- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2018


The thought of white men marching on Washington carrying torches scares the Dixon out of some folks.

It’s an image that indeed is kind of scary when you consider the fact that blacks weren’t the only Americans lynched during and after the Reconstruction Era.

And with dueling protestations scheduled front and center this weekend in the nation’s capital, who knows what to expect?

The D.C. Unite Against Hate folks say their voices and actions will be the bookends to the “Unite the Right 2” rally, which is scheduled for Sunday.

Nobody is saying how many people are expected to show up between Friday and Monday. The best official estimates, or at least those given to the National Park Police, are 400 for the Unite the Righters and 1,000 for the Un-Haters.

Of course, the estimates are mere guesstimates on the part of the organizers. So the best advice at this juncture is, if you do not have to come into the city, stay away. Plop some rib eyes on the grill, slice some ‘matoes and cukes, and chill a watermelon. Oh, and shop online for kids’ (and yours) back-to-school goodies.

The city’s officials tried to assure everyone that public safety is their top priority for the drawn-out duel. In fact, they even officially declared D.C. a gun-free zone for the weekend — like that’s gonna make a difference.

Recall, this is a bitter rivalry taking place this weekend, the first anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia, mayhem that left a young woman dead as the result of a Unite the Righter driving like a mad man.

For their part, Virginia authorities objected to the Unite the Righters’ request for a rally permit, which the organizer Jason Keller eventually withdrew. Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency — and not because the wrath of Mother Nature is forecast.

No, you have to hop into a Way Back Machine for what’s on slate for this weekend, and while the capital is hardly Weehawken, New Jersey, the bitterness between the Unite the Righters and Un-Haters is no sweeter than the distaste in the mouth of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr — and you know who fell on the losing end of that duel.

Here again, though, D.C. officials went beyond the call with the disallowance of guns rule. Police Chief Peter Newsham also promised to a sort of separate-but-equal dividing line, fully cognizant of the fact that both groups of demonstrators are set to hit Lafayette Square, smack dab in front of the White House, where Donald Trump is the Public Enemy No. 1 of the Un-Haters.

At the same time, Metro authorities are crossing their fingers that the protesters will, at a minimum, get along as they ride the rails and buses.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, is likely sending up daily prayers.

Let’s hope so. If Hades rules over the four days of events, it will fall to the Justice Department to decipher what to happens to who if shots ring out and bodies fall on federal property.

The Trump administration is watching and surely will reconstruct the entire affair — even the events on what should be occurring during a peaceful Friday counterprotest by the Un-Haters.

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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