Giving Peter Cvjetanovic The Benefit Of The Doubt
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Politics and Activism

Giving Peter Cvjetanovic The Benefit Of The Doubt

I wonder if Cvjetanovic would march to defend John Brown's statue.

Giving Peter Cvjetanovic The Benefit Of The Doubt

The point of a protest is to have your voice heard, but now that Peter’s voice (along with his face) have been plastered all over the internet, he seems to be retracting his voice a bit. In an article on Raw Story, he insists “I’m not the angry racist they see.” Let’s imagine that this is true. What is he then?

He travelled all the way from Reno to Charlottesville to “this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture,” and he continues “It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However I do believe that the replacement of the [Robert E. Lee] statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E Lee is a great example of that.” Where to start? Well, at least he’s committed, if he’s willing to travel that far.

Let’s start with Robert E. Lee, since Cvjetanovic himself believes he’s a “great example.” The Confederate General’s first battlefield experience was in the Mexican-American War, the United States’ first war on foreign soil, chiefly inspired by manifest destiny ideals. This is the second time in history that the early US acted like a big, greedy bully (the first time being the overall treatment of Native Americans), but it brought our country most of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and a bunch of gold. I actually think silver is prettier than gold, but California is nice, right?

Anyway, Lee’s next notable experience is putting down John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Brown and other abolitionists had captured the federal armory and arsenal, but were stopped by the local militia before they could disperse weapons to local slaves and other freedom fighters. Brown himself was captured by the US Marines (under Colonel Lee) and quickly sentenced to hang. I wonder if Cvjetanovic would march to defend John Brown’s statue.

Lee’s next move was to resign from the army and decline an offer from Abraham Lincoln to command federal troops. He stated that since Virginia had seceded, he would not fight against his own people. He then promptly joined the Confederate Army. I suppose he did not identify the entire country as his own people, but merely the South. It’s starting to seem like Cvjetanovic has an awfully small view of white heritage.

Now let’s pick out those good qualities in Lee. He fought, so he must have been brave. He climbed the ranks, earned a reputation as a strategist, and taught at West Point, so he was probably smart. (He also advised that the Confederate flag stop being flown and opposed Confederate memorials, but that's a whole other argument.) Since Cvjetanovic states that he is not a racist, then perhaps he identifies with those qualities? Imagine a smart, brave, non-racist finding themselves unwittingly supporting racist violence. What might such a person do? Well, they could leave, but if they lack self-confidence, that might make them worried about looking cowardly. They could try to talk people down with the hopes of getting a good chunk of the crowd to leave. That would be very brave. They could use their strategic brilliance to do something so smart I can’t even think of it. Then they might come out as a sort of hero. He could have also, you know, not gone. The protest began with a Unite the Right rally organized by neo-Nazi Richard Spencer. Sounds pretty racist to me.

So, to give Peter the benefit of the doubt, he is either deeply confused, cowardly, or both. He was brave enough to speak to the press after being identified so that he could clarify his own views, so he’s probably confused. And he doesn't seem to be the only one.

How can that confusion be cleared up? A chant of the rally was: “You will not replace us.” That fear seems to hold true with Cvjetanovic’s clarification. It seems pretty obvious to me that no one is being replaced. Last I checked, we’re not living in some sci-fi universe where white people go missing and suddenly come back POC (unless you count spray tans). I’ve never heard of anyone getting stopped in the street for wearing a kilt (and I do have a number of friends who wear them). I can cook pierogies and bratwurst without them suddenly transforming into lo mein or curry (although I might appreciate it if they did transform once in a while, because I am completely inept when it comes to Chinese and Thai cooking). If the real concern is the loss of European culture, why not sit down and eat a buffet of pizza, okrashka, bigos, and shepherd’s pie while listening to the Beatles and Russkaja?

The number one killer of European culture in the US is racists. It’s because of neo-Nazis that I feel compelled to thoroughly search the background of any white folk metal band I listen to before I decide that I like them. It’s because of white supremicists that images of Odin, Thor, runes, and sun crosses have been completely taken out of context. Heck, it’s because of racism that “states’ rights” is still a touchy phrase. My advice to Peter Cvjetanovic is that if he does not want to be called a racist, if he wants to be brave, if he wants to be proud of his European heritage, he can take all that commitment and support diversity. He can help create something beautiful for the next American generations to inherit. And, uh, he might also want to stop calling himself a white nationalist, since the term is, at the very least etymologically, racist.

P.S. Need I mention that there are people actually being oppressed out there who do get stopped for simply representing their culture?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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