I’m Okay, You’re Okay — A Practical Guide to Non-Racism for Dummies

The “North County” in which I reside is so resolutely “woke” that an aerial snapshot would likely define the area’s borders by a sort of pointillistic tinting — by dots of canary color, created by an exceptionally dense collection of yellow-and-black yard signs advertising that BLACK LIVES MATTER, as seen from above.

The town offers the requisite marches, speeches, and demonstrations for racial equity, climate justice, grievances against the names of sports mascots, and so on. We established a town committee on racial equity, justice, and inclusion. A popular and competent Town Manager has recently resigned, under pressure and in the midst of generalized accusations of racism.

In response to the forced resignation of this individual, one member of the town’s select board wrote, in part: “I benefit from my whiteness — and I am, by virtue of that whiteness, racist — in ways I will never overcome, no matter how hard I try. And I do try.”

Huh? This select board member is, by all accounts, quite a decent, intelligent, and hardworking person. Nevertheless, that claim is vacuous and sophomoric. In the claim, I hear the influence of Robin DiAngelo (author of “White Fragility”). She’s currently the subject of much swooning on a Facebook page dedicated to town issues, as is Robin’s ideological brother, Ibram X. Kendi. These two brilliant minds assure us that all white people are racist (DiAngelo) and that “no one can claim to ‘not be racist'” (Kendi).

This fashionable poppycock is coming soon to a “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training (indoctrination) session near you – possibly in your public school system… and likely at a nice financial profit for some “diversity trainer.”

The public self-flagellation of our select person is disturbing. Not least, because I am also white, and I am offended by the implicit accusation that, “by virtue of that whiteness,” I (too) am “racist.” As are my (white) children and my (white) nine-month-old grandchildren. By the way, if you are white, you’re a racist, also.

Surely, we as a nation understand that it is a false premise, as well as terribly, terribly corrosive to social unity, to attribute ugly traits to an entire group of humans (any humans), based simply on some immutable characteristic, such as skin color.

To be fair, I wonder if our select board member has thought through the claim. I may be wrong, but I suspect that she does not truly believe, in the secret depths of her heart, that she is racist. Yet, paradoxically, she may strive genuinely and earnestly to believe that she is guilty of that sin, in order to be able to prove by her belief, and by her sincere and faithful attempts to overcome her sin, that she is not racist. Convoluted reasoning, but how else to explain all these good people running around complimenting the Emperor’s beautiful new duds?

Here. Here and now, I will write what is true. Mine is not a fashionable opinion. Nor is my opinion destined to increase my popularity in North County or in today’s American Woke-O-Sphere. So be it. But here it is:

I am white, and I am NOT racist.

I do not close my eyes to the genuine and pernicious existence of racism.

I do fervently support serious efforts to uphold the American promise of equality.

Yet, multiple things can be true at the same time, and I refuse to rend my garments and pretend that my own skin color is an indelible mark of original sin, or to bow my head in shame and pretend that I am somehow “less than” due to my race. I reject the notion that I should be condemned for the rest of my days to (pointless, futile) attempts to (as the quote above notes) “overcome” my bone-deep racism, only to see those well-meaning but pitiful attempts doomed to failure, “no matter how hard I try.”

There. I said it. White, and not doomed to be a racist. “I am white and I’m okay.”

Let me predict with certainty: my words will NOT make it into print on any prominent yard signs in my town.




Joe Biden: Unelectable Naked Ice Cream

On Thursday night I watched ten Democratic contenders debate. Afterwards, I switched from channel to channel, listening in on the all-knowing commentary, and I realized that I must have been watching a rather different show than the one being reviewed and lauded by the blatheriat on CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox. Maybe because, just as Billy Joel can maintain a “New York state of mind,” I was taking it all in with my stubbornly “Indiana state of mind.”

