“Tens” of neo-Nazis tried to rally in Chattanooga yesterday, but they were drowned out by the jeers, laughter, and heckling of hundreds of counterprotestors:
At times, the scene was farcical.
A woman in white make-up and a polka-dot dress held a sign reading, “Who is the real clown here?”
Another woman in clown gear played the accordion and danced on the sidewalk, pointing and laughing at the Nazi group.
“Your kids are going to be listening to hip hop and Ricky Martin tonight,” said one man heckling the small group of neo-Nazis on the courthouse plaza.
Knoxville attorney Chris Irwin held a sign that read, “Follow your leader.” It was stenciled with a photo of Adolf Hitler shooting himself in the head.
“My gosh, I would be embarrassed to have that number at a spaghetti dinner benefit,” he hollered at the group as they emerged. “That’s so sad. … You’re looking sad, master race.”
He and others hit a nerve. The neo-Nazis yelled back at the protesters, calling them homosexuals.
“We have followers everywhere we go,” responded one neo-Nazi.
Oh yes, no doubt. I guess they just couldn’t be pried out of their Barcaloungers on a Saturday afternoon. The counterprotest was peaceful, though at times tense, according to reports:
Officers begged the protesters: Don’t get violent. Don’t lose control.
“That’s what they want,” said one officer.
The Detroit-based National Socialist Movement, which brought about two dozen people to the courthouse lawn — compared with several hundred protesters across the street — is notorious for inciting violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that it is the largest neo-Nazi group in the country and is known for its violent anti-Semitic rhetoric and racist viewpoints.
I am encouraged at the knowledge that the largest neo-Nazi organization in the country could only muster a couple dozen people. As bad as you think things are these days — and the appalling comments of people like Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy illustrate that racism and bigotry are alive and well across a wide swath of American culture, SCOTUS be damned — this at least shows us that the voices against hate can be louder.