Commentary: Just What Is a Unity Rally Anyway?

Someone sent me a copy of a news story done by ABC10 on the “unity rally.”  It juxtaposed Alan Hirsch, a Vanguard board member, who is handing out a variety of signs, against Bob Glynn and his wife.

The article reported, “The Glynns had come to the unity rally to show support for the local Jewish community in the wake of recent antisemitic remarks by an imam at a Davis mosque last month.”

However, “When the Glynns arrived at the rally, they saw the BLM banner and took offense. The Glynns said they feel the unity rally and signs of love don’t include them, as Trump supporters.”

“It’s only love if you’re on the left,” Sylvia Glynn said. “That’s how I’m feeling.”

There is a legitimate point that was brought up here, and I was thinking about it as I stood there covering the rally on Wednesday night.  This was really a “Unite the Left Rally” – in counterbalance to the “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville.

While there was a lengthy discussion on the Vanguard about the statues, I’m kind of surprised that some of the other comments didn’t draw far more attention.

For example, John Garamendi, the area’s congressional representative, said, “This is no place for that kind of bigotry.”

“Speak the words, Mr. President,” the congressman said.  “And if you can’t, then get the hell out of that office.”

It was another poignant moment for Mayor Robb Davis, who called us to task for having to receive “a wake-up call to the fact that hatred still exists.”

The mayor was able to own his white privilege and the fact that he could ignore hatred and inequality: “All of those things are the basis of a systemic racism that exists in this country and I had the privilege for many years just to ignore it.”  He said he’s lived a good life, “but all around me there are people who were experiencing a different reality and they still are.”

Powerful stuff.

Chancellor Gary May, in his first real appearance as UC Davis’ new chancellor, didn’t miss the chance to declare that “he is who you thought he was.”  He then said, “There were not many sides, there were only two – there was good and there was evil.”

This was not a rally that was to bridge the political divide.  Rather, this was the mainstream left in this community going on the attack.

It was interesting to see Mayor Davis, Congressman Garamendi, and Chancellor May speaking proudly under a banner of Black Lives Matter.

But what is clear is that this was not a rally for the Bob Glynns of the world.  This was an anti-Trump rally, even if it was not billed as such.  His comments on Charlottesville were condemned and ridiculed.

This was a left-critique of white supremacy.  There was even some sprinkling of far left and even radical.  While Mayor Davis acknowledged his white privilege and attacked its foundations by arguing for people of color, he said that “these things have never gone away” and we have simply traded one bad institution for a new one.  And in homage to Michelle Alexander’s radical critique of American society, the Davis Mayor stated, “We traded Jim Crow for mass incarceration.”

It is only because this critique has gained so much ground that we no longer recognize just how radical Michelle Alexander’s “New Jim Crow” critique of American society actually is.

Kate Mellon-Anibaba took it a step further when she argued that “the images of white men holding torches, spewing hate and physically hurting people… this is easy to denounce and separate ourselves from…”

But that is not enough, she argued.  It is not enough to be “the “‘good’ white people.”  She argued that “we have an obligation to do work here in this community and surrounding areas.”

And she spoke out on behalf of Mike Williams, “facing charges for defending others against neo-Nazis at the Sacramento capital last year,” she spoke out for Black Lives Matter, and she spoke out for the Picnic Day 5.

The irony is that this week on the Vanguard, a guest writer compared the hatred of the neo-Nazis and the KKK to that of Black Lives Matter.

She doubled-down on it, calling BLM a “hate organization” and saying “BLM advocates hate and violence against all police.”

Black Lives Matter, of course, offers a radical critique of American society, particularly policing, but as Natasha Minsker of the ACLU pointed out at the 2016 MLK Day event in Davis, the police have “been used as a tool of racial oppression in this country from the very beginning.

“Think about that, one of the first laws in our country gave the police the power to kill black people for resisting white oppression,” she said.

That notion has continued today in the New Jim Crow critique of the legal system.

“Today we have a system where the criminal justice system operates as a massive instrument of control for people of color, particularly for African Americans and Latinos,” Natasha Minsker said.

BLM offers a radical vision for sure, and they do so with a good deal of venom, but they also offer a very valid critique that the laws in this country are implicitly race-based and the police are the enforcement arm of the government’s supremacy over people of color.