Hoosier that I am, or maybe just because I am dyspeptic, on Thursday night I didn’t see the Pete Buttigieg whom CNN’s Van Jones marveled at as being “magic”or the Pete who was praised by another CNN contributor for his “faith.” I wasn’t lured by the siren “voice” that MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace assured me Beto O’Rourke had “found” – a voice praised by Joy Reid for its “confidence” and authenticity. Much else did I fail to see, although I did find myself wanting to have coffee and a good laugh with Andrew Yang. The guy’s ideas are loopy, but I have the impression that he would be genuinely interested in discussing opposing points of view.

In particular, I didn’t take no particular ʻcount of the Joe Biden whom former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, acting as a CNN commentator, gushed over as an outstanding intellect.

None of the channels I watched on Thursday night even ran what I thought was Biden’s obvious headline moment, although there were muted references to Joe’s having “tired” as the evening had grown late. Friday morning’s Wall Street Journal glancingly mentions that some of Biden’s responses were “halting.” The New York Times waits until the 35th paragraph of a 38-paragraph article specifically devoted to the debate’s “zingers” and “groaners” before making a coy reference to a “curious” “flourish” by Biden that the Times mildly refers to as “meandering.”

My HoosierVision did not see Joe Biden as “meandering.” And I remain flabbergasted and gobsmacked and all a-cattywhompus that none of the chattering class seemed to notice, or at least to acknowledge, the headline moment. Joe’s attention didn’t simply wander or flicker for a moment. He didn’t make a cute little gaffe. Joe Biden was in full-blown early-dementia mode. Or call it what you want, but Grampy’s knittin’ needles ain’t clackin’ like they used to.

Biden was asked about racism and reparations. He began strongly, declaring trenchantly, if debatably: “There is institutional segregation in this country!” (Plays well in Berkeley, but I wonder how it went down in the Midwest.) But Joe then veered into an unintelligible babble about numbers of school psychologists… Then, alarmingly, he fell headlong into a truly bizarre tangent about radios and record players: “Play the radio, make sure the television… make sure you have the record player on at night.”

I cringed for Joe. I wondered who among his staff would be brave enough to give an honest answer to Biden’s sure-to-be post-debate question of “How bad was that?” (Honest answer: “That was weird, nonsensical, and embarrassing.”)

As I cringed and wondered, debate Moderator Linsey Davis threw Biden a lifeline, indicating that his time was up. (It sure is up!) But Clueless Joe persevered. Mr. Biden apparently sensed that the night thus far was low on word salad, so he threw out some chopped nouns and verbs about… Venezuela? No, I’m going to go like the rest of them do, twice over, OK? Because here’s the deal. The deal is that we’ve got this a little backwards. And by the way, in Venezuela, we should be allowing people to come here from Venezuela. I know Maduro. I’ve confronted Maduro. No. 2, you talk about the need to do something in Latin America. I’m the guy that came up with $740 million to see to it those three countries, in fact, change their system so people don’t have to chance to leave. You’re all acting like we just discovered this yesterday! Thank you very much.”

Check out the general consensus of the Anointed, however. They’ll tell you that Thursday’s debate was a win for Joe Biden. For them, the pivotal moment of the debate was a testy exchange between Biden and Julián Castro over health care. I’m not sure why this would be a peak element, because no one actually thinks that Mr. Castro is a serious contender for the nomination. MSNBC and CNN could hardly contain their Biden-Warren-Sanders Delight, overlaid with a dash of Biblical Buttigieg and just a soupçon of the Vocal Beto. Why, it could be the basis for a new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor.

Joe Biden is the naked Emperor now being paraded before a viewing audience that is advised to adore him, because his own coronation and anointing is imminent.

But, I am perversely Midwestern. And in the Midwest, we have a down-to-earth tendency to not only tell emperors who are un-clothed that they are “stark nekkid,” but also to advise in the strongest terms that they go put on a damned pair of overalls!




Progressive Demagogues Play Mafia and Brownshirt Games

It’s a close call, lately, as to whether supposedly responsible adults are playing “Mafia and Shopkeeper” or “Nazis and the Yellow Stars,” but in either case, they are not on the right side of the game, and they have begun to play for keeps.

