been injured. The far-right protesters arrived waving Confederate and even Nazi flags with some even brandishing shields, helmets and guns like pound shop soldiers.
From a UK perspective, the scenes of the characters dressed up in military gear with big guns were particularly frightening, partly because if you walked the streets waving a gun on UK soil you'd be in a cell before you knew it. We've experienced minimal efforts at right wing marches from the likes of the EDL and Britain First in recent years but often, especially in Liverpool, they're run out of town or into a dingy, back street pub by counter-demonstrators pretty swiftly.
This isn't a new phenomenon, America knows it and Britain knows it. Donald Trump eventually appeared on twitter stating " We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let's come together as one!" and later added "Charlottesville sad!" which was interesting given that the vast majority of the 'Unite The Right' protesters are Trump lovers.
Since entering the race to become the next President, Trump has not held back and much of it's been very much pandering to the kind of people found at the 'Unite The Right' rally. In fact, in the run up to the election, a leader of the Virginia KKK spoke in support of Trump claiming "The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in" and for good measure here are 13 Examples Of Donald Trump Being Racist.
You would have to be pretty out of the political or current affairs loop to miss how Donald Trump has incubated hatred and the alt-right since he began his campaign to become president. His taking of office has been a huge blow to progress, freedom and tolerance which has been felt across the world. It's given figures across the right a new found confidence which has encouraged a rise in the alt-right and their activities. We saw similar effects following the EU referendum which saw reported hate crime soar by 23% in contrast to previous years which had seen hate crime drop as much as 17%.
The problem is the alt-right is not keen to debate and reason, they hate political correctness, love Trump and probably won't read evidence based arguments against the things they believe in. I feel the only way we can fight this kind of hatred is by shaming those who do it, make those who parade Nazi flags and racist slogans around our streets feel ashamed of their vile views and make sure they know it is not socially acceptable to be racist or homophobic. We need to stamp out hatred peacefully and do it quickly before it catches.