Perhaps the most distressing thing about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia is how such developments no longer seem all that surprising.
The parallels people draw with the 1930s have become boring and ignore the different nuances of then and now. Yet, for all the years of social progress, it seems that the face of evil always lurks behind the surface waiting for the mask to slip…and bit by bit that mask is slipping.
Tempting as it would be to write it off as an American problem, we have seen the rise of the Far Right in elections across Europe. To take joy in their failure to claim the top posts in France, Austria and the Netherlands is to ignore how close the extremists came to victory. In the UK, the wave of xenophobic behaviour in the wake of the EU Referendum leaves us no room for smugness.
I spent the last two weeks of last year’s Presidential Election fighting Trump in Virginia, and we managed to hold him off in the state. The Virginians are good people and they’ll recover from the current infestation, but for the rest of us the message is clear: those of us who value the last 70 years of social progress must be ready to fight off the Fascists once more.