While I have deplored, in this very column, the facile use of Nazi analogies, I will make my own similar argument here, and let readers decide if the comparison is merited.

Joaquin Castro, who represents San Antonio’s 20th District in Congress, publicly posted the names and businesses of 44 large donors to the Trump campaign. These names are public record, certainly. What is NOT public record is the framing of the list by Castro’s editorial comment that the donors “are fueling a campaign of hate.”

On August 6th, Castro doubled down on his distaste for these “new deplorables” by letting us all know that they can add the sin of “racism” (well, of course… yawn) to their evil of “hate.” (Castro seems not to have noticed that several on the list donated to his own campaign as well as to Trump’s, but I suppose it is left to his Twitter followers to sort through the carnage of his blast and to understand that Castro, himself, is morally pure.)

MSNBC host Willie Geist pressed Castro on his motive for publishing the list – which includes, as Geist pointed out, names of eleven retirees and one homemaker. Geist asked the obvious question regarding the donors: “What do you want from them?” Castro practically batted his dewy eyes as he assured Geist that he didn’t want anyone to be “targeted or harassed.” Oh, sure!

Castro, all innocent, insisted that no particular ill consequence should or would follow publication of the names. Why, golly gee, Willie, he pointed out, “They’re already public. They’re already out there.” Which, of course, brings us precisely back to the original question: Given that the information is “already out there,” “already public,” then what, exactly, was the point of his sensationalized calling of attention to it? What did he hope to accomplish thereby?

Castro hoped, of course, to slap a yellow star of shame on Trump donors.

Back in Nazi Germany, everyone “knew” who the Jews in the community were. That information was “already out there, already public.” But it was useful to formally designate the category with a specific sign: a badge of dishonor.

The yellow stars of the Third Reich officially were simple identification: Their purpose was [officially] a neutral one. Who could object to a Jew being identified as what he or she was, after all? Or, as MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski said in defense of Castro’s list: “If you’re proud of funding President Trump, you need to understand that that will be public information.”

The true intent of the yellow stars, of course, was to humiliate the Jews, and to mark them out for segregation and discrimination. To shame them. It is significant to note that the LA Times’ Michael Holtzik and the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin explicitly “defend” the calling out of those who support Trump as “sham[ing] them” or marking them as behaving “shamefully.”  The stigmatization is justified because, after all, the shame is deserved. (Trying to hide your Star of David? What?!? Not proud to be a Jew?!? Never mind that we have cleverly imbued the Star with all manner of negative associations.)

The yellow stars also served a subtle psychological purpose: The physical stars gave an official, governmental imprimatur to personal bias. What had been, prior to Hitler’s regime, one’s individual anti-Semitism, became legitimized by visible, bureaucratic documentation: One’s personal loathing was not only approved by the state, but was virtually required by the state.

Joaqin Castro has, with his publication of names, used the implied authority of his governmental office to officially mark certain citizens – his own constituents – as meriting segregation, shame, and discrimination. He has explicitly linked them to “fueling hate” and to “racism.” And Representative Castro also blithely tied his list of donors to an outright massacre. He said: “They’re giving their money to this guy… We saw the cost of that in El Paso over the weekend. People died.” It makes me very, very nervous to see a demagogue blame a group of people, those whom he personally loathes, for deaths and destruction they neither planned nor condoned. (Hitler, you know, successfully convinced many Germans that the Jews were somehow responsible for their nation’s defeat and the pointless deaths of World War I.)

What else does Castro want? Boycotts of businesses, obviously. (I will skip any comparison to Kristallnacht and its prequel boycotts as being perhaps a reach too far for now.)

What other businesses, not on Castro’s list, are targets of boycotts by progressives? Well, it’s hard to say what businesses aren’t so targeted.

Most recently and famously, businesses owned by Stephen Ross are facing a boycott. (Equinox Fitness, SoulCycle, etc.) Mr. Ross has violated the conscience of the progressives by – wait for it! – raising funds for Donald Trump. That cannot be allowed.