Some of my more radical colleagues were upset that going after Charlottesville was an easy target.  They were unhappy that speaking under a Black Lives Matter banner, they failed to take on police brutality.  I think Kate Mellon-Anibaba’s point here is well-taken, but I think, at the same time, what you are seeing is a wider acceptance of the more radical critique of American society.

Where does that leave the Bob Glynns of the world?  Well, they live in a community that voted 85 percent last November against the president.  We live in a divided nation and this unity rally was clearly not meant to embrace red Americans from deep blue Davis.

Alan Hirsch told ABC News that “he wants to talk with people who see the world differently than he does.”  And that may be, but the purpose of the Unity Rally on Wednesday was not to talk to people who see the world differently from them – then again, it’s not like Bob and Sylvia Glynn wanted to hear from the other side of the world either.

That’s where we are in this country and the sooner we acknowledge that – and either accept it or try to change it – the better.

—David M. Greenwald reporting



Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$
USD
Sign up for

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

45 Comments

  1. John Hobbs

    “That’s where we are in this country”

    That’s where we’ve been at for a very long time. The blithe mainstream acceptance of toxic media hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck during W. Bush’s term was a clear signal to me. The nonsense public science debate that allowed superstitious preachers and witch doctors to chime in on climate change and human sexuality was a result of liberal indulgence of these medieval minds.

    BLM exists entirely due the indifference of the white majority to the continuing oppression of African-Americans and others of color. In Davis it is almost impossible to find a white man who believes blacks are harassed by police and equally difficult to find a black man who hasn’t experienced it.

    1. David Greenwald

      “BLM exists entirely due the indifference of the white majority to the continuing oppression of African-Americans and others of color. In Davis it is almost impossible to find a white man who believes blacks are harassed by police and equally difficult to find a black man who hasn’t experienced it.”

      Pretty much spot on. I would not say almost impossible, because there is a growing number of white people that get it. But there is a lack of understanding in the white community that their positive experience with police is not universally shared.

  2. aaahirsch8

    David.

    I must take exception to your deflating my approach to dealing with Trump Supporters.

     

    It’s easier to FIGHT for your ideals than live up to them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  3. John Hobbs

    “It’s easier to FIGHT for your ideals than live up to them.”

    One always hopes that reason will rule the day. People of good will should be able to find a meeting of the minds.

    At the same time one must not indulge the Trumpists eschewing of science and common courtesy best exemplified by their native misogynistic and racist expressions. With the exception of a couple of financial opportunists the unifying factor among Trump supporters is fear. Fear is a product of the primitive part of the brain. Considerable research indicates that in some individuals that part of the brain is so overdeveloped that the reasoning portion cannot express itself. Combine this with the fact that their leader is a collaborator with Putin and the oligarchs, I personally find very little to talk about when I encounter one of his followers.

  4. Keith O

    His comments on Charlottesville were condemned and ridiculed

    Please explain what comments Trump made on Charlottesville that should be condemned and ridiculed.

    Supply proof, video/audio of his actual words or an actual transcript.

    Links to left wing websites where no actual proof is given won’t suffice.

  5. Tia Will

    Ok Keith here you go :

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/us/politics/trump-press-conference-charlottesville.html?_r=0

    Since you probably consider the NYT a leftist publication, I urge you to listen to 45s own words where he places the blame equally on “both sides”. So he equates those gathering for prayer with those marching outside shouting hate slogans and “Heil Trump”. He equates people peacefully dispersing as ordered to a white supremacist who drives a car into the crowd. He equates people holding peace signs and those attempting to protect them with those who have come from out of town to intimidate and potential injure and kill them ( in their own words in video interviews).

    While it is true that marching with or verbally not denouncing blatant racism/fascism does not make you a racist or a fascist, it does mean that you are at the very least condoning and enabling such behavior. For the president of the country, whose job is to represent all Americans, this is unjustifiable and inexcusable.

    1. Keith O

      Not true, Trump specifically stated:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fs5CCE7vBI

      Watch the video, it’s Trump’s actual words.

      Here’s part of the actual transcript of the press conference:

      And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got — you had a lot of bad — you had a lot of bad people in the other group…

      http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-charlottesville-transcript-20170815-story.html

      So Tia, what is it exactly that he stated that needs to be condemned?

      I supplied actual audio/video and a transcript.

