One of the good things about liberals is their dedication to calling out bigotry when others have chosen to remain silent. Liberals were the ones who had the courage to speak up – before it became popular — for black civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights. They deserve credit for that.
But liberals aren’t especially good at looking inward, at spotting their own narrow-mindedness. I have the episode at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in mind, the mess involving the boys from a Catholic school in Covington, Kentucky.
Why did so many on the Left – and some on the Right – rush to judgment about what happened? Why were so many liberals so willing to condemn the boys for the confrontation?
Yes, the first video might have given the impression that one of the boys was “smirking” at a 64-year old American Indian who was banging on a ceremonial drum, supposedly hoping to ease the tensions between several opposing factions. Later videos that were longer revealed a more complicated context.
Should the pundits have waited before delivering their guilty verdict on the boys? Of course! But why didn’t they? Was it the rush to be first to show off their white liberal virtue by condemning the boys? Was it a form of liberal bigotry the Left doesn’t like to examine? And why were they less enthusiastic about calling out the Black Israelites who were the real troublemakers – the ones who were shouting anti-white, anti-Native American, and anti-gay epithets at just about everybody?
Let’s just say that condemning bigotry when it comes from a minority group — while not unheard of — isn’t a strong suit of the Left; it kind of violates a certain liberal etiquette.
Were some of the boys rude? They might have been. Did they needlessly do the Tomahawk Chop as a symbolic shot at the Native American, a man named Nathan Phillips? Maybe, though in my mind, it was hardly a big deal.
The boys’ real crime in the eyes of so many liberals was that, as the Wall Street Journal explained it, they checked all the “culturally deplorable boxes” in today’s progressive America: They were white, they were male, they were Christian, they had just attended the annual March for Life, and perhaps most of all, they were guilty of wearing Donald Trump MAGA hats.
When you hate Donald Trump as much as the elite Left does, wearing one of his hats is pretty much a crime against humanity.
Reza Aslan, the best-selling author, tweeted that Nick Sandmann, the high school junior who calmly stood face to face with the Indian had a “punchable face.” Howard Dean, the former Democratic Party chief and presidential candidate, said Covington Catholic is “a hate factory.” Another progressive said their personal information – names, addresses and phone numbers – should be made public … presumably so they could be harassed or maybe even punched in the face, or worse.
Liberals need to confront their own problem with stereotypes. They assumed these boys started the whole thing because liberals believe that if you’re white, male, a Christian who opposes abortion and supports Donald Trump, you must be one of the deplorables Hillary Clinton condemned during her presidential campaign.
As for that stare-down between the 64-year old Indian and the teenage boy: Turns out, the student didn’t go out of his way to go head-to-head with the Indian; it was the other way around. The students were waiting for their bus to take them home when the drum-banging Indian and his entourage confronted them.
Let me end with some wise words from that same editorial in the Wall Street Journal, words about the ugliness of righteousness in the wrong hands:
“Most of those who so eagerly maligned these boys will face no lasting consequences, while the boys themselves will always have to wonder when they are turned down for a job or a school, whether someone had Googled their name and found only half this story. This is an ugly moment in America, all right, but there are few things uglier than a righteous leftist mob.”