MSNBC regular guest Elie Mystal made a truly bizarre appearance on that network, calling for an unimaginatively thuggish attack on the home of Mr. Ross. (Now we are genuinely approaching a Kristallnacht Lite, alas!) Mystal’s threat was couched this way: “I’ve been to the Hamptons; it’s very nice. There’s no reason it has to be. There’s no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house.”

Elie Mystal bore an eerie physical resemblance to boxing promoter Don King. (Really. Google it.) But his rhetoric resembled that of maybe Don Fanucci – you know, the “Just enough to wet my beak!” Black Hand padrone who preens his way through “Godfather II.”

Nice little town you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

Apparently, MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who possesses the general shrewdness of a poached egg, did not quite perceive the threat behind the veil. Mystal offered a risible fig leaf, saying that this protest would be an attempt (merely) to “[make] their voices peacefully understood.” Hayes fawned, in response: “Totally. There have been peaceful protests outside Mitch McConnell‘s house.”

Oopsie! Forgot two quite relevant points!

First, Hayes apparently forgot that Mystal had mentioned, in passing, regarding this “peaceful” protest: “I want pitchforks and torches outside this man’s house in the Hamptons.” (Yep. “Pitchforks and torches.” That’s a direct quote.)

Second, Hayes must have forgotten that the “peaceful protests outside [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s house” involved a rather ugly mob, including one protester who is clearly heard on tape exulting that McConnell is recovering from a fractured shoulder, and wishing that McConnell had “broken his little, raggedy, wrinkled-ass neck” and another protester who convincingly rages that someone should “just stab the mother-f***er in the heart.”

Joaqin Castro claims that he has done nothing in particular – merely provided names that are “already public.” Although he did add the gravitas of his position to said publication, and just happened to link said names to “hate,” “racism,” and a recent massacre. And, by association, stained all Trump donors with that ugly invective. But, y’know, his hands are clean. He is only making speeches. And slinging tar. Not his fault if the masses become all riled up – and if those riled masses then boycott Bill Miller BBQ, Historic Pearl, local San Antonio realtors, etc. Not his fault if the long knives come out.

Elie Mystal wants nothing but a peaceful protest. You know – like the happy kum-bah-yah moment at Mitch McConnell’s house. The one where everybody linked arms, handed out a few leaflets, politely exchanged views, then ripped each other’s mother-f***ing hearts out with rusty, raggedy-ass pitchforks.

Nice little democracy we have going, here. Civil and tolerant. Sure be a shame if anything happened to it.




Progressives Embrace the Legacy of General George S. Patton

CBS Broadcasting’s resident curmudgeon Andy Rooney once observed: “I hate to say it, but I had a great time in World War II.”

No matter what all the Miss America contestants burble regarding their lofty goals for eternal World Peace, it may be that the average person longs – consciously or otherwise – for a refreshing, purifying, clarifying round of Good Guys versus Bad Guys.

One group that reliably does not secretly wish for war has always been the men (mostly men) who have actually participated in physical combat: a messy, confusing, impure affair; never carried out to a script; and always designed by the enemy to really, truly kill you and your two best buddies, sometimes by gruesomely imaginative methods, and always for keeps.

I will not debate here whether or not the typical human being is predisposed towards war, as philosophers, sociologists, theologians, and others-not-Andy-Rooney have theorized. Or whether we are at least predisposed towards conflict. I will note, without fear of credible rebuttal, that the typical human being — and perhaps above all the typical political being — is strongly motivated to view him or herself as a Good Guy. And in the case of politicians, they are by definition creatures who are part of an “Us” that requires a “Them.” A “Them” to be voted against. Those Bad Guy “Others” who justify the actions of a politician’s own right-thinking, superior, power-deserving group.

So, “We” are “Good” and “They” must be otherwise. Bad. Simple and logical. It’s the same impulse that, in a more benign form, causes otherwise perfectly normal people to come to actual blows over some sporting event.

In my opinion, the current young’uns, those who are young Baby Boomers and subsequent generations, long for their own righteous struggle.