       

       

  6. Tia Will

    I agree that a “unity rally” does not mean unity with every philosophy or belief system. For me, it means unity with all of those who promote equality, peaceful resolution of conflicts and recognize that hatred and fear should not be dominant drivers in our society.  I know that some do not feel that BLM meets these criteria as a group. I would ask them to consider that our local chapter has engaged in only peaceful means to advance the cause of those whose rights they are defending. As always, I believe that we should focus on the actions of individuals rather than painting with a broad brush.

    1. Keith O

      Yes I watched it, I even supplied the complete transcript in my link of what he actually said at that press conference.

      He actually stated at that press conference that:

      And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got — you had a lot of bad — you had a lot of bad people in the other group…

      This refutes what the Trump haters are pushing.

       

        1. David Greenwald

          TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. (inaudible) themselves (inaudible) and you have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group — excuse me, excuse me — I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

        2. Keith O

          TRUMP:  I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

        3. David Greenwald

          I’ve provided far more evidence in support of my comment than you have.

          I supplied a quote for the heritage group and I’ve supplied a list of the speakers at the event itself.  If you maintain that there were good people who just happened to support the cause of the statue at an event with ten avowed racists speaking, I think you’ve got some explaining to do. Your defense doesn’t pass the smell test.

  7. Ron

    From article:  ” . . .facing charges for defending others against neo-Nazis at the Sacramento capital last year,” she spoke out for Black Lives Matter . . .”

    I recall seeing a video which followed (and simultaneously interviewed) a single apparent white supremacist on the grounds of our State capital last year.  My memory of it isn’t totally clear.  However, I recall that he was chased by “protestors”, and sought help from a line of police (who initially ignored him).  When the protestors finally physically attacked him RIGHT IN FRONT OF the police, the police finally stepped in to put a stop to it. (It didn’t appear that anyone was even arrested.)

    I don’t know why some folks apparently think it’s o.k. to physically attack those whose views they find abhorrent, and then BLAME the attack on them.  When did that become acceptable (let alone “truthful”)?

    1. Ron

      Figured that I better find the video:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFxs5DVU1Oc

      I agree, Keith. My entire point is that no one has a legal (or moral) “right” to physically attack someone because of their expressed views. And yet, there doesn’t seem to be much acknowledgement (or even honesty) regarding this basic fact.

      Ironically, engaging in this type of violence diminishes arguments, and creates a deeper wedge.

    2. John Hobbs

      ” I recall that he was chased by “protestors”, and sought help from a line of police (who initially ignored him). ”

      Funny how few people like NAZIs.

        1. Ron

          Thanks, Keith.

          You know, I was specifically wondering what John thinks of that video.  (Not looking for an argument with him – just wanted an honest opinion – if he thinks that was justified.)

          Actually, if he does think that’s justified, then I’d of course strongly disagree.

  8. Tia Will

    I don’t know why some folks apparently think it’s o.k. to physically attack those whose views they find abhorrent, and then BLAME the attack on them.  When did that become acceptable (let alone “truthful”)?”

    Who do you believe “thinks that it’s OK to physically attack ….” ?

    I don’t believe that I have ever seen that opinion expressed here on the Vanguard. I know that I have repeatedly and consistently stated that I disapprove of any non defensive violent act. And even though I have done that repeatedly, and know that some who continue to question me on this point know that I have done so since they have challenged me and then read my responses, I still get questioned about my “hypocrisy” on almost every thread of this type. It almost makes me wonder if some of you are so invested in your narrative about what others must think that you cannot incorporate a view that confounds your preconceived notion.

    But I guess I can understand in a way. It took a very dear friend almost 8 years to understand that I am not an atheist ( after many, many conversations) because he could not conceive that not adhering to any of the major religious origin stories did not equate to atheism. Sometimes it is very hard to let go of our preconceived notions even when we deeply care about the individual who does not fit our mold.

     

  9. Ron

    Tia:  “Who do you believe “thinks that it’s OK to physically attack ….” ?

    Not you, nor most of the people reading the Vanguard (I hope).

    There hasn’t been much focus on this type of thought, which certainly seems to exist (as shown in the video, itself).  I recall that even David suggested that the violence in Charlotte was initiated by the white supremacists.  I haven’t seen any evidence to support that statement, unless one believes that “abhorrent” views which are publically expressed (in and of themselves) are a justification for a violent response.

