By Edward Achorn
Attacks on Americans, such as we saw Thursday night, will not play well with most voters. I condemn such actions and call on the government to protect our civil liberties.
I wish Democratic leaders would, too.
America is not America without free speech. Each of us has a right to engage in political activity without being violently assaulted or targeted for politicized prosecution by the other side.
Totalitarians, not freedom-lovers, employ intimidation and bullying to subdue the population. We have peaceful means in America to reform police and work the public’s will in other ways.
Thugs surrounded and threatened people attending President Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention Thursday night. Whatever we might think of the Republicans, they have a right to engage in peaceful political activity, just as Democrats do.
Unfortunately, as I write this, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been silent about the attacks. He should have reassured us immediately that, if elected president, he will protect the civil liberties of those who disagree with him.
The American way is to celebrate diversity of thought. Each of us has a right to express his or her point of view. None of us should be silenced, fired from non-political jobs, or physically intimidated for disagreeing with a political party.
Vile racial slur
Vernon Jones (above and below), an African American Democratic legislator who spoke at the Republican convention, found himself threatened after the event. Social media videos showed that an angry mob surrounded the 59-year-old man and screamed in his face.
“You’re a (f-word) disgrace!” yelled one member of the mob at the black politician. Another used the vile racial slur “house (n-word).”
The crowd stood in his way.
“Let the man walk. Let the people walk,” shouted one of the helmeted police officers who was protecting Mr. Vernon and his guests as they attempted to return to the safety of their hotel.
Police formed a phalanx around Representative Jones and the woman with him.
Given the way such mob scenes have erupted into violence and destruction around the country, both the police and those they were protecting understandably looked nervous.
‘Just got attacked’
The BLM activists also targeted U.S. Senator Rand Paul, 57, who spoke at the convention in opposition to war, and his wife Kelley.
“Just got attacked by an angry mob of over 100, one block away from the White House,” Mr. Paul tweeted. “Thank you to @DCPoliceDept for literally saving our lives from a crazed mob.”
The Republican senator later told the TV show “Fox and Friends” that, without police, “I don’t think we would have survived.”
He speculated that someone paid the agitators to come to Washington and incite a riot.
“I don’t hear Joe Biden or Kamala Harris saying one thing about the violence. This mob is their voters. This is the new Democrat party,” Mr. Paul said.
Mr. Jones, for his part, argued that leaders of his Democratic Party must “come out and denounce this hatred, this vitriol, condemn Black Lives Matter and then Antifa.” He urged congressional hearings into the violence and a thorough investigation of who is funding “these professional domestic terrorists.” Those funding them, he argued, “should be held accountable.”
Only helps Trump
As CNN’s Don Lemon noted last week, rioting and looting seem to be aiding President Trump’s re-election drive and hurting the Democrats.
Indeed, the treatment of peaceful Americans outside the Republican convention may hurt Democrats more than anything said at the four-day GOP infomercial.
I believe most Americans still want a country where we can disagree with each other peacefully. President Trump’s insults and verbal attacks on Twitter have helped poison the political climate. But the violence and hatred fomented by the far left are getting way out of hand.
All of us should condemn this ugly turn in American politics. Peace, love and free speech are far preferable.
(Read Edward Achorn’s books about American history.)