Many of us never had a chance to march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge or to jeer George Wallace. But we know for sure that we would have been on the right side of that fight. And quite naturally we long for the moral clarity of fighting loathsome segregationists and the KKK.

Probably the single most ultimately satisfying triumph of Good over Evil in our own cultural memory is World War II. But the great majority of us now alive did not see or experience that war in real time or real life – which is a blessing. But… But…

Decades after the end of World War II, the keenly self-aware Andy Rooney remarked of war, with a mixture of honesty, disquiet, and nostalgia: “If you weren’t killed or wounded, it was an exhilarating time of life.”

I think that the current crop of Democratic Young Stars and Presidential Wannabes are becoming addicted to the exhilaration of their own War Against Trump.

But here is the thing, the crux, the problem: When all that you have is a hammer, every tool is treated as if it’s a nail. When the two most satisfying, morally clear fights you know of are the archetypes of the Civil Rights struggles and World War II, then every enemy looks like Bull Connor or Adolf Hitler. Every issue tends to be seen as analogous to the endemic, malevolent racism of Jim Crow or to the grotesque horrors of the Nazis.

The War Against Trump is World War II (whether it is or not), with Trump cast as Adolf Hitler. (Amusingly, Trump as “Hitler” then casts the most dogged of his own self-declared enemies as the most unstoppable, the slogging “Big Red One” 1st Infantry, infamously led by the bombastic General George S. Patton, Jr.)

The progressives seem to have become unable to look at a situation that bothers them (or that may benefit an opponent) outside of the paradigm of either “It’s Racist!” or “It’s the Nazis!”

Did a few kids steal a couple bottles of wine from a grocery store in Oberlin, Ohio? Well, it would be convenient if the villains in this scene were Bull Connor and a vicious German shepherd. However, lacking that option, the fifth-generation owners of a local candy shop will do: They must be vile racists, with a long history of racial bias and racial profiling, who unjustly accused innocent [black] students of shoplifting. Don’t bother other students or the Oberlin College deans with any facts – it feels so lovely to be righteous and Good, and to fight against those evil Others… the malicious, racist purveyors of baked goods and assorted sweets.

When it comes to the Democratic party, former Vice President Joe Biden (known to slap down a race card or two himself), has found that the progressives eat their own. All that was necessary to bring out the Jacobins was for Mr. Biden to praise himself for his long-ago legislative work, carried out in a civil manner with two professional colleagues who held personally repugnant views. Such a history of cooperation is, according those who prefer themselves to Mr. Biden in the 2020 Democratic Presidential contest: Racist!

Working across the aisle is not “cooperation”; it is “collaboration.” And remember what happened to collaborators after World War II ended? If the collaboration was minor – for example, that of a girl who had attached herself to a German boyfriend – the collaborator might be dragged into the streets to be heckled, shaved bald, scratched, and spit on. If the collaboration was worse, the punishment was much bloodier and deadlier.

The long list of racist incidents and policies that are not truly so (Jussie Smollett, I’m looking at YOU! Kim Foxx, likewise!) of course diminishes legitimate claims of racism. And the list of politicians, academics, journalists, celebrities, and people who should generally know better, all of whom have compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, and compared his policies to those of the Nazis and the Third Reich, is itself so long that the list has achieved a state of banality. I yawn to read House Whip James Clyburn froth and warn that “[Trump] and his family are the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime.” (Clyburn was born five years before the end of World War II and four years before Hitler’s death. Hyperbole much?)

Naturally, the usual suspects have set their hair on fire about Trump being Adolf Hitler. CNN’s Don Lemon recently took his Trump-is-Hitler fatuity to such an extreme that even Chris Cuomo had to admonish the guy, on-air. The only mildly interesting sideshows come to light when arguably responsible adults, such as Harvard Law School’s Lawrence Tribe, join the frenzy. Mr. Tribe recently indulged in a comparison of Hitler’s and Trump’s shared “physical and behavioral resemblances.” (What? He left out Charlie Chaplin?)

