I vividly recall staying up past 1 AM on election night 2016, watching CNN, as it became clear that Donald Trump had been elected the next President of the United States. News anchor Dana Bash was beside herself at the outcome, and at one point, in a fit of honesty, she exclaimed, "This means the end of identity politics." Well, yes, but a deep ideology like identity politics does not die a quiet and sober death. Last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, we saw identity politics playing out–violently. Whether it was the white protesters who formed part of the original crowd, or the black and "antifa" protesters who formed part of the counter-demonstration, we witnessed a clash of identities.
President Trump was not wrong when he said that there were violent protesters on both sides of the clash, and that many of the protesters were not there to show their racism, but to protest the tearing down of a statue of a figure in American history who cannot be airbrushed out of our nation's story. Is the next step to burn down the campus of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, because it was co-named after Robert E. Lee after the Civil War?
Watching the tirades on MSNBC and other news outlets over the past 48 hours, I can't help but lament how twisted our public discourse has become. Clearly some of the counter-demonstrators were part of the very same "antifa" apparatus that got very different news coverage when they torched and trashed Seattle a number of years back in protest at a WTO meeting. This time around, they were defended by the icons of media, who denounced any thought that there was "moral equivalence" between their violence and the violence of the hardcore white racists who made up part of the protesters on UVA campus.
There is a difference between legitimate civil rights struggles, which at times led to violence, and the reverse racism that I see and hear far too often out of the Black Lives Matter people. And there is the matter of George Soros spending millions of dollars to help launch that movement after Ferguson. Soros Money Matters too. He is not a benign figure but a promoter of division and discord. I sat in a room when he complained bitterly, with racist overtones, during a meeting of the Drug Policy Foundation years ago, that there were not black voices promoting the legalization of crack cocaine, part of his libertine agenda. Is he a friend of the black community? I don't think so.
Identity politics is a disease. It divides people and makes them into the sum of their self-defined attributes. Far from bringing about the end of identity politics, the Trump election has hardened the fault lines, whether on Capitol Hill or on the streets of American cities.