By Edward Achorn
The riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin are not protests. They are attempts — quite evidently organized — to stoke violence and hatred in America.
They are succeeding at that mission.
In recent days, an armed teenager who claimed to be at the riots to defend property can be seen on a cell phone video getting knocked to the ground. In many of the riots, the mob severely beats those it manages to bring down. The prone teenager in this case fired his weapon. He has been charged with first-degree murder in two deaths.
Expect more such tragic violence. It will metastasize until the government performs its most basic function of upholding the law and protecting the civil rights of individuals. That is the primary duty of our tax-fattened officials.
But for now, the government seems unwilling to do this rudimentary job. It is not devoting the resources to halt the transition from peaceful protest, which is protected by the First Amendment, to rioting and looting, which most emphatically is not.
As violence grows
One can only surmise that some government officials wish to see the violence grow.
At the federal level, our expensive Justice Department has declared the violent hate group Antifa a domestic terrorist organization. Yet if it is doing anything to infiltrate or stop the terrorists, its actions are invisible to the public. The president touts law and order yet watches as Democratic public officials let their cities burn and the people’s civil rights be torched.
We know what will happen now. Any police shooting involving a minority will be fodder for rapid-response riots, the burning of businesses and attacks on innocent people. The rioters will be championed by media outlets that prefer mob violence (at least from the left) to due process and civil liberty.
For as long as the government refuses to stop such riots — and, in some cases, moves to defund the police — armed people will take the law into their own hands. Anyone who seriously believes that such all-out violence will encourage “social justice” is kidding himself.
Peaceful coexistence, due process, and the rule of law, however imperfect, are what foster justice.
Riots help Trump
Politically, the riots only help President Donald Trump. I was a kid when civil unrest helped elect an unpopular and off-putting Republican named Richard Nixon in 1968.
At their national convention this week, Republicans have repeatedly denounced the violence. Democrats, fearing to insult their base, avoided the topic at their convention.
But most Americans oppose rioting. Most African Americans want more police protection against inner-city violence, not less. And advocates of the left are noticing this is not playing well with voters.
“The rioting has to stop,” CNN commentator Don Lemon this week said in an on-air discussion with his colleague Chris Cuomo. “Chris, as you know and I know, it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing — it is the only thing right now that is sticking.”
One can only hope that will lead presidential nominee Joe Biden to speak out more forcefully against the rioting, even at the risk of offending the Marxist wing of his party.
A decent and humane response
One of the most restrained, decent and humane observations about the rioting I have heard in recent months came from, of all people, the former supermodel who is the first lady.
Speaking this week at the Republican convention, knowing she would be the target of vile attacks by those who despise her blowhard husband, she urged, through her thick Slovenian accent, a peaceful redress of wrongs.
“Like all of you, I have reflected on the racial unrest in our country. It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history. I encourage people to focus on our future while still learning from our past. We must remember that today we are all one community comprised of many races, religions, and ethnicities. Our diverse and storied history is what makes our country strong, and yet we still have so much to learn from one another,” she said.
“With that in mind, I’d like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives. I urge people to come together in a civil manner, so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals. I also ask people to stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice, and never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin. Instead of tearing things down, let’s reflect on our mistakes. Be proud of our evolution and look to our way forward. Every day let us remember that we are one nation under God, and we need to cherish one another.”
Thank you, Melania Trump.
(Read Edward Achorn’s books about American history.)