Riots in the Streets—the New Normal?
One of the greatest milestones in world history was March 4, 1797. Why? What happened then? America, under the guidance of the Constitution, transitioned from our first president to our second. George Washington stepped down, and the recently-elected John Adams stepped in.
No bloodshed. No rioting in the streets. No town-hall meetings cancelled for fear of the speaker being torn limb from limb.
Even the acrimonious battle over who would be the third president was a peaceful transition. This contest was in Congress in 1801 and ultimately stretched out day after day (involving 36 ballots) to see who would win: Thomas Jefferson or Aaron Burr, who had tied him in the Electoral College.
But after the 2016 and the 2020 elections, we saw something new in America…whole swaths of Americans not accepting the presidential election results.
Here’s what I noted in 2017. While the people who oppose President Trump or his policies are free to peacefully express their opinions, they are not free to hurt people and destroy property. As the saying goes, “Your right to swing your arm ends at the tip of my nose”—even if they claim the mantle of “tolerance.”
The Left likes to compare Trump to Hitler and the Nazis. Yet it was Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, who said, “History is made in the streets.” Get enough brown-shirts to beat up and silence the opposition, and you seize power. Might makes right.
That’s not the American way.
An example can be found in the Daily Caller (1/30/17), where Justin Caruso noted, “During an anti-Trump protest in Seattle this weekend, an activist associated with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement took to the megaphone to voice her support for, among other things, ‘killing people,’ and ‘killing the White House.’”
What happened at the University of California, Berkeley recently was a horrible bellwether. In a place famous for standing for “free speech,” free speech died last week when a controversial “gay conservative” (why do my instincts want to call that an oxymoron?), Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a Trump-supporter, was disinvited from speaking after violent protests broke out over his appearance, causing more than $100,000 in damage and several injuries.
The cancellation of his talk was not by the college, not by the organizers of the talk, but by mob rule.
The San Francisco Chronicle quoted one of the student protesters (2/1/17): “The whole reason we’re here is for free speech…Milo’s hate speech is not allowed here. When it’s hate speech, our free speech is to shut him down.” The Chronicle added, “The protest turned violent around 6 p.m. when dozens of masked anarchists, dressed in black and wearing backpacks, emerged from the otherwise peaceful crowd.”
Tucker Carlson interviewed Yiannopoulos that night, and the Fox News broadcaster commented: “This looks like political violence designed to squelch opinions the perpetrators of that violence disagree with.”
Some Hollywood people spoke out in favor of the protests:
- Director Judd Apatow said of the Berkeley riots: “This is just the beginning.”
- Sarah Silverman, with whom I once appeared on an episode of Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect (2002), has called for a violent overthrow of the duly-elected president. She tweeted: “WAKE UP & JOIN THE RESISTANCE. ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE…” [Emphasis hers]
- Filmmaker Lexi Alexander, according to Fox News Entertainment (2/2/17), defended the Berkeley riot on Twitter “telling her followers to ‘punch Nazis,’ ‘riot when your college invites a Nazi,’ and ‘set it all on fire.’” And she tweeted, “Hate speech is not free speech. It’s called incitement. It’s a crime.”
The next night, protests at New York University attempted to shut down another conservative speaker, but the event happened anyway. And 11 protesters were arrested.
So many of these recent protesters are, as my brother put it, “real fascists in the name of pretend anti-fascism.”
And who is to define “hate speech”? I have a friend who is a former lesbian. She was converted to Christ and is grateful to be free from her former lifestyle. Back when “hate crime” laws (aren’t all crimes hateful?) were being proposed, she expressed concern that some politically correct folks would absurdly interpret her Christian-testimony as so-called “hate speech.”
Yiannopoulos made a little Youtube video responding to the Berkeley protests, saying, “The progressive Left in America has been engaged in this project of conflating ideas with action.”
And he added, “America, of all places, now, is seeing political violence in response to ideas…”
Is this the new normal? Riots in the streets to wear us down?
The Left didn’t win at the ballot box in a surprising upset, and now do they want to invalidate the election results by causing violence in the streets? The genius of what the founding fathers gave us in the Constitution—and all the blessings that flow from our God-given liberty—should not be allowed to be undone by thuggery.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the shutdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic and in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, we saw an unprecedented level of rioting in the streets of America.
The media claimed they were “mostly peaceful protests,” while behind them the viewers could see burning buildings and widespread looting. A war was declared on the police by many in our society, and crime has skyrocketed in major cities of the nation. Most hit were the inner city poor, who can’t easily uproot and move to somewhere safe.
Those who have called for absurd measures like “Defund the Police” have security for themselves. So who is the ultimate victim of their war on cops? Again, the inner-city poor.
And we also saw in 2020 the contested election with many credible allegations of cheating.
While tens of thousands of peaceful Trump supporters expressed their displeasure over the official election results on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C., several hundred crossed the line by protesting and in some cases vandalizing inside the U. S. Capitol on that day.
The double standard of the punishment against the Capitol protesters versus the 2020 rioters and looters is absolutely sickening.
We pray that the tumult of the times will not be a sign of America’s future. America’s need for a genuine revival and widespread repentance could not be clearer.