As a nation and a civilized people, it seems we’re going backwards, not forwards. In 2008, Barack Obama swept into power, along with a newly-energized Democratic Party fresh from 8 years of attacking President George W. Bush and six years of bloody wars.
We knew Obama was questionable on issues of hate, racism and violence, as he faithfully attended black supremacist, anti-Semitic pastor Jeremiah Wright’s church. We knew Obama was schooled in Saul Alinsky tactics of community organizing. We knew he won both of his previous elections (before president) by knocking out his competition to run essentially unopposed. He had no voting record in the Senate to speak of–he only served a single partial term.
Obama turned out to be everything conservatives feared. He involved himself in race relations at every opportunity, always speaking about unity, but always fomenting division in his slanted views. I fervently believe that Obama’s eight years produced more police anxiety, brutality, and paranoia than there existed at any time since the early 1970s directed toward African Americans.
Now we have another political cypher in the White House, who came from a different path, without the Harvard Law pedigree, but with billions in the bank and unmatched name recognition. I believe President Trump doesn’t have a racially biased bone in his body, but he has a soft spot for police–law & order.
The left reacted by manufacturing every possible hate crime instigated by Donald Trump’s win. At the same time, they themselves resorted to violence when it served their purposes. From Arizona to Berkeley, they’ve used violence as a method to exercise a heckler’s veto over free speech, and to get camera time on the news.
Even in Washington, D.C., I witnessed camera crews setting up while “demonstrators” milled about shouting curses at inauguration guests. When the crews were ready, they started breaking windows and torching limousines.
The media has been no better at combatting this, since an enormous majority of them sympathize with the left’s causes. They’ve dutifully printed or broadcast every accusation of racism, Islamophobia and violence against LGBT individuals. Most of those accusations have turned out to be false, or even completely staged. Retractions always happened many pages back, if at all.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t genuine white racists, anti-Semites and violent homophobes out there. They certainly exist. But they’re not mainstream–or at least they shouldn’t be.
The toxic witches-brew we’ve seen has inevitably led to real political violence on a devastating scale: A man with a rifle shooting at Republican Members of Congress and their staffs on a baseball field. Now we’ve got actors talking about assassination (par for the stupid course) and Democratic officials saying they’re “glad Scalise was shot.”
My God. Are we barbarians?
There is only one answer. It’s one I don’t consider lightly because I believe free speech is precious. I don’t agree with college campuses shutting out speakers because they don’t agree with their viewpoint. I don’t agree with limiting opinion in the workplace. But there is no room for inciting political violence in a civilized nation, in the media, and in government.
Purge them all. Anyone who has ever condoned, incited, or agreed with violent means to promote a political aim should be removed from any government, political party, or media job–if they don’t recant publicly.
Yes, I know this rings very similar to the antics of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. It rings a lot like McCarthyism. But some guardrails are necessary to keep a civil society from breaking down into Lord of the Flies.
(As an aside, the HUAC was chaired by a Texas Democrat, Martin Dies, and sponsored in 1934 by New York Democrat Samuel Dickstein. Sen. Joe McCarthy’s anti-communism was related, but not directly tied to, the HUAC. Red-baiting was in fact a bipartisan tradition in the Cold War.)
I’m not calling for witch hunts. In age of the Internet, witch hunts aren’t required, as most statements are archived forever in digital form. If, and to the degree they exist, they should be repudiated by those who made them, or those individuals should face political humiliation, reduced employment options, and general criticism by a culture preferring to live in some form of peaceful society.
CNN did this with Reza Aslan for simply calling the president a “piece of s**t,” something he had done consistently since well before the election. Granted, that’s a nasty term to use for the POTUS, but it’s at least free speech, and far less than calls for “resistance” that can easily be interpreted as “insurrection.”
Phil Montag, the Nebraska Democrat who cheered Rep. Steve Scalise’s shooting, was fired by the state’s Democratic Party, where he was a technology chair. But others in the media and in political jobs have continued on, without bothering to edit themselves or express remorse in any way.
Television and newspaper editors continue to publish salacious pieces and loaded headlines only to “modify” them later. And the White House laughs and eggs them on. We can’t do much about Trump’s White House. If he wants to pour gasoline on the fire, it will just burn hotter–Obama did this for eight years without a single main stream media outlet calling him on it (with the possible exception of solidarity when he tried to remove Fox News from the White House).
But we should not let this trend continue. The heckler’s veto has to end, and become civilized society’s veto. We have that right, to veto individuals who, by their position, actions and speech, would make our nation more prone to violence and barbarism.
If we don’t take this into our hands through peaceful, civilized means using the power at our disposal, then it will be taken out of our hands through violent means.
This post is also published on The New Americana.