Bigotry, Violence, the Rule of Law: Hyperbole and Hypocrisy

2017-06-04T201506Z_239954110_RC1227707870_RTRMADP_3_OREGON-PROTESTS

I know there has been a theme to my advocacy for a year or two now. But I struggle to find an over-arching description.

What I am trying to present is a tiny beacon of consistent light. Where someone is demanding that we be honest with our politics. Where we say what we mean. Where we recognize reality. And stop trying to bypass others. Merely because they are inconvenient. Where we do not commandeer process, pretending that we are doing so democratically. Becoming so self-righteous in our own cause, that we do not recognize that we are employing the same exclusionary tactics of those we oppose.

And so I read this article. On one level, one can detect a shift in the workings of the alt-right. Where it is beginning to evolve a paramilitary aspect. One can froth about the condoning of violence now moving into a phase where boots will literally be put on the ground.

All of which would be fine, except for the words of the Portland Mayor: “Our current political climate allows far too much room for those who spread bigotry. Violent words can lead to violent acts.

“All elected leaders in America, all people of good conscience, must work deliberately (to) change our political dialogue.”

After which, pronouncements by all sides quoted in the article becomes a blur of hyperbole and hypocrisy.

Do I condone the hateful speech of the alt-right? No. Do I accept that violent language can lead to violent action? Yes. Do I think that the cause of one side is sufficiently more righteous that the other side that it is permitted to engage in violent language more than the other side? No.

Do I support the notion of pre-emptive violent language or action being employed by one side against another? No. Do I believe that two wrongs make a right? No.

Do I believe in democracy? Yes. Do I believe that our democracy allows for true free speech? It should. Does that include abhorrent free speech? Yes. Does that include speech which breaches existing law on assault? No. Does the existing law and its enforcement provide sufficient sanction against violent language and action? In my opinion, yes.

Can any law prevent a violent person attacking and harming another individual? No. Again. No.

What happened in Portland is awful, outrageous. What happened in Manchester is awful, outrageous.

None of it gives an ordinary citizen permission to engage in language or action, outside of the law, simply because they want to match a perceived threat.

If you look at the alt-right. If you look at militant jihadism. If you look at a Portland Mayor seeking to censor an alt-right gathering, if you look at globalism, if you look at militia groupings, if you look at the far right, the far left, anarchists, Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald frigging Trump.

And you see something which makes you want to take to the streets, throw a rock, throw a punch, hire a security firm, put on a uniform, burn a police car, yell and scream at a bystander, or beat them until they are dead. No-one is going to be able to stop you.

But do not pretend that you are not all engaging in exactly the same activity. Driven by exactly the same emotions. Contributing to exactly the same downward spiral.

It is no more accurate for one side to say of the other that violent language and action is a political lurch – a lurch to the far right. It is no such thing. It is a lurch to violence. Period. And it is a lurch to violence whatever your stated politics.

I, for one, will not engage in, nor support, nor enable violence. I decry all violent language and action. And frankly, there is enough to go around on all sides of the political aisle. Too much.

The answer is not to add to it. The answer is to speak out against all violent language and action .The answer is to recognize, however crazy we may allow our Facebook Feed to convince us we are being, the answer is to stop and listen to the other side.

When people say they are scared and angry because they feel threatened by the seeming racism of small-minded bigots. Then we listen.

When people say they are angry and scared by bigoted globalists who shut down their mills and censor their meetings. Then we listen.

Because bigotry knows no politics: “big·ot·ry – intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.” And it is time bigotry was expunged from all decent politics.

The answer is not to bypass democracy. The answer is to believe in it. To use the processes evolved over hundreds of years. To respect a person’s right to utter the most hateful filth. To step in and protect an individual at risk. To accept that there are unavoidable consequences, when a human prone to violence is involved. And to trust the processes we have evolved to enforce law, order and security in our democracy to exact appropriate retribution.

No more. No less.

To sanction anything less. To advocate the bypassing of process. In our functioning democracy. Whatever your politics. Whatever you think is your righteous justification. Is to step outside of the law as much as the people you decry. You become the same outlaw.

Now. If you want to be an outlaw. Go right ahead. But don’t be surprised when the full sanction of the law is brought against you. Be your politics left or right. And don’t be pretending you’re some sort of noble crusader. You ain’t. You’re adding to the problem. Wake up. Grow up.

And actually that goes for the folks leaking national security, as much as it goes for those employing bigoted, violent language and action. So, there is some consistency to my advocacy. If only there was a simple definition. Rather than a couple of pages of writing every time …

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Published in: on June 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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