Imagine a Tea Party rally that ended in violence, with wrenches being thrown at police officers and widespread vandalism. Actually, you don’t have to imagine. The liberal media and the social left do that for you. Recall their wild concern over Sarah Palin’s use of political “cross-hairs” despite the fact that such imagery has been commonplace in politics forever and no more inspires violence than any number of references to “targeted districts” by countless political consultants. Or reminisce about ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross finding out that someone who shared the name of the suspect in the Aurora Theater shooting was linked to the Tea Party and could therefore be the killer. Or think back to when a deranged man flew a plane into an IRS building in Texas and was initially thought to be proof of the dangerous mentality infecting the conservative movement until his suicide note was discovered and featured a line from the Communist Manifesto.
Yet despite these many disappointments, efforts to link the Tea Party and the conservative movement to violence continue. The closest to success so far appears to be the standoff at the Cliven Bundy ranch in Nevada, which is far from a “tea party” or unifying conservative event given that so many conservatives object to and have condemned behavior in the standoff, but it holds the most promise so far.
For violence at a liberal progressive rally, all you have to do is wait for May Day. Every May 1 we are treated to demonstrators outraged by Capitalism and willing to post video from their corporately produced smartphones on social media to prove it. They rail against Corporate America, Big Oil, Institutional Racism, Global Warming — basically a hodgepodge of left-wing causes. There will be several marches at which relentless chants calling for an end to the “oppression” that mysteriously allows them to say their piece for hours on end and delay traffic. There will be the banging of drums and cultural dances —perhaps even, god forbid, poetry. There will be a lot of “taking a stand” against the very corporations that make their coffee, clothes, smart phones, cars, and conveniences.
Their fury isn’t captive to logic. In the name of poverty, they will denounce as unjust the Capitalist system, the principles of which have led to an unprecedented decline in global poverty. In Oakland, California, NBC news reported one (not unusual) protester exclaiming, “I am sending a clear message that I don’t want the tech businesses here. I want them to leave because they are not giving back to the community.”
Let’s pretend that the local high-tech companies don’t do so much as spend a single dime sponsoring a local Little League team and that none of their employees gives a single charitable dollar. Would they still be a drain on the community? Or would they pay taxes, provide employment, and create wealth that allows for their employees to buy products made by other, more acceptable, and socially aware entrepreneurs?
Declarations like this protester’s are not uncommon in May Day protests, but it is the Tea Party crowd that’s suspected as being uneducated.
May Day marchers will delay traffic, bang on drums, chant their slogans, feature their interpretive dances, give their speeches… and then they will riot.
Of course, not all of them will. Sometimes it’s a core group that inflicts damage to unlucky vehicles and storefronts, then returns to the fold of the marching crowd so as to be hidden in their larger numbers. Sometimes they unify as a group, hurl insults at police hopeful of goading a reaction that can appear on YouTube to prove the wickedness of authorities. When that fails, they just start smashing things, as they did in Seattle over May Day. Wrenches, rocks, and garbage were thrown at police, sending two to the hospital.
Despite this predictable violence, despite the fact that small businesses in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, according to local KIRO 7 news, take out “Terrorism Riders” in order to be covered for damages caused by the event, and despite the hardship this causes everyday workers in lost wages (shops close early to avoid the chaos), every May 2 we can expect some variation of the same sympathetic headline, “Peaceful rallies give way to May Day clash, injuries.” No matter how many times May Day marches end in vandalism and violence, they are first defined as “peaceful” by a media that empathizes with their cause.
Ever wonder if Pro-Life organizations would be granted the same treatment if at the annual March for Life Event, a certain segment of the March thought destroying property and assaulting police were proper ways of showing opposition to abortion?
Neither has anyone else. We know what the reaction would be.
The left appears to have a growing tolerance for excusing violence so long as it is perceived to be furthering its causes. A recent column at the Dailykos.com argued, “What’s being burned down in Ferguson tonight is not the homes of black families, it’s the consumer stores that feed off the black families of this ghetto neighborhood. What’s being methodically burned are the local businesses that pay the taxes to hire the racist white police who stop and frisk blacks in Ferguson relentlessly…” In the Atlantic, in a recent column by Ta-Nehisi Coates, calls for nonviolence were dismissed as a “ruse” and a “con.” On CNN we heard HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill elevate riots to “resistance” and “uprisings.”
Seattle’s mayor gave a speech at the kick-off of the city’s May Day events this year. He was booed and cursed like an Enemy of the Revolution, and left the stage looking smaller and confused—like former friends of Robespierre must have looked as they were led away to the guillotine. But he, like other Democrats, seeks advantage from May Day without owning the disorder of it. We need to make sure they own both.