Back in 2009 I was one of a group of conservatives in North Dakota who helped organize the local tea party movement. Our rallies, though not as large as those taking place in other states, garnered a lot of attention. Much of it critical.
Our friends on the left played at being concerned at this supposedly militant movement. Newspaper editorial boards painted us as extremists. On the national level commentators derided tea partiers as racists and secessionists, and their rallies as sinister gatherings teetering on the edge of violence.
None of that was true, of course. The tea party movement was just a group of people united in their concerns over things like taxes and government spending. Tea party rallies were mostly peaceful affairs. The only trouble making we got up to was the electoral sort which is, and should be, acceptable in a democratic society.
That’s how it had to be given the hostile bent to coverage of the tea parties. The left and the media establishment were already inclined to believe that we were violent bigots. The last thing we needed was some incident they could claim as proof.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the tea party years a lot here at the dawn of the Trump era.
The American left, it seems, is protesting everything. From #NoDAPL pipeline riots to #BlackLivesMatter marches in the middle of freeways and even to mobs angry over the killing of an African lion by a Minnesota dentist, it’s been intense.
What’s worrisome is that the organizers of these protests condone tactics which ought to be out of bounds.
For years the left has, rightfully, opposed pro-life demonstrators blocking entrance to abortion clinics. Yet when it comes to left wing causes blocking airports, malls, banks, and even highways is accepted practice.
So is vandalism and violence, it seems.
Now Trump’s executive orders have prompted even more disruptive protests with sign-waving activists clogging the nation’s airports.
Years ago we tea party activists were derided as secessionists, not because we actually wanted to secede, mind you, but because we think the 10th amendment means something. But today left wing activists are in California are literally working on secession.
Left wing commentators and politicians pay lip service to condemning some of these acts, yet they keep happening. And why wouldn’t they given how the left talks about Donald Trump and his base of political support? Remember that the left has branded Trump a bigot. A white supremacist and a fascist. By doing so they’ve obliquely condoned opposing him through violent means.
If you’ve convinced yourself that Trump is a Nazi, you’ve tacitly justified opposing him as though he were a Nazi.
Only he’s not a Nazi. Those sort of comparisons are irresponsible and inaccurate.
What worries me is this: Having already embraced obstruction, vandalism, violence, and secession as valid, and with Trump unlikely to back down from the controversial agenda he campaigned on, where does the left go from here?
They’ve already turned up the outrage to 11. What’s next?
That question should give us all pause.
I hope the leaders on the left recognize the perilous position they’re in right now and turn toward a more thoughtful sort of political dialogue.
I hope Trump does the same, because he’s not helping either.
But the responsibility for the actions committed by left wing activists are those activists and their leaders.
Trump is shaping up to be a very divisive national leader for our country, coming after a similarly divisive leader in Barack Obama. I don’t have a lot of hope that we’re going to find a new spirit of unity and cooperation at any point in the next four years.
Maybe, though, we could at least come together to condemn the protest tactics the left has deployed in recent weeks, months, and years.
They’re irresponsible and unacceptable.