I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) today as they discussed the Charlottesville protests and Trump’s tweets and statements. One of the guests was from Color of Change (I believe that was the group’s name), and he was asked if the left bore any responsibility for not speaking up against the violence by the left. He just about turned into a pretzel as he hemmed and hawed and danced around the question. Never admitted to any need to speak up. Yet only a few sentences later, he castigated Republicans for their failure to strongly denounce Trump and the white supremacists. My thought? “Wow, what a hypocrite”.
It seems as if the mainstream media (with a lot of help from other interested groups) is going great guns after Trump for his denounciation of violence “from all sides”, even though old Donald was exactly right in his initial response. It is absolutely proper to denounce violence from all sides.
In the last few years, many conservative commentators have castigated moderate Muslims for not denouncing the violence of radical Muslims. Liberals have castigated conservatives for not denouncing Trump and others. Now, it should be the turn of America to castigate liberals for not denouncing the violence of Antifa and others. Yet, so far, it’s…..crickets…..
This tendency to avoid criticizing extremists “on our side” is natural, to some degree, as I’m sure there is a general feeling of “well, yes, our side shouldn’t do that, but those other people against us are so horrible that they do even worse things”. With this kind of thinking, the end result is that violence goes unpunished and allowed, and naturally escalates. By our silence, we promote war amongst ourselves. The winners are the politicians and power brokers that exploit the turmoil for their own benefit. The losers….. are the rest of us, as possible solutions disappear into the fog of war.
There are significant problems in the US today regarding race, income inequality, criminal justice, government misdeeds, drug use, to name a few. Shouting at each other and throwing things, physical violence, and harassment only serve to inflame each side, with attention diverted from the problem to the battle. Very little gets done. We need to instead denounce the violence, and focus attention and efforts to focus on what we have in common, what we can agree on, and what we could together develop to address these issues.