Donald Trump’s electoral victory inaugurated a great deal of liberal anguish, and for many conservatives it was fun to watch. But there is reason to be genuinely, authentically concerned with the direction in which the Left is headed. To cope with the political defeats they suffered in 2016, liberals appear to be embracing and championing political violence.
On the day of President Trump’s inauguration, a protester punched white supremacist Richard B. Spencer in the face. Spencer was doing nothing wrong. He was giving an interview and conducting himself in a calm and peaceful manner. Nevertheless, a masked protester punched him in the side of the head.
You may remember that, several years ago, liberals were claiming that heated rhetoric was responsible for the Tucson massacre. You would thus imagine that they would similarly denounce this act of unprovoked violence against a man who has broken no laws, right?
You would be wrong. A small sampling of the responses: Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Obama, admitted to laughing at the video. Slate writer and CBS analyst Jamelle Bouie implicitly gave his approval to political violence by cautioning us against “treating Nazis as legitimate participants in public discourse.” Unsure of whether punching an innocent man in the face was, you know, acceptable, comedienne Sarah Silverman said, “I gotta think on this.” As she put it, “I’m [super] conflicted on what’s long-term right.”
Writer Gerry Dugan said punching Spencer in the face for no reason is “as American as apple pie.” At the Times, Frank Bruni wrote: “[The] attack does more to help [Spencer] than to hurt him.” This implies that, if the attack actually did more to hurt Spencer than to help him, it would be totally okay. Assaulting an innocent person is apparently purely a practical matter, not an ethical one.
We Haven’t Gotten to the Worst One Yet
That’s not even the worst of it. At this year’s Screen Actors Guild awards, “Stranger Things” actor David Harbour openly advocated committing criminal violence against political opponents. Harbour had also approved of the assault against Spencer, and for his explicit call to political violence at the SAG awards, Harbour received a standing ovation from the crowd.
You’re not reading that wrong: a famous actor called for violence against his fellow Americans, and a bunch of other famous actors were totally for it. So were much of the media: Vanity Fair called Harbour’s speech “explosive,” MTV called it “inspiring,” Metro called it a “rousing call to arms,” People magazine called it “passionate,” Rolling Stone called it “fiery.”
Liberal anti-Trump inclinations towards violence are not unprecedented. Last year, for instance, an editor of Vox called for innocent peoples’ property to be destroyed in response to Trump’s campaign.
Where Is This All Going?
To be fair, the campaign season was heated and tensions were very high. But one hoped that, after the election, the Left would calm down, accept the reality of a Trump administration, and use only legitimate means to counteract his agenda.
But that’s not happening. Instead, we see liberals accepting, embracing, rationalizing, and celebrating violence against their opponents. Even famous television stars are taking part in this alarming trend, and instead of being rebuked and shunned, they are cheered and praised by their fellow elites.
This bears repeating: liberals appear to be embracing violence as a political tool. This is, to say the least, frightening. Should we not be a little bit worried? We are not even two weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump, and already we are at this point. Where will we be after four years, or even eight? Will conservatives have to worry about violence coming from the Left, along with a media that excuses and justifies such violence?
With any luck, in the weeks and months to come, liberals will calm down and stop issuing these demands for violent action. But what if they don’t? Are we prepared to deal with four to eight years of this?