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no student of government or history. (She thought that she would be “inaugurated” into Congress and couldn’t wait to start “signing bills.”) But she does understand enough about history to appreciate the one compelling battle in which there was a thoroughgoing Bad Guy against whom to mount a genuine Resistance.

Thus it isn’t surprising that A.O.C. glibly and quite seriously called ICE detention centers “concentration camps.” Several handy hints for the Congresswoman when she might be attempting to distinguish between an ICE facility and an actual concentration camp: (1) Did the detainees arrive voluntarily, after crossing deadly swaths of arid land to reach the facility? Or were the inmates transported to the camp against their will? (2) Does any part of the daily routine involve hours-long roll calls in sub-zero cold, deaths resulting? (3) Can any inmate be casually shot for approaching the barbed wire? (4) Does the facility provide baby formula? Or are the infants generally burned in specialized brick ovens?

Some politicians may lack an adequate education, and they therefore fall back on easy metaphors such as the Civil Rights Movement and The Greatest Generation / The Axis Powers. Some other politicians and leaders may be lazy, so they likewise rely on the same facile metaphors. For others, perhaps it is just outright impossible to resist imagining that they are the brave young men who are storming the beaches of Normandy – and who survive, of course. Heroically.

I hate that this is true, but it is: I am sorry and alarmed to say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her buddies seem to be having a great time in World War II.




“Fire!” in Our Bill of Rights

When I was in Mrs. Kurkowski’s third-grade class, we studied a quaint subject that might now be called “Civics,” including the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The concepts had to be simplified a bit for third-graders.

I was fascinated with the idea that in the United States, I was legally allowed to stand on any public street corner and denounce the sitting President of the United States. Insult him. Hand out written flyers ranting about his incompetence and cronyism. I could call him a Poopy-Head if I liked.

No, I wasn’t allowed to make threats against the President (this, the Secret Service tends to frown on). And, as a practical matter, my parents would have quickly put paid to any radical schemes I hatched that involved standing around on street corners, handing out firebrand leaflets.

All the same, this was my elementary-school understanding of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. And that understanding has not changed to this day. I used to try to impress upon my middle- and high-school students the utter, astonishing exceptionality of our American right to Freedom of Speech in this way. “If you like,” I would say, “You can run down to Spring Street and scream outlandish insults about the President of the United States! Just think of that!” (They yawned.)

But I am worried, now, about our First Amendment. I am genuinely and deeply afraid for our cherished American right to Freedom of Speech.

Leftists aren’t willing to attack Freedom of Speech directly. That would be un-American and un-thinkable. So certain leftists have engaged in very clever guerilla language warfare.

Here’s how it works:  Speech is re-defined as Hate. “Hate Speech” becomes conflated with violence. Any Speech that a leftist doesn’t like (disagrees with/is made uncomfortable by/strikes close to home and reveals unpleasant truths) is re-defined as VIOLENCE, rather than as SPEECH. The First Amendment protects Freedom of Speech, but it does not protect against Incitement to Violence or other dangerous acts.

In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on limits to Freedom of Speech (in Schenk v. United States). In an analogy made prior to the Court’s ruling, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting ‘Fire!’ in a theatre and causing a panic.” (Note that Brandenburg v. Ohio effectively overturned Schenck in 1969. But that’s for another day.) The Court holds that speech directed toward inciting or producing imminent lawless action is not protected. Fair enough.

But is speech that someone doesn’t like, or that someone disagrees with or finds unpleasant, is that speech “inciting or producing imminent lawless action”?

Here’s how the game works: Disapproved ideas are labeled as “Hate Speech,” or as “Microaggressions.” (Genuine example of a disallowed “Microaggression”: “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”) Speech, mere words, has become “Hate” and “Aggression.” We as a society have already accepted the concept of “Hate Crimes.” Logical enough that “Hate Speech” and verbal “Aggressions” become defined as types of “Hate Crimes.”

