Within hours of President Biden’s call for civility, protesters went on a violent rampage in the Pacific Northwest, mostly in Portland Oregon. The protesters, according to the New York Times, marched through the streets, burned an American flag and smashed windows at Democratic Party Headquarters.
The protesters were not supporters of the now departed Donald J Trump. Nor were they from QAnon, the Proud Boys or other white supremacist groups. They were self-identified antifascist and racial-justice warriors, which is to say, fascists who like to call themselves antifascists. Their complaint was that Joe Biden’s promised reforms “won’t save us”.
Of course they won’t, primarily because they are not interested in being “saved”. They are simply nihilists who seek to smash and destroy. They could care less about the back and forth of democratic politics and the making of public policy. They seek to engender distrust and destroy democratic institutions, not to build on them.
If he means what he says, Joe Biden has a golden opportunity to take a large step toward restoring civility to the Republic and strengthening our democratic institutions. He can condemn the violence in Oregon without reservation just as strongly as he rightly condemned the violence fomented by Donald Trump at the Capitol on January 6. And he can seek to have the perpetrators brought to justice for their crimes, just as the perpetrators of the January 6 riots should be prosecuted for their crimes to the full extent of the law.
The choice is clear. It is a choice between violence and liberal government. Tolerating violence based on what “side” it favors is no justice at all. It is a fundamental attack on equality before the law and our democratic institutions. Vigorous prosecution of those who use violence to achieve political ends is a defense of the rule of law and democratic institutions.
President Joe Biden has a choice to make. He can defend the rule of law and democratic institutions. Or he can be just like Donald J. Trump and be politically selective about how the law is enforced.
That choice will tell us a lot about what Joe Biden is really made of.
Sometimes lies tell the truth, however inadvertently.
Ever since May when George Floyd was killed while in police custody there have been waves of protest in America’s cities, often spilling into violence. The violence has not been random and sporadic. It has typically been orchestrated by professional agitators, often by ANTIFA and the more radical members of Black Lives Matter (BLM).
Up until just recently, Mayors of cities under siege have displayed a remarkable tolerance for the violence, arson and anarchy unleashed in the cities they nominally govern. The political calculus driving this has two prongs. First, the chaos would likely redound to the benefit of Joe Biden thereby making the task of beating demon Trump all that much easier come November. Second, the Mayors, Progressives all, were (and are) sympathetic to the protesters who are becoming increasingly hard to differentiate from the rioters.
The whole while, Progressive politicians who kept insisting on the importance of the rule of law, refused to enforce basic laws on the books designed to protect citizens and their property. The truth, made manifest by their behavior, exposed the lie of their devotion to the rule of law.
Some polls have begun to suggest that the public has had enough. One recent poll, taken shortly after the Republican convention, shows Biden a mere 2 points ahead of Trump, well within the margin of error. In addition, the Trafalger Group (an outlier) who called key races in 2016 and 2018 correctly when others got it wrong, says that Trump is only a half-point behind Biden in Minnesota and slightly ahead in Michigan and Wisconsin.
In the meantime the mainstream press studiously avoided the violence for months, insisting that there was “nothing to see here” and that the demonstrations were “mostly peaceful”. Now they have changed the script. It turns out that there is a problem with violence after all, and that it is all the fault of—Donald Trump. Of course, Trump’s narcissistic insistence that everything is all about him, all the time, makes the job that much easier.
Then there is the matter of the apparent murder of a Trump supporter in Portland, Oregon during another night of “non-violent” protest. The apparent shooter is a man named Michael Forest Reinoehl, a self-identified “anti-fascist”. Among other things he wrote:
“I am 100 % ANTIFA all the way! I am willing to fight for my brothers and sisters! … We do not want violence but we will not run from it either! … Today’s protesters and antifa are my brothers in arms.”
So about those lies that tell the truth. The lie that tells the truth is that the Democratic Party is run by moderates who wish to return to normalcy. That is manifestly not so. If that were actually true they would have taken action long ago to confront the rioters and restore order. Maintaining order is, after all, a local responsibility and the Mayors of America’s large cities are overwhelmingly Democratic. Actions speak louder than words.
Now that the violence is being directed against them, some of Mayors seem to be having second thoughts—kind of like Robespierre most have had on his trip to the guillotine. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler can not have been happy last night when the rioters set an occupied apartment building on fire, apparently because they thought he lived there.
The Democratic Party, now in the process of being taken over by Jacobins, has no institutional desire to return to normalcy. That is merely a cover and a transparent one at that. These modern day Jacobins mean to transform America and its liberal institutions in the service of a radically illiberal and utopian left-wing ideology. The Democratic Party has simply become an empty vessel waiting to be filled by Progressives so they can get on with the transformation. The truth is that these radical Progressives are so full of hatred for freedom that they are willing to tolerate, if not celebrate violence so long as it serves a tactical purpose in the quest for power.
The final truth embedded in the lies may be revealed by the difference between real votes and those cast by ballot. An individual ballot, despite all the hysterical rhetoric, has virtually no practical significance. But voting with your feet has very real significance for the voter / mover. Moving to a new locale is probably a much better indicator of what someone really thinks.
By all reports there has been a torrent of wealthy and upper middle class migration out of the major cities and into the suburbs and smaller secondary cities. Undoubtedly some of this has to do with COVID-19 and the widespread adoption of working from home. But at least some is attributable to the unrest and increased incivility of the big cities. That could presage a much larger change than the results of this November’s elections.