America needs your help, right now. And we need all of your funny friends and colleagues who I did not name (I just chose the sixteen who make me laugh the most, and who also represent so many demographic groups hated by the Nazis) but don’t have room to include.
I have been reading about a number of places around the country where groups are applying for permits to have demonstrations similar in nature (to varying degrees) to the “Unite the Right Rally” in Charlottesville, VA last weekend. Some will be held this weekend. An old friend from my high school youth group days who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area had posted about one such permit request on Facebook. She was joining others who were asking friends to contact various public officials connected to the permitting process to urge them not to grant the permit.
Here is my response to her:
So when the Nazis marched in Skokie, Illinois in 1977, I lived in the area as a teenager. Skokie at the time had a huge Jewish population, including a lot of survivors. All of the youth movements joined the adult organizations in deliberating what to do in advance of the rally.I do believe that these feckless idiots (yes, I am judging) have every right to march and speak. The Boston Common or a Park in San Francisco or the public land in Mountain View, CA in view of the Google campus are theirs as much as they are ours. And these open spaces are not crowded theaters. No one is shouting fire.
I will skip the long story. We all eventually agreed with ACLU that in America, we have to let them march and speak. But in America, we don't need to listen. We went out of our way as a community to empty the streets, leaving a dozen idiots with a megaphone on display to a bunch of journalists. And a handful of Kahane followers from the JDL. (At least that's who showed up when they finally marched in Chicago the next year. They never marched in Skokie even though they won the right to do so.)
It was beautiful. I am not critical of those who went to Charlottesville to protest the hatred. I stand with them. And if that is the decision in New York or Boston, I will stand there as well.
But I do wonder how much coverage these anti-American idiots would have gotten if there was no one for them to fight.
Maybe the best move would be to have an anti-Hatred comedy festival across the bay from these mouth breathers. Let them play in the park by themselves while everyone with a brain and true love for America and all it stands for and promises, with the whole spectrum of skin tones, faiths, identities, political preferences and countries of ancestral origin represented comes to hear the funniest people in America tell jokes about the fools who "don't want to be replaced?" (And who wants their places anyway? I am sure they smell by now.)
We love the Constitution and the First Amendment. They give us our lives and meaning as Americans. And if one group can silence another in the public arena, then in the words of Sir Paul McCartney, we are “Back in the USSR.” So yes they get to hold their little rallies.
So Amy, Aziz, Chris, Dave, Eddie, Henry, Janeane, Jerry, Kevin, Louis, Margaret, Maz, Patton, Sarah, Tig and Wanda (and friends) – this is where you all come in. We need you more than ever. We need you to put on a Summer of Love and Laughter. Many of you have been tweeting your outrage (and making us laugh). Let’s take the show on the road!
Maybe in small groups you can set up in a public space ten miles away from wherever the Nazis, White Supremacists and their fellow idiots (let's not give them the cover of calling them the "Alt-Right") get their permits. Invite everybody who stands against them to come out for a few hours of laughter. Invite food truck owners to serve. Invite other artists to perform. And give the Nazis an empty space.
In his commentary about the Charlottesville events and why David Duke and the Nazis like Donald Trump, John Oliver suggested that Nazis were a lot like cats. If they like you, it is only because you are feeding them.
So come on comedians – Unite! Starve the Nazis for attention. And help us laugh at them.