Are you following this? The left is re-defining Speech as “Hate” and as “Incitement to Violence.” Once this re-definition has been accomplished, they are free to complete their end run around the First Amendment. They aren’t limiting Freedom of Speech. They are fighting against Violence!

In the era of Trump, my Massachusetts-based students never seemed to be surprised when I revealed to them that they were free to run to the nearest street corner and insult their President. (Probably there was an after-school club devoted to precisely such an activity.) However, it might come as a bit of a surprise to them to discover that other people are free to disagree with them and their like-minded classmates. What? Aren’t they entitled to “Safe Spaces”?

It certainly might come as a surprise to some politicians and media professionals to discover that disagreement and political commentary are fair game. Because while it’s just fine and dandy to vilify Donald Trump from any given crossroads or any given Congressional Committee, it seems to be un-thinkable to make any observation or comment at all on other, protected Persons.

Observation and comment that used to be simply the rough-and-tumble of political (and academic) life have become… Incitements to violence.

Viz…

Representative Ilhan Omar spoke to the Council on American-Islamic Relations and glossed over the attacks of September 11th by saying the Council was created [she meant the Council’s size was increased] in response, “because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” Many were outraged by the idea that September 11th (next up Pearl Harbor? or the Boston Marathon Bombings?) could be brushed aside as “some people [doing] something.” Donald Trump sent out a tweet that interspersed Ilhan Omar’s own words with graphic images of the violent “something” that terrorists actually did.

Did Representative Omar deliberately downplay the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Did she understand that her words would come off to many as dismissive of these evil acts, to the point of willful ignorance, and also make her appear aloof from the death, pain, horror, and shock? We all choose words poorly at times, and it’s possible that Ilhan Omar is simply too young and too prideful to find a good opportunity to apologize and re-phrase. All the same, her speech, however objectionable to some ears, is protected by our grand First Amendment.

Did Trump show marvelous judgement by tweeting as he did? Should his parents maybe even have pulled him away from that on-line street corner? I’m not making that call. But was his tweet protected speech? I’ll make that call: Absolutely!

Leftist politicians and some media elite, however, are going nuts. This is not protected speech (they screech with a coordinated, chorused voice): Trump’s tweet is an incitement to violence!

Reactions to Trump’s tweet from the elite:

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (a fellow Hoosier and an intellectual, who should know better): “Now, a president uses that dark day to incite his base against a member of Congress, as if for sport. As if we learned nothing that day about the workings of hate.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter: “Omar’s comment was used as a weapon against her, including by President Trump.”

Presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren: “The President is inciting violence against a sitting Congresswoman—and an entire group of Americans based on their religion.” (Nice job to throw religion in there, Liz, even though the tweet utterly failed to touch on religion.)

Presidential candidate John Hickenlooper: “President Trump’s personal attack against Representative Omar is vile and shameful. It’s… dangerous and dishonest.”

Presidential candidate and Senator Cory Booker: “This is a reprehensible attack on her. It’s trying to incite anti-Islamic feelings…” “[Omar] does not deserve [these] kind of vicious, hate filled attacks…” (Booker then goes on to explicitly link “our President’s language” to the recent New Zealand terrorist attacks.)

The Nation (Elie Mystal): “Donald Trump Isn’t Playing Games with Ilhan Omar—He’s Inciting Violence–And he’s going to keep inciting violence until someone gets killed.”

And these are only a few comments, and only regarding one recent controversy.

Be aware, when you hear that speech is “Hate” and an “Incitement.” This is very likely to be a sneak attack on the First Amendment.

Words themselves may be ill-chosen. Speech may be awkward. It may be ugly. Yes, speech may even be vitriolic and hateful – and that is to be despised. Despised, but almost never limited. (Well — maybe limited by your parents and teachers, but not limited by the government, nor by sanctimonious and moralizing media blatherers.)

On Monday, in Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral burned. This great monument of Western Civilization is being described as “the Heart of Paris.” At this very time, in the United States, I truly fear that another of the singular—and irreplaceable–achievements of Western Civilization is in imminent peril.

Let’s not allow the Heart of our Freedoms to burn.