In commenting after the final vote putting Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that they – presumably the Republicans – do not respond to “mob rule.” Of course, he was referring to all those folks screaming and yelling in front of the Supreme Court Building, in the halls of Congress and those in the gallery attempting to disrupt the vote.
Hawaii’s Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono defended the crowds as examples of legitimate “activism” that is an important part of our constitutional democracy. When asked if assaulting political figures on the streets was wrong, Hirono missed a unifying opportunity by suggesting it was just the result of the current political atmosphere – after all, people are angry.
Her defense of the left’s actions on the streets is understandable when you consider that she has established herself as one of them. Assemble more than 20 left-wing activists in proximity of a camera and you can count on Hirono to show up. In a recent tweet, she wrote: “Proud to stand with activists in the Capitol and across the country …”
If Hirono cannot find a crowd to join, she will form one. You need only recall how she assembled a bunch of Christine Blasey Ford’s fellow – oops – lady high school alumni to announce that they believe Ford. This was a peaceful protest and well within Hirono’s and the ladies’ rights. It was, however, a cheap political trick.
None of these women were witnesses, corroborators or even contemporaries of Ford. They were a bunch of mostly Democrat women who were participating in a political stunt that had nothing to add to the substance of the Kavanaugh debate. They had no basis for their opinions other than the desire to stop Kavanagh’s confirmation. They had their voices heard and were summarily ignored, as they deserved.
The Daily Beast’s D.C. bureau chief Jackie Kucinich, appearing on CNN’s Inside Politics, said that the difference between a mob and protestors is merely perspective. She referenced how Democrats referred to the Tea Party folks as a mob. That may have happened, but certainly not very often. I mostly heard Democrats refer to them as “right wing extremists, racists, sexists, misogynists, xenophobes, homophobes, gun nuts, white supremacists and, of course, a basket of deplorables.” Against that litany of pejoratives, calling them a “mob” would have been downright complimentary.
Hirono, Kucinich and even McConnell might benefit from a rational dialogue on the difference between a mob and protesters – and there is a BIG difference. Conservatives, like me, will not take second place to anyone in terms of defending our rights of free speech or “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.” The operative word is “peaceably.”
Upon that one word written into our Constitution is the difference between the conservative view and the liberal view. Conservatives tend to believe in peaceful protests, while those on the left believe in some unprovided right to break the law – and even violate the constitutional rights of others. This is not an abstract opinion, but an empirically provable fact. One measure would be to count the number of people arrested during left-wing protests and conservative demonstrations.
However, before concluding this analysis, we must eliminate the violent extremists on the tips of the philosophic continuum. I am referring to such groups as the neo-Nazis and Antifa. These elements, which promote and engage in clearly illegal activities – and see violence as a legitimate tool of protest — are to be condemned by all good Americans.
Unfortunately, rare condemnations are too often one-sided and based on narrow partisan political perspectives. The white supremacists on the right and the authoritarians on the left are the ever-present evil viruses that universally infect politics. Their commonality is that, in pursuit of their malignant agenda, they would eradicate virtually every personal right articulated in the Constitution.
But even in the more traditional expressions of public dissent, there is a difference between the left and the right. In most cases, conservative demonstrations are legal and peaceful. This is true for those women who come to Washington each year to oppose abortion. It was true of all those Tea Party demonstrations around the nation. Unfortunately, these do not garner the same level of news coverage because they do not create disruption or result in violence – and they are contrary to the general biases of the left-wing media.
The left, because they carry the authoritarian gene, believe that neither the Constitution nor the legitimate laws of the land should stand in their way. They seek to rule over the people, not govern with the consent of the people.
Martin Luther King was correct in standing up against laws that, themselves, violated the constitution – laws that deprived classes of people their inalienable rights. Yes, he supported people taking any seat at a lunch counter, moving to the front of the bus, going to the school of their choice or exercising their right to vote. In breaking these laws, King was supporting the greater authority – the Constitution.
But even then, King judiciously adhered to peaceful protest. He did not send thugs in to smash up the diners, burn the buses, vandalize the schools or attack the registrars and police. Like Mahatma
Gandhi, King understood the power of exposing injustice – not competing with it. That is a lesson that has been lost on the new left.
The basic difference between a mob and a protest is legality. When a protest becomes disruptive or violent, it transmutes into mob action. While violent demonstrations are rare on the right, they are very common on the left. Part of the reason is that we have become too tolerant of illegal demonstrations. Police are often ordered to “stand down” as the mob blocks highways, interferes with commerce, trespasses on private property, loots stores and, in the extreme, burns, vandalizes and kills.
In response to the Kavanaugh vote, you witnessed the two characteristics of left-wing protest. Most of the assembled were exercising their constitutional right – and we should always celebrate that whether we agree with the cause or not. But … there were some who opposed Kavanaugh that took to mob action. It resulted in more than one hundred being arrested. Unfortunately, these symbolic arrests have become a badge of honor because the mobsters know they will not suffer the legal consequences they deserve.
The vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation was interrupted several times by a strategic series of outbursts from the gallery. These were not peaceful protestors. They were seeking to illegally disrupt the proceedings. They were an organized mob.
When Hirono excuses the mob action as just activism on the part of angry people not getting their way, it should have no more credibility than excusing bank robbery because the person wants money. The first amendment does not give us the right to break the law – and we should stop being overly tolerant when protestors do.
It would take a symposium of political scientists, sociologists and psychologists to explain why the left believes that they have some sort of entitlement to disrupt, pillage, burn and injure whenever they are not happy with an election, a piece of legislation, a political appointment or even a speaker exercising his or her right of free speech. They are the modern-day Philistines.