Liberal Violence vs Conservative Protests:  A Moral Equivalence?

Liberal Violence vs Conservative Protests: A Moral Equivalence?

For the last several years I have watched in utter disgust as a steady stream of liberal groups have acted out violently in cities across our nation.  Whether it was the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, or most recently the anti-Trump “protesters,” there is a common thread to all these anarchist-type leftists.  While some of their grievances may have merit, what might begin as organized protests soon turns to threats, rioting, vandalizing, destruction, and assaults.  Common to many of these violent events are clashes with police, tear gas, arrests, and injuries.  Sadly, some of these criminal leftists have even killed those we entrust our safety to — our men and women in blue.

The media is quick to cover for these radical extremists, often comparing them to protests by the tea party movement on the right, as if there is some moral equivalence.  But this comparison could not be more distorted, and intentionally fraudulent, by a media that is hell-bent on uplifting the radical leftist groups and marginalizing and misrepresenting peaceful conservative protests.

I founded the Chattanooga Tea Party in early 2009, and was present at the inception of the modern tea party movement.  I’ve been engaged in this worthy and impactful conservative movement every step of the way.  Our group in Chattanooga, just one of thousands across our nation, began as a protest rally on April 15, 2009 with patriotic songs, prayers, inspiring speakers, and more than 2,500 local citizens.  The family-friendly protest was peaceful and consisted of mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, professionals, blue-collar, white, black, hispanic, elected officials, clergy and more.  As was the case in all of our rallies, we consistently left the locations we rented, as clean or cleaner than when we arrived.  And not once did we have any clashes with authorities.  

In the fall of that same year, more than a million tea party members and conservative groups traveled to Washington DC to protest the policies of our government.  The protest was peaceful, patriotic, respectful and not one violent clash with authorities or citizens.  In 2013, I had the opportunity to speak at the Audit the IRS Rally on the grounds of our Capitol in Washington DC.  Many tens of thousands of tea party patriots attended and again there were no clashes, violence or destruction.  

Most of us who led in the founding of the tea party movement had never participated in a grassroots political effort, particularly one that was focused on expressing the frustration and anger that had been simmering for many years.  But while tea party members had little experience in leading protests, there was a common thread of love of country, respect for the law, and regard for our fellow citizens, even when we disagreed.  Furthermore, our strategy was to use the power of citizen lobbying, persuasion and ultimately the ballot box, to affect change; not intimidation, violence and rioting.  

To be clear, the tea party is not a perfect movement.  We have had our share of struggles and some of our members have not represented us well.  But those are the rare exceptions.  And even in those instances, they do not include rioting, violence or worse.

But not so with many of our fellow citizens on the left side of the aisle.  The record is one of consistent and regular rioting and violence over the last several years.  Here are just a few examples of their detestable criminal activity, but there are literally dozens and dozens:

Occupy Movement

Black Lives Matter

Trump-era Protestors

While certainly there are millions of Democrats and liberals who would never protest by picking up stones, bottles or even guns to vent their anger, the truth is there are millions who would and tens of thousands who have.  There is a quote that states,

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak.”  

There’s a deafening silence from many Democrats/liberals as the behavior of many in their party can only be characterized as criminal.  Most agree that our nation is deeply divided.  But there is no doubt that the continued silence of the left when their own engage in violent acts, will only worsen the deep divide.  So I call on my fellow Americans who may not identify with a conservative ideology, or even the unorthodox style of our new President, to reject the path of violence and anarchy.  Protest if you feel the need, but do so in a peaceful and respectful manner.  Convince your fellow Americans of the soundness of your views and values via your ideological arguments, not your violent acts.  Only then can we hope “to form a more perfect union.”

King Trump vs We the People

King Trump vs We the People

king-trump-vs-we-the-people

On November 8, 2016 Americans across our great land went to the polls to select their choice for President, and Donald Trump prevailed.  His brazen, unorthodox, “lay it all out there” style, attracted the votes of millions of frustrated, disenchanted and angry citizens, who felt their government had abandoned them and its “long train of abuses” were becoming insufferable.  

Since his election though, Trump has continued to express himself with little self-discipline, frequently on Twitter, where some of his most controversial statements are made.  More often than not, it would appear that Trump gives no thought to what proceeds from his mouth or is typed out on Twitter, ascribing to a “tweet first, think later” strategy.

trump-tweet-flagCase in point.  Just this week Trump fired off another one of his ill-advised tweets, where he suggested anyone burning an American flag should be faced with “loss of citizenship or year in jail.”  Folks from all across the political spectrum rejected his solution for flag burners, including many in his own party.

