A baker’s dozen of white supremacists and their friends came to Washington DC this past weekend for the second ‘Unite the Right’ rally. The last time this crew got together, you’ll remember one woman died (Heather Heyer) and dozens were injured.
They were led last year by a relatively unknown figure in the area of American politics that we called the “alt-right.” His name is Jason Kessler. He’s average in height (if not a bit below) with an acne-scarred face and facial hair that just won’t grow in beyond a guy Fawkes-ian mask. Kessler lives at home with his parents, like many millennials, but unlike many born well after the Civil Rights Act, he has decided that America has gone too far from its roots… those roots, of course, being a white European immigrant-run nation.
Kessler has not had a good year and that’s good for America. The Unite the Right organizer who, in a just world would be held liable in a court of law for the death of Heather Heyer, somehow was able to get a permit for a second rally. Charlottesville, Virginia, thankfully didn’t make the same mistake a second time and denied his permit. The United States Park Police, on the other hand, for some reason accepted his application with open arms and decided to give the man who organized one of the worst run political rallies in American history a mulligan. In front of the White House.
I’ve been documenting political rallies in Washington DC since 2003 and I’ve never seen anything close to what happened in Lafayette Square. Hundreds of law enforcement officials from multiple agencies worked together to make sure that around a dozen or so ralliers had their safe space to spout hate-filled words towards immigrants, people of color and weirdly… law enforcement. New reports will tell you there were more UTR2 ralliers there – but for some reason, they are counting those that didn’t ditch and run the moment they saw the thousands of counter-protesters surrounding the park.
And there were thousands. They ranged from your standard card-carrying Democrat to your balaclava wearing black blocker and all were screaming at the lonely dozen or so that were brave enough to enter their safe space within the park. The space was surrounded by Secret Service, park police and hundreds of yards of metal fencing, in multiple layers and with large amounts of space between the layers. It was truly the safest place to be a white supremacist, or an ally of one, in America.
All that security and police giving him their all wasn’t enough for Jason Kessler. Once he took to his weirdly tiny platform in his permitted space he took to attacking law enforcement. He blamed them for all the attacks that the attendees committed.
“I think that it was criminal misconduct by the Charlottesville government, they shut down that event by allowing violence. They promised eight squadrons of police officers to keep the peace, they didn’t show up. They promised 200 cops in the back of the park and they didn’t show up. They promised cops at the front of the park, they didn’t show up. And in fact, when the violence started, they were allowing people to riot in the streets, point rifles at people in cars, attack cars and I think that that’s part of why people lost their lives last year.
I asked Kessler after he was done speaking and while he was desperately trying to get one of the other dozen attendees of his sad sequel to speak – “Jason, would the people who attacked DeAndre Harris represent your rally? Were those people there for it?”
Not surprisingly he didn’t answer the direct question, but like so many of the people on my Twitter feed, he started to talk of an edited and out of context video of DeAndre in the middle of a fight with another UTR marcher who was trying to attack a friend of his with a flagpole. DeAndre Harris was acquitted of charges in what Kessler declared was a “miscarriage of justice.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning Daily Progress of Charlottesville wrote, “General District Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. said Friday that it was clear Harris did not intend to harm the complainant.”
Not surprisingly the facts didn’t matter too much to Kessler, who wasn’t present when the attacks on Harris occurred (as this reporter was). He continued to spread the blame of the assault on Harris, which 4 people so far have been found guilty of, and on anyone but the man who was in that garage that afternoon. “DeAndre Harris was with a group of people who, look, these were black guys who were taken advantage of by racist liberals. Because these antifa, what they did was they came equipped with weapons like Mag lights and portable flamethrowers and they gave it to these black guys so that they would attack people.”
No one should see “#UTR2” as a decline of the racist right-wing, It should be portrayed just as the end of the public career of the charlatan, Jason Kessler. A man who even his father has seen through, as exposed in a recent livestream that occurred in Kesslers parents home, where he currently resides.