Leadership Vacuum 6/1/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Protests have reached Washington, D.C. The Associated Press reports that the president even “holed up” in the White House bunker for a couple of hours. He lashed out at the protesters, via Tweet of course, saying that if they breach the fences they will be met with “ominous weapons” and “vicious dogs”. The report also made the statement that his advisers suggested that he address the nation (from the bunker) with words of unity, but he refused since he didn’t have any bills to sign. While he hunkered down safely and with nothing to say to the people, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Biden was out with the marchers in person in a show of solidarity.

In his usual fashion, he used the protest crisis as an opportunity to lash out at his supposed enemies, namely the “left”, Democrats and media. He blamed “ANTIFA” and extreme left claiming they were the “outside instigators” who have been showing up to agitate and inflame the situation with actions that appear to be intended to destabilize and increase animosity towards the government. He has gone so far as to claim that he is looking into a proclamation labeling “ANTIFA” as a terrorist organization, something that he refused to do when white supremacists and fascists were running over protesters at his rallies because, well, we wouldn’t want to antagonize our greatest supporters, now would we?

In Minnesota, the governor has suggested that about eighty percent of the protesters that were arrested were from out of state, and that many of them had ties to these fascist groups. Photos emerging from cities across the nation show white men smashing windows, shooting from their vehicles into the crowds, running over the protesters and even one who shot into the crowd with his bow and arrows. But we must think critically; the governor of Minnesota is a Democrat, so him blaming the right is suspicious just as the president blaming the left is.

Independent sources, however, back the governor. Social scientists have looked into the social media posts calling for violence were overwhelmingly associated with a few white supremacist groups, man of whom were closely associated with the NRA. Photos from the riot show people sporting clothing and badges associated with Neo Nazi groups. A newspaper looked into the people that have been arrested and confirmed ties to the radical right.

It’s really not a surprise. During his campaign he courted the minority vote claiming they are worse off than ever, blaming the Democratic president for their woes and saying “why not vote for me? What have you got to lose?” This is the campaign launched in distrust in the opening speech (by calling Mexicans criminals and rapists), encouraging violence (such as calling Neo Nazis “very good people”) and targeting Muslims in travel and visa restrictions as one of his earliest actions as president. With this divisive pattern of behavior, it’s not so surprising that rather than calling for unification he is using this crisis as a diversion from the failing economy, unemployment, coronavirus, and to attack the Democrats and media.

Hearing his claim that ANTIFA is behind the rioting, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is even reasonable. I decided to look into where the protests have turned violent. My research (which is far from complete) has come up with a list of twenty-two cities currently with violent protests:

• Atlanta, GA (Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) Mayor)

• Bakersfield, CA (Karen Goh (R) Mayor)

• Boston, MA (Marty Walsh (D) Mayor)

• Chicago, IL (Lori Lightfoot (D) Mayor)

• Columbus, OH (Andrew Ginther (D) Mayor)

• Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX (Eric Johnson (D)/Betsy Price (R) Mayors)

• Des Moines, IA (Frank Cownie (D) Mayor)

• Denver, CO (Michael Hancock (D) Mayor)

• Detroit, MI (Mike Duggan (D) Mayor)

• District of Columbia (Muriel Bowser (D) Mayor)

• Houston, TX (Sylvester Turner(D) Mayor)

• Los Angeles, CA (Eric Michael Garcetti (D) Mayor)

• Louisville, KY (Greg Fisher (D) Mayor)

• Memphis, TN (Jim Strickland (D) Mayor)

• Minneapolis, MN (Jacob Frey (D) Mayor)

• New York, NY (Bill de Blasio (D) Mayor)

• Phoenix, AZ (Kat Gallego (D) Mayor)

• Portland, OR (Ted, Wheeler (D) Mayor)

• Sacramento, CA (Darrell Steinberg (D) Mayor)

• San Jose, CA (Sam Liccardo (D) Mayor)

• Sioux Falls, SD (Paul TenHaken (R) Mayor)

A striking pattern becomes clear with this list. Of the twenty-two mayors, twenty (over ninety percent) have Democratic mayors. If the left were behind these violent demonstrations, it seems suspicious that they would target Democratically lead cities. Either way, though, clearly ANTIFA is not a group to worry about because if, indeed, it is this movement, they don’t have the intelligence to be of concern anyway.

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