Tancredo: Charlottesville Riot Reveals Perils of Extreme Tribalism and Politicized Media Reporting

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I was once asked to speak to a Hispanic organization in Denver and share the stage with the representative of Congresswoman Diana DeGette, who is as liberal. I am conservative. At one point someone in the audience expressed his frustration with the two of us because, since neither of us is Hispanic, he felt that there was no way we could represent his, or the Hispanic group’s, interest.

I responded that I could certainly understand why he felt he could not support me, but I said that there was no reason he could not support Congresswoman DeGette because she shared his point of view on everything. He again disagreed and reiterated his point: because she was Anglo, she would not be his first choice for someone to represent him in Congress.  

To my astonishment, much of the group nodded in agreement. Using his “logic” I could never vote for a black, a brown, or even a female candidate as our differences are such that understanding and empathy could never be achieved.

Of course, this is pure lunacy as I would be perfectly happy to vote to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, for Ben Carson or Ted Cruz (and yes, a Cuban is Hispanic) for president and Ann Coulter for any office she aspired to!

That incident in Denver is a very tiny but completely justifiable example of the balkanization of America that has been undertaken by the left in order to secure the “thorough transformation” of the country that Barack Obama committed to pursue.

Charlottesville is racial balkanization by way of identity politics on maximum steroids. It’s the result of years of race nationalism and exclusion preached by the left and it’s dangerous and bad — not bad for Trump or Republicans, but bad for America. 

It becomes more obvious every day that dividing Americans by race is moving away from the principles of equality under the law and E Pluribus Unum, but no one would know from the news reports by the mainstream media. The media are not reporting accurately or fairly which political forces and activist groups have been promoting racial divisions instead of healing them. 

This past Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, there was street violence and rioting resulting in three deaths and scores of injuries. Public statements by the Democrat Mayor of Charlottesville and the Democrat Governor of Virginia put all the blame for the violence on the neo-Nazi “Unite the Right” sponsors of a protest rally that actually ended hours before the deaths occurred.

Yes, the neo-Nazi sponsors of the licensed and permitted protest rally were the inspiration for other groups to organize a counter-demonstration. But which group actually engaged in attacks and violence to interfere with the free speech rights of others? Were the neo-Nazis the main aggressors — or was it the Antifa leftists who have purposefully disrupted public events over the past year from Berkeley to Washington, DC? Or, both? There are some media reports that suggest a more complicated sequence of events and more than one guilty party. For instance, the left-oriented ProPublica reported that “Police stood by as mayhem mounted,” and the ACLU has made a similar charge. 

President Trump promptly issued a statement from the White House criticizing the violent behavior “on all sides,” a statement that was criticized by some because he did not single out the “white nationalist” rally sponsors by name as the prime culprits behind the violence. Such criticism would be valid only if it is clear that only the white supremacist groups were engaged in violent acts, which is not the case. There appear to be grounds for assigning blame to all the parties involved, including city officials.  

  • We need more information on the timetable and sequence of events, especially the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of the young woman run over by the car driven into a crowd.
  • We need to know more about the police department’s decisions and orders to disperse, and we need to digest and interpret the hours of films taken by both bystanders and protest participants.
  • And we need some honest and accurate reporting on the behavior of both the rally organizers and the leftist protest groups that were intent on blocking and disrupting the rally organized to protest the city’s removal of a prominent statue of Robert E. Lee in a city park named for him.

We can and should disagree vehemently with the avowed white supremacist goals of the protest organizers, but those who joined the effort to disrupt and prevent that rally have abandoned a pillar of civil society and individual freedom, the First Amendment’s right to free speech. That the disruption is being blamed by so many media reporters and politicians on one side and not both sides is a sad commentary on the state of public debate and free speech in America today.

 The U.S. Department of Justice has already announced it will investigate the causes and facts of the riot, and that investigation should be especially welcomed in view of the ridiculous and highly partisan statements made in the immediate aftermath of the riot made by the governor and mayor. Governor McAuliffe had the chutzpah to blame President Trump for the riot, which must be some kind of international record for buck-passing.

The nation urgently needs Attorney General Sessions and the Justice Department to interview the eyewitnesses, sort through fact and fiction, put political correctness aside, and uncover the whole truth about the events in Charlottesville.

The city and state authorities had several weeks to make plans to keep the two angry protest groups separated, protect the civil liberties of both rally organizers and citizens, and maintain public safety. The only thing that is abundantly clear and beyond dispute is that Virginia and Charlottesville authorities not only failed to perform those rudimentary duties, they immediately set out to blame others for the tragic consequences of their mistakes.  

Perhaps we need to activate that part of the Department of Justice used by Obama and Loretta Lynch to take over local police departments. Perhaps they should go in and “reorganize” Charlottesville’s law enforcement community to reflect the fact that their responsibilities should be focused on protecting the free speech rights even of groups their mayor and governor don’t like.  

The left has sewn the wind with lies and race-based politics, and now the whole country is beginning to reap the whirlwind.

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