Who is the more effective commander: the one that says we must fight evil or the one that says we must fight this evil and rallies his troops in a strategic way to do so? Specificity solves problems and neutralizes threats, vagueness simply repeats the obvious. Without explicitly stating the enemy you are facing any plans to defeat it are useless.
This is why we must, in the most severe terms, condemn President Trump’s unwillingness to immediately condemn the white nationalist, neo-Nazi movement in Charlotte. Rather than condemning “hate on all sides,” Trump should have immediately and unequivocally branded the hateful rally and its orchestrators for what they are. A reluctance to do so communicates nothing less than the President’s unwillingness to do something about the root of the problem.
As Jews and Zionists we are quite familiar with people’s reluctance to name and fight evil. We deal with it on an all too frequent basis. Radical Islam wreaks havoc on our communities across the world but little is done to address it because, due to people’s unwillingness to label it what it is, it hides under the vague umbrella of atrocities. Just as we expect world leaders to stand up and say “we recognize and will fight Islamic terror,” we must demand that Donald Trump loudly proclaim he will not tolerate neo-Nazis and White Supremacists.
Naming the enemy furthers the fight against it by doing several things. Firstly, by specifying what we are fighting we narrow our focus so we can more effectively battle what is causing the current problem. It is difficult to fight all encompassing “evil” or “violence.” It is more strategic and manageable to fight Islamic Terror or White Supremacists. Secondly, it rallies appropriate resources and people who are compelled and able to deal with that problem specifically. Naming the threat gets the right people mobilized and on the ground rather than everyone meekly saying they don’t like violence. Lastly, it proclaims to the world that we as a people will not stand for this evil. It makes our stance and efforts clear while inspiring others to do the same. It rallies people together against a particular, hateful enemy.
Saying you are against evil is just useless virtue signaling. It has zero affect and just serves to make yourself feel better. It lets people know you have the “right” feelings for the particular moment. Oh you’re against evil? So is everyone and their mothers. Problems cannot be solved unless we know specifically what they are. For Donald Trump, or any world leader, to say they condemn the latest incident of terrorism or violence is like saying nothing at all. That is because it goes without saying. If you want to actually do something, discuss the exact movement or group that is causing the violence.
Threats cannot be assessed, fought, and neutralized unless we are willing to label and address them in frank terms. We are very aware there is a threat to our community and our way of life. However, just getting on social media or television to say you condemn violence does nothing to make sure it won’t happen again. We must have the common sense and the courage to brand specific evils for what they are so we can rally our forces against them.
There are monsters out there in the shadows threatening our safety and way of life. Saying you condemn the act of monsters everywhere does nothing. Calling it by name brings it into the light so that people can fight it. When a monster strikes, say its name so we can fight it together.