The politics of ‘good people on both sides’

Nicholas Chan

Counterprotestors gather outside a rally of the alt-right, near the White House, on the first anniversary of the 'Unite the Right' rally, which resulted in a deadly clash between the two groups, in Washington, DC, USA, on August 12, 2018. – EPA pic, January 19, 2021.

IN American political discourse, the statement “there are good people on both sides” has turned into a pejorative.

It all began when out-going President Donald Trump was asked about his opinion of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Refusing to condemn the rally outright, he replied that he thought there were “very fine people on both sides”.

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