On the day that President Donald Trump was inaugurated, barely over a week ago, many Americans flocked to our nation’s capital to celebrate. And no small number showed up to protest. But there were also some more who mobbed in to destroy property, assault people and disrupt the orderly transfer of executive power.
The next day, of course, the Women’s March on Washington brought in many more to protest.
Those peacefully showing their support or opposition to the new president, whether we agree or disagree with their statements, signs or broader political agendas, are part of a proud American tradition of free speech, political agitation and persuasion — in short, the democratic process.
Those there to commit acts of violence were part of something else altogether.
Since it seems a waste of space, and might even be deemed “bourgeois” — heaven forbid — to attempt to reason with the street toughs and wannabe ruffians, let me address a different group of folks: those who countenance such behavior in one way or another.
Many innocent people were hit by rocks and pieces of concrete thrown by these violent thugs, often mistakenly referred to as “protesters.” Others were punched, including white nationalist Richard Spencer. Scads more were simply threatened, intimidated or blocked from freely going to Trump events — or simply to their jobs.
Numerous downtown businesses had their windows smashed out, including a Starbucks, in which video showed a customer hiding from the flying shards of glass and whatever violence might be coming next.
The most widely reported incident was the burning of a limousine, after its doors had been battered by bricks and rocks and baseball bats and crow bars, its windows smashed and its driver sent to the hospital bleeding from numerous lacerations. Spray-painted on the side of the limo was an “anarchist” symbol along with: “We the People.”
The violence made plenty of news, but I suspect did not convince a single American to change his or her mind in favor of their anti-civilization position — or to even consider their political philosophy (I use that term very loosely). In fact, it likely increased support for Trump.
For those whose beef with The Donald centers on his position on immigration, including rude statements about Mexicans and his now-abandoned call for religiously-based bans, it is worth noting whose limousine was torched. The vehicle belongs to Nationwide Chauffeured Services, a company owned by — you guessed it — a Muslim immigrant to America, named Muhammad Ashraf.
“It’s ironic to think that protesters are angry with President Trump for his proposed plan to harm and demonize immigrants and Muslims,” Siraj Hashmi reported at Red Alert Politics, “yet they personally have a hand in destroying the livelihood of a Muslim immigrant.”
It’s not clear whether the insurance carried by Nationwide Chauffeured Services covers “riot damage.” If not, the company is out $70,000 for the vehicle, as well as medical costs for the driver, Luis Villarroel. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Ashraf’s company cover any costs not picked up by his insurance (with any overage to be donated to charity).
One need not wonder whether Mr. Ashraf came to America in hopes of (a) being part of the economy, which is at least more free market than most, or (b) to be part of a mêlée manufactured by anarcho-communists.
“I really don’t think we need to take this [violent] route,” said Ashraf, who volunteered that he had not voted for Mr. Trump.
Still, some on social media and elsewhere seemed to think the limo serves as a fitting symbol of crony capitalism and the evil “one-percent.”
Talk about a stretch.
Seriously, high school students en route to their senior proms are as likely to use limousine services as are billionaires. We live in an affluent country. Which is good, not bad.
Why demonize success — financial or otherwise? If you have evidence a multimillionaire or billionaire obtained his or her wealth illegally or somehow unfairly, let’s see those specific facts and details. Otherwise, you might want to ask them for some career advice and then shut up and listen.
Others compared the violence, especially the property destruction, to the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Excuse me, but the Sons of Liberty did not randomly destroy property of folks disconnected from the crony capitalism of their day, which they were opposing. The tea tossed into the harbor belonged to cronies of the British Crown, including two sons of Royal Massachusetts Governor Hutchinson. It had been consigned to them by the East India Company, which had a government-enforced monopoly on importing tea into the colonies.
The action taken destroyed the very property of those gaining from the tyranny of British mercantilism and monopoly and a lack of representation. Innocent people were not harassed and injured simple because they supported a different candidate for public office.
Lastly, many applauded the sucker-punch thrown into the face of Richard Spencer, accused of being a neo-Nazi — which he denied on the spot. Opposing fascism and fascists does not entail adopting their tactics, nor blurring the distinctions between them and Americans favoring democracy and republicanism.
These blowhards seem more interested in the sort of political theater Germans were treated to during the Weimar Republic of the 1930s. For the record, that did not go well.
If we want a free and prosperous and peaceful America, we need more folks to grab a history book. And not a brick.