Freedom of speech, not hate
President Donald Trump continues to be criticized, often in harsh terms, for suggesting earlier this month that white supremacists and neo-Nazis, while disgusting to true Americans, are not alone in using violence against those who disagree with them.
Former Vice President Joe Biden actually claims Trump’s comments have “emboldened white supremacists.” If so, the bigots are even less intelligent than one may have supposed previously. Regardless of anything the president may say, we know of no community’s residents, anywhere in the United States, willing to tolerate acts of violence by the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis or any similar group.
So if they are “emboldened,” the bigots should think again.
Nevertheless, excusing those with other extremist agendas from blame for violence is a mistake. That was demonstrated Sunday in Berkeley, Calif.
There, a “Rally Against Hate” was held Sunday. It drew about 2,000 participants, most intent on making a peaceful statement.
Then, more than 100 black-clad, hooded people who identified themselves as anarchists joined the crowd, targeting a small group of right-wing protesters.
Reporters chronicled the anarchists’ assault. They attacked at least four people, according to The Associated Press. Their ferocity was such that police had to use a smoke bomb to drive them away from one man they had attacked.
Earlier in the day, another group of left-wing protesters, also dressed in black, assaulted three men in a park. They kicked and punched the men until police went to their rescue.
There was no report of the right-wing protesters doing anything to bring on the attacks.
Ironically, some of the anarchist thugs were carrying shields on which they had written, “No hate.”
Here in the United States of America, we believe in freedom of speech. We do not accept violence of any sort as a means of silencing those with whom we disagree.