Beveridge’s column marred by inaccuracies

November 7, 2017

Reid Beveridge's Oct. 24 column calls for a response, for being both misleading and inaccurate. Here are the major points:

• Regarding violence this summer in Charlottesville, Va., between white supremacists, Beveridge wrote, "forgive us for referring to Nazis and white supremacists as 'the right' and anarchists as 'the left.'"

This is inaccurate. Dahlia Lithwick of Slate is from Charlottesville and spoke to many counter-protesters who are local members of the faith community. They are not in any way anarchists.

They were there to stand up against hate, as were many locals, who were not aligned with any particular group but who objected to their town being used as a setting to promote white supremacy.

Some counter-protesters were anarchists and anti-fascists. Their actions are described in Lithwick's article.

• Beveridge wrote, "Near riots occurred in both places, with one woman killed in Virginia."

This is technically accurate but willfully and unbelievably misleading. Beveridge would have us believe that a woman just happened to be an unfortunate but random victim - with neither side at fault.

No, she was run over - murdered - by a Nazi sympathizer.

• Beveridge wrote, "Say what you want about the white supremacists, et al. They at least complied with the spirit of the First Amendment. That was to peaceably assembly via a permit."

Really? That's what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they crafted the First Amendment? Torch-bearing marchers fostering hate? I bet they thought in terms of vigorous debate about policies and candidates.

And what about the man who murdered the young woman? Was he part of the peaceable assembly? Also, in Lithwick's article, clergy and activists give firsthand accounts of how they were physically assaulted by Nazis. Sure didn't sound peaceful.

Not that they didn't have a right to march. The First Amendment belongs to Nazis too. I just don't think we have to celebrate them.

And here again, Beveridge is inaccurate. The main group of counter-protesters, a Charlottesville-based group of clergy and activists called Solidarity Cville, did have a permit.

This was reported in various media outlets, and a copy of the permit can be found on the Washington Post website. (Though there's even a question of whether a permit is required.)

Beveridge's column mostly dealt with the kneeling of football players during the national anthem. Neither space nor reader interest allow a fuller discussion, but ask yourself: Would you force a Jehovah Witness with religious objections to stand for the anthem or pledge allegiance to the flag?

Do compulsory displays of patriotism make our country look strong? Or weak?

Don Flood

  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number for verification. Please keep letters to 650 words or fewer.  We reserve the right to edit for content and length.