With that tweet though, Trump either revealed his contempt for existing law and the First Amendment (the SCOTUS has ruled twice that flag burning is protected under the Constitution), he exposed his utter ignorance, or he continued his flawed “tweet first, think later” routine.  Regardless, Trump once again set off a firestorm, and accomplished nothing but to deepen the extreme opposition of those on the left, while creating disharmony for those who voted for him.  This discord was expressed this week on my Facebook page, when I shared Trump’s tweet, along with these personal comments:

So for those of you who voted for Trump, what’s your take on this tweet from the President-elect? Do you agree with his view? And if not, does it cause you any concern?

My simple post set off a barrage of over 160 comments in less than 24 hours, with a mixture of strong support and extreme disagreement by those opining.  Consider that most of those commenting had voted for Trump.

What was clear though, in the discussion on this one tweet, as well as in many other instances where Trump has pushed the envelope with his nonsensical comments, is that too many of his supporters are willing to cover for, or brush aside, remarks and behavior that should be rebutted or rejected.  It’s as if some believe they have elected King Trump, their new sovereign ruler, who can do no wrong.

Note what Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had to say, when questioned about his vote affirming the First Amendment right protecting flag burning:  “If I were king, I would not allow people to go around burning the American flag.  However, we have a First Amendment which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged — and it is addressed in particular to speech critical of the government.  That was the main kind of speech that tyrants would seek to suppress.”

Our DNA

Most people, whether in America or in other less democratic nations, are attracted to strong leaders. Perhaps it’s because many individuals are followers.  Or maybe it’s because over the course of world history, civilization after civilization has been ruled by strong leaders, whether kings, monarchs, dictators, or tyrants.  Perhaps our DNA includes the predisposition for someone with great authority to rule over us, as we hope he will defeat injustice and elevate what is right.  Of course, there has never been a dearth of elite men and women over the ages who have been both willing and eager to step into the role of ruler, or king.

But, America is unique.  

Prior to our founding, world history was void of any great civilization whose ideology was based on the premise that “all men are created equal” and that its government would derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  But in our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the concept that “We the People” ruled and our government leaders were subservient to us, was injected into our nation’s DNA.  This new truth became the cornerstone of America, and differentiated us from all other peoples.

But 240 years later, our federal government, a behemoth that has no comparable in world history, has grown to a point where its tentacles have expanded into every area of our life.  Government “of the people, by the people and for the people” has become a distant and inconsequential idea.  And too many Americans have fallen for the errant idea that our President is our sovereign leader and ruler.  

So as Americans have shirked their solemn responsibility, that of being an engaged citizen, they have also distanced themselves from the significance of state and local rule.  This has led to an infection of the DNA of old, where many voters seek a sovereign national leader who can reverse all the wrongs and order all the rights.  The much condemned “pen and the phone” policy of Barack Obama by those who opposed him, is now being embraced by many of those same Americans, with their new King Trump.

But we must remember, there is no King Trump.  The truth is “We the People” are sovereign.  Donald Trump works for us.  And like any entrepreneur knows, employees are accountable to the business owner.  Our founding fathers had the wisdom to establish our unique Constitutional Republic, which places the responsibility of power in the hands of the citizens.  As such, it is both your responsibility and duty to keep your elected officials in check, including those who are strong willed, loud mouthed and twitter-addicted.

A Course of Action

Most companies have what is called a progressive disciplinary system, where an errant employee can receive verbal warnings, followed by written warnings, then suspension and ultimately termination if such employee is unwilling to reform his ways.  In our system of government a similar system exists, but we must avail ourselves of it.  

Our elected officials, in this case Donald Trump, should be treated as our employee.  He works for you and me. He reports to us.  So it’s incumbent for you and me to offer feedback to him and express our concerns openly to others.  Initially we may simply express those concerns verbally.  But if he continues in his errant ways, then we must escalate to written warnings, perhaps in the form of an email or a reply to an ill-advised tweet.  But ultimately, if Donald Trump, or any other elected official, rejects or ignores the counsel of those who employ him, then voters will have to decide whether to retain such an individual in his position.  

I pray Donald Trump will begin to act more Presidential, as he seeks to “drain the swamp” as most of his supporters are eager to see happen.  But should Trump renege on campaign promises, or continue to speak and act in a manner that is unsuited to the leader of the free world, then who knows but that four years from now, the man who made his TV fame on the hit series, The Apprentice, may end up hearing his own famous words from voters:

You’re fired.”  

I trust that will not be the case.  But we must never forget that it is not only the right of “We the People” but it is our duty.  

Mark

Proverbs 29:20 — “There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.