The weaponization of American politics: A bipartisan disease?

by WorldTribune Staff, June 16, 2017

July 2016:

The town hall forum and freedom of expression are as American as apple pie. So is civil disobedience.

However violence in political discourse has always been frowned on in a Christian nation that values principled freedom of expression. As British philosopher John Locke wrote,  there could be “no freedom” without a Social Compact of laws, because “liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be where there is no law.”

Newspaper headlines report on an Oct. 15, 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest in Times Square.

Such values are still deeply embedded in the national culture. Thus the false narrative that the Tea Party conducted violent protest rallies had the goal of delegitimizing the movement in the eyes of the prize demographic: Independent voters.

But the past decade has seen a nationwide increase in political violence culminating in the firefight at an early morning baseball practice game on June 14 that critically wounded the third ranking member of House Republican leadership, Rep. Steve Scalise.

Is such violence a bipartisan disease? The NY Times attempted to make such a case in an editorial to which it has since issued a correction.

In a mocking 2011 review of news coverage of the “Occupy” movement, the Daily Signal substituted the word “Tea Party” in a list of headlines links to stories about the proliferation of lawless leftist protests.

After this week’s shocking baseball shooting incident that could easily have turned into a bloodbath, the Huffington Post took down an article, published last Saturday, that called for the “execution” of President Donald Trump.

In support of its contention that the Left has become the violent aggressor against Conservatives in 21st century America’s War of Ideas, the Daily Caller Foundation sifted through the news of the last year’s violent protests. Here is what it found:

July 2016

  • A Hillary Clinton supporter lights a flag on fire and attacks a Trump supporter in Pittsburgh.
  • Protesters jumped on cars, stole hats, fought with and threw eggs at Trump supporters outside a Trump rally in downtown San Jose. Trump supporters sued San Jose over the violence.

August 2016

  • Anti-Trump protesters attacked pushed, spit on and verbally harassed attendees forced to walk a “gauntlet” as they left a Trump fundraiser in Minneapolis, Minn., and beat an elderly man. Protesters also attacked Trump’s motorcade.
  • A Tennessee man was assaulted at a garage sale for being a Trump supporter.
  • A Trump supporter in New Jersey was attacked with a crowbar on the street.

September 2016

  • Protesters in El Cajon, Calif., chased and beat up a Trump supporter.

October 2016

  • A GOP office in North Carolina was firebombed and spray painted with “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else.”

November 2016

  • A high school student was attacked after she wrote that she supported Trump on social media. The perpetrator ripped her glasses off and punched her in the face.
  • The president of Cornell University’s College Republicans was assaulted the night after Trump won the election.
  • Students protesting Trump punched and kicked a Maryland high school student wearing a Make America Great Again hat.
  • A high school student was arrested in Florida after he punched a classmate for carrying a Trump sign at school.
  • A group of black men in Chicago attacked a white man while raging against Trump.
  • Maryland high school students punched a student who was demonstrating in support of Trump, and then kicked him repeatedly while he was on the ground.
  • You support Trump. You hate Mexicans,” a California high school student yelled at a Trump supporter, before viciously beating the girl.
  • An anti-bullying ambassador was arrested for shoving a 74-year-old man to the ground in a fight outside Trump tower where people upset over his win had gathered. The woman tied to Black Lives Matter caused the man to hit his head on the sidewalk.
  • A Texas elementary school student was beaten by his classmates for voting for Trump in a mock election.
  • Two men punched and kicked a Connecticut man who was standing with an American flag and a Trump sign.

December 2016

  • A Trump supporter was beaten and dragged by a car.

January 2017

  • A Trump supporter was knocked unconscious after airport protesters repeatedly beat him on the head.
  • A Trump supporter was attacked after putting out a fire started by anti-Trump protesters.
  • When Trump protesters encountered a driver with a pro-Trump flag on his car, they surrounded the vehicle, ripped off and began burning the flag, and pounded the car. They also punctured on the tires.

February 2017

  • California GOP Rep. Tom McClintock had to be escorted to his car after a town hall because of angry protesters. The tires of at least four vehicles were slashed.
  • Protestors knocked a 71-year-old female staffer for California GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher unconscious during a protest outside the representative’s office.
  • Milo Yiannopoulos speech at the University of California-Berkeley was cancelled after rioters set the campus on fire and threw rocks through windows. Milo tweeted that one of his supporters wearing a Trump hat was thrown to the ground and kicked.

March 2017

  • Masked protesters at Middlebury College rushed AEI scholar and political scientist Charles Murray and professor Allison Stranger, pushing and shoving Murray and grabbing Stranger by her hair and twisting her neck as they were leaving a campus building. Stranger suffered a concussion. Protesters then surrounded the car they got into, rocking it back and forth and jumping on the hood.

April 2017

  • A parade in Portland, Ore.,was canceled after threats of violence were made against a Republican organization.
  • Fears of violent protests shut down Ann Coulter’s UC Berkeley speech. Campus police had gathered intel on protesters who were planning to commit violence.

May 2017

  • Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, his family and his dog were targeted by a series of repeated death threats deemed credible by authorities.
  • FBI agents arrested a person for threatening to shoot Republican Rep. Martha McSally over her support for Trump.
  • Police in Tennessee charged a woman for allegedly trying to run Republican Rep. David Kustoff off the road.
  • Police in North Dakota ejected a man after he became physical with Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer at a town hall.
  • A former professor was arrested after police said they identified him on video beating Trump supporters with a U-shaped bike lock, leaving three people with “significant injuries.”

June 2017

  • James Hodgkinson opened fire on a congressional GOP baseball practice, injuring five, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
  • Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney received an email threat that read, “One down, 216 to go,” shortly after the shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice.
  • A man driving a white Malibu reportedly fired several shots at a man driving a truck displaying a “Make America Great Again” flag in Indiana.
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