    (Until David can fix this for me, I cannot see your comments while logged in.)

    1. Ron

      Not to pick on David, since it seems that many others also fail to understand what freedom of speech means (and freedom from violence, for exercising free speech).  Here is David’s statement, from a few days ago.  (I’ve bolded/emphasized the applicable text.)

      From article:  “His comment made no mention that the violence in Charlottesville was in fact initiated by people who are seen as white supremacists, as they brandish not only Confederate flags but also anti-Semitic placards – and, yes, a few Trump campaign signs.”

      Here’s where I first took “issue” with that statement.  (Note the use of the words “as they brandish . . .”)

      This line of thought is not that far away from the results of the video I posted, above. No doubt, those folks feel that they were “justified” in attacking someone, as well.

      http://www.davisvanguard.org/2017/08/sunday-commentary-charlottesville-becomes-ground-zero-new-civil-war/#comment-364853

       

       

  10. Eric Gelber

    There’s video evidence that the leftist counter-protesters (ANTIFA?) initiated the violence.

    Unless you have video of the entire day’s activities, the most you can conclude from whatever video you are referring to is that counter-protesters may have initiated this instance of violence. What you don’t have is video evidence of counter-protestors committing an act of murder, as you do with the white supremacists.

    I do not condone violence on either side; however that does not mean there is a moral equivalency, as Trump has intimated in his comments on Charlottesville. Those provoking or committing violent acts in the name of white supremacy and Nazi ideology cannot be compared to those committing violent acts in opposition. In a societal, not a religious sense, this is good vs. evil; it is a just cause versus a hateful cause.

    And those who march alongside white supremacists and Nazis may not adhere to those ideologies themselves. But it is disturbing that Trump would characterize them as nice, or good people. They are sympathizers, supporters, or, at a minimum, tolerators of the intolerable. There’s nothing nice or good about that.

    1. Ron

      Eric:  Those provoking or committing violent acts in the name of white supremacy and Nazi ideology cannot be compared to those committing violent acts in opposition.

      Why not?  (Honest question.)  If someone (or an entire group) believes that the opposing side is “evil”, that makes the resulting choice to initiate violence somewhat more “acceptable”?

      What a dangerous thought. Seems to me that such justifications are often used by various individuals and groups, around the world.

      1. Eric Gelber

        I’m not saying I support either or suggesting there shouldn’t be consequences in both instances if laws are broken. But violence in the name of a hateful ideology (Nazism, white supremacy) is not the moral equivalent of or as defensible as violence in opposition. Blame should not be equally attributed to “many sides.”

        1. Ron

          Thanks, Eric.

          I can see the logic/point of view regarding the (lack of) “moral” equivalency, but it seems like a slippery slope.  And, crosses over into issues of “free speech” (and freedom from violence, for engaging in free speech).

          Even if (and perhaps particularly when) the speech is offensive to most people. The ACLU has been involved in this issue, over the years. That always impressed me, since I suspect that many of those folks would simultaneously find the message abhorrent.

  11. Noreen Mazelis

    “It was interesting to see Mayor Davis, Congressman Garamendi, and Chancellor May speaking proudly under a banner of Black Lives Matter.”

    Davis and Garamendi would support anything that they thought would garner votes or get them a photo-op; they’re just taking a page out of Hillary’s playbook. (Remember her “Mothers of the Movement” moment?) UCD Chancellor May’s ease with the “Black Lies Matter” banner does not bode well for the UCD campus, where alt-left and other thugs have ruled for several years. (Too bad, as we were hoping for something better — even a little better — than Katehi. Guess that’s wishful thinking vis a vis the UC system.)

     

  12. Noreen Mazelis

    Robb Davis is NEVER (ever?) going to run for office again? Let’s wait and see. (I hope not, as he has provided no leadership, except in p/c-ship while mayor of our fair city.)

      1. Ron

        Robb:  Some of the (development) decisions you (and the other council members) are making will have an impact on the city which extends well beyond our lifetimes – not just the next 10 months.  (Just commenting on the timeframe – nothing else, here.)  🙂

        Beyond that, I’m not sure what “failings” Noreen is referring to.  (Regardless, I hope you don’t take any criticisms personally.) I view a lot of your (other) actions as an attempt to foster harmony, which is appreciated.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for