If Americans only listened to Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and others, they would be surprised to hear that violent riots have racked American cities for the past two months. If they heard about the spike in violent crime at all, they might have believed AOC’s heinous suggestion that a spike in murders, burglaries, and auto thefts was attributable to people struggling to pay their rent and deciding to “shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
The riots that followed protests over the horrific police killing of George Floyd have claimed the lives of at least 22 people, most of them black. The riots have also destroyed black livelihoods and black monuments. If Black Lives Matter to Democrats, why aren’t they lamenting the horror of the riots?
Rather than acknowledging the devastation these riots have caused, Democrats have rushed to blame President Donald Trump for supposed “brutality” in his response to this violence. Calling for law and order, Trump has sent federal law enforcement to overwhelmed cities like Portland. While some officers have allegedly engaged in illegal acts, their presence is a response to the violence engulfing these cities. Yet Democrats have tried to blame Trump, saying he has exacerbated the situation.
On Wednesday, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden blamed the president — whom he described as “determined to sow chaos and division” — for sending federal agents “brutally attacking peaceful protesters.” Biden refused to so much as name one lawless action taken by antifa rioters — who have terrorized Portland for 54 nights straight — but he did insinuate that Trump’s move to send federal agents involved putting “his political interests first.”
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On Saturday, Pelosi released a statement condemning “the Trump Administration’s violent tactics used against protestors in Portland.” Hailing the “immense power of peaceful protest in the fight against racial injustice and police brutality,” Pelosi accused federal agents of “kidnapping protestors in unmarked cars in Portland — all with the goal of inflaming tensions for [the administration’s] own gain.”
“We live in a democracy, not a banana republic. We will not tolerate the use of Oregonians, Washingtonians – or any other Americans – as props in President Trump’s political games,” Pelosi declared. “The House is committed to moving swiftly to curb these egregious abuses of power immediately.”
Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland) strained to blame Trump for the unrest in his city. Trump had claimed to have “quelled” the riots in Portland. Wheeler responded, “The President did not quell it, he escalated it. His heavy-handed tactics led to a serious injury and enflamed an already tense situation.”
These statements all distract from the lawless situation in Portland and in other cities.
On Friday, a group of antifa rioters shot cans and fired mortars at police in a battle in front of Chicago’s statue of Christopher Columbus. Antifa riots have terrorized the streets of Portland for 54 straight nights. On Saturday evening, for example, two groups of antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters squared off against police and federal troops, setting the police union building on fire and attacking the federal courthouse. Before the unrest began, Mayor Ted Wheeler (D-Portland) decided to hamstring federal troops, aiming to prevent local law enforcement from teaming up with them. Rioters also set off mortars aimed at police stations in Seattle this weekend.
“Autonomous zones” have sprouted up across the country, with the CHOP in Seattle being only the most egregious example. An “autonomous zone” in Portland lasted a mere 36 hours, likely because Wheeler knew Trump was planning to send federal officers to restore law and order. This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio finally sent in the NYPD to break up an “Occupy City Hall” protest that had devolved into a homeless encampment. The mayor only broke it up after Trump threatened to send in federal officers. The occupation had lasted for exactly one month.
Calling these cities “out of control” would be an understatement, yet Democrats continue to act as though nothing is wrong. They did not respond with outrage even when the monument to the 54th Massachusetts regiment — the first black Union volunteers in the Civil War — was defaced with Black Lives Matter spray-paint. They did not condemn the vandals who toppled a statue of the freed slave and magnificent American orator Frederick Douglass.
Ideology might be the key to unlock the puzzle of Democrats’ silence on the riots. Many Democrats have praised The New York Times‘ “1619 Project,” which claims that America’s true founding came in 1619 with the arrival of the first slaves, rather than in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. According to this theory, every aspect of American society must be examined and uprooted in the interest of “racial justice.”
When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post “Call them the 1619 riots,” the project’s founder, Nikole Hannah-Jones, responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots and the defamation of American Founding Fathers like George Washington.
In a November 9, 1995 op-ed, the 1619 Project founder condemned Christopher Columbus as “no different” from Adolf Hitler and demonized the “white race” as the true “savages” and “bloodsuckers.” She went on to describe “white America’s dream” as “colored America’s nightmare.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) expressed a similar sentiment when she called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.
Last month, Hannah-Jones made a comment that might explain how Democrats look at the violence of the 1619 riots. “Yes, it is disturbing to see property being destroyed, it’s disturbing to see people taking property from stores, but these are things, and violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence. And to put those things… to use the same language to describe those two things I think really- it’s not moral to do that,” she said.
The 1619 riots have destroyed more than just property, but Hannah-Jones’ statement shows how leftists can excuse the violence. Since the riots have been perpetrated in what they see as a good cause — fighting the “institutional racism” supposedly behind the horrific police killing of George Floyd — they are not “violence” but a proper response to the real violence of “white supremacy.”
What is “white supremacy?” Why, the Smithsonian claimed that various aspects of American and Western culture, including capitalism, science, the nuclear family, and Christianity, are “whiteness,” nefarious relics of white supremacy. The Smithsonian lesson also claimed that a work ethic, delayed gratification, being polite, and getting to meetings on time are aspects of the “whiteness” culture that must be deconstructed and rejected. While the Smithsonian withdrew this racist lesson, it seems rather revealing that the institution released it in the first place.
Ultimately, Democrats are hesitant to condemn the heinous violence and racism of the 1619 riots because they know that the Marxist antifa and Black Lives Matter agitators behind it are none other than their base. These activists agree with the increasingly radical leftist dogma that America is evil because it is based on “white supremacy.”
Early this month, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a veteran who lost her legs in service to this country and who is a card-carrying member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said she was open to the idea of removing statues to the Father of our country, George Washington. Despite her history and her record, she was unwilling to stand up for the man who made history by refusing to become America’s king.
THAT‘s how far the Democratic Party has fallen, and that shows why Democrats refuse to give a full-throated condemnation of the lawless riots. Even if they wanted to speak the truth, they are terrified of the rabid leftist base that will brook no dissent.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.