Dear Editor: I am disturbed by Sen. Ron Johnson's reaction to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 11-12. After condemning "hate and violence" initially, he seemed determined to make everyone forget that the rally ever happened, that white men carrying Nazi flags, making Nazi salutes, and chanting Nazi slogans marched through an American city — and that a woman is dead because one of them thought he could get away with ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in broad daylight.

Even worse was Johnson's reaction to President Trump's appalling speech. He said he "doesn't think" Trump is a racist, but can't offer any reasons for that belief, and the most negative thing he has yet said about Trump's speech is that "it didn't move us closer. It certainly didn't put the issue behind us."

He has not spoken out against the racism of the rally or condemned the white nationalist principles of its organizers. 

Moreover, his call for "unity" is alarming. The root of the word fascism, and the concept at the movement's core, is the fasces, the bundle of sticks that is stronger together than any one stick would be by itself. Fascists are all about unity, and when Johnson calls for "unity" in the wake of a fascist attack, and when it is clear that by "unity" what he means is that non-whites and non-males need to sit down, shut up, and stop rocking the boat, I think a person is justified in wondering what Johnson thinks.

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Sarah Monette


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