A Few More Words About Political Violence in the Age of Trump

“Antifa” protester challenges Denver GOP at Denver Pride Parade.

The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning reports on an incident that local Republicans are super-eager to let you know about–some black-clad idiot who harassed Denver Republican marchers at yesterday’s Pride parade in Denver:

A masked protester accosted Denver Republicans preparing to take part in Sunday’s annual PrideFest Parade, yelling obscenities while attempting to remove a banner featuring a Donald Trump quotation from the county party’s parade entry, the party’s chairman told Colorado Politics…

“We had just started rolling with the parade and were handing out literature, when all of a sudden this young lady rolls up, all dressed in black and throws her face mask on and starts yelling,” Viano said, quoting a near-constant stream of obscenities, “as three others dressed just like her stood on the periphery. Then she grabbed our lit out of the vehicle, along with a black bag and a glass bottle of juice — she grabbed that and threw it on the ground, breaking the glass.”

Viano said bystanders helped retrieve the county party’s fliers, which reproduced the same Trump quotation depicted on the banners: “‘As president, I will do everything in my power to protect LGBTQ citizens from attacks from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.’ Donald Trump, July 21, 2016, at the RNC.”

The woman tried to rip one of the banners from the side of the car but was unsuccessful, he said.

Denver Republicans released a 12-second video of this young woman accosting them, in which she most certainly made a bloody ass of herself and may well have committed misdemeanor assault by trying to rip literature out of the hands of a GOP parade marcher. Apparently she found the irony of Republicans marching in the Pride parade to be too much, even though they’ve been doing so for years now as Republicans have tried to present a “kinder face” on the issues of LGBT rights and marriage equality.

As the pendulum of popular anger has swung against Republicans in recent months, there’s been a tremendous pushback against what they perceive to be “liberal intolerance” of Republicans and the GOP’s agenda. Last week’s attack on Republican members of Congress at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virgina, carried out by a petty criminal with a record of anti-Trump and anti-GOP social media postings, has given Republicans an opening to bemoan “liberal violence” and turn public sympathy back towards themselves.

But as the AP reports today, liberals have no intention of being cowed:

Liberal groups resistant to Republican policies say they have no plans to change their tactics or approach after a gunman apparently driven by his hatred of President Donald Trump opened fire at a GOP baseball practice, grievously injuring a House Republican leader and several others…

[O]nline and on talk radio, several conservatives questioned whether aggressive opposition to all things Trump had created a dangerous climate, and some faulted those on the left. Rush Limbaugh said the shooter represented the “deranged base of the Democratic Party” and Michael Savage tweeted in caps, “I warned America the Dems constant drumbeat of hatred would lead to violence.”

“…It’s a real small percentage of people” on the left who ever engage in violence, said Yong Jung-Cho of the group All of Us. “This is the challenge of large social movements — there’s a lot of people in them.”

And liberals note that Trump praised people at his rallies who assaulted protesters and invited singer Ted Nugent, who once said Obama should “suck on my machine gun,” to the White House. Murshed Zaheed, political director of the liberal group Credo, said it took Trump three days to tweet about a white supremacist who allegedly fatally stabbed two men in Portland, Oregon, who had tried to get him to stop harassing Muslim women on a train. In contrast, Sanders delivered his Senate speech within hours of the shootings; he said Hodgkinson apparently was a former campaign volunteer.

“It’s not really an even-handed situation where you can compare both sides,” Zaheed said. [Pols emphasis]

It was inevitable that the swing of popular discontent to the Republican Party following President Donald Trump’s election would lead to plaintive charges from the right that Democrats were escalating into political violence. With that said, there are enormous differences between the rhetoric Democrats have used to motivate supporters recently versus Republicans during the Obama presidency. Abortion is one useful comparison: when abortion opponents claim with no qualifiers that “abortion is murder,” they are making an allegation that has no parallel among leftists. The demand for justice for “unborn babies murdered by abortion providers” is not equivalent to stating that, for example, throwing people off Medicaid will result in preventable deaths.

And that reminds us, has any Democratic lawmaker praised last week’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise like Rep. JoAnn Windholz praised the Planned Parenthood shooter? It’s not like we relish pointing this stuff out, but there is really no comparison between the sides here. To suggest otherwise obliges us to revisit a vast body of unpleasant evidence.

There’s no question that both sides have employed strong, even sometimes excessive rhetoric in today’s divided political climate–but it’s simply wrong to claim that there is equivalency between the two sides. What Ted Nugent has said about President Obama eclipses anything that Michael Moore has ever said about President Bush or Trump. And when it comes to political violence, the right has innumerable Robert Dears and Dylann Roofs to acknowledge before asking the left to take ownership of last week’s violence in Alexandria.

Because it’s a two-way street, folks.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Paid entertainers like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have nothing to complain about since they've been inciting hatred of those not on the far right for decades.

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    I saw this on twitter, was waiting for a troll to bring it up as evidence of the essential evil of all liberals and Democrats.

    This young lady was way out of line. I understand her frustration at the Republicans trying to claim credit for nonexistent gay-friendly policies. But that didn't give her the right to grab their literature, or try to prevent Republicans from spreading literature at the Gay Pride march. I understand from the twittersphere that she may also have some mental health issues. But she put her own comrades in danger, could have derailed the cause she supposedly came out to support. 

    So far I'd have to say that I am not impressed with the "antifas". They seem to be heavily infiltrated with provocateurs, or perhaps just with people who lack good sense, restraint, and judgment. They come in with black masks, start cursing at cops, deliberately try to start fights. I expect that behavior from the right wing assholes – the "Proud Boys", 3%, Nazis and assorted other scum.

    I don't expect it from people supposedly on "our side". It's just irresponsible. We are not yet at the point when street fighting is our best option. We need to stay nonviolent unless  we have no other choice for survival. Right now, violent streetfighting is a luxury for kids whose families and friends have the resources to put up bail. It's a privilege for those with white skin and middle-class connections. For everyone else, the badass posturing is just a liability.

    Maybe it's an age thing. When I was that young, I wanted to and occasionally did go toe-to-toe with jerks, and it was a rush. In the left, I ran into all kinds of provocateurs in the antiwar, feminist, anti-racist, and union movements. Usually, we didn't figure out that they were provocateurs until months or years later, when the damage was done and they had ruined their "comrades' " lives. The big tipoffs should have been that someone advocating to go to the most extreme and illegal action right away, and calling cautioners out as "cowards" or "pussies", probably did not have the long term best interests of the group or cause in mind. Those of us that have been in "the resistance" for 40 years have a few things to teach the young ones.But will they listen?


  3. Right-wing flacks are bringing up the so-called liberal incitement (a) because it riles up their own base to hate liberals even more, and (b) in an attempt to gaslight some on the left to believe they should tone it down even as we see decades of bipartisan progress being flushed down the tubes in this culmination of know-nothing insanity.

  4. buford2 says:

    The left has taken abuse, and has been threatened by the right for many years…we have been the "non-violent" type of protesters all along…the right is provoking this with their violent rhetoric…I feel like they are assaulting me, both verbally and physically, every time they go on the teevee…they are encouraging this kind of behavior…I mean…the gop shot down a bill that would have made it harder for the insane to buy a gun…Irony?

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