McAuliffe’s Progressive Government Riot

For over a century, police and military have been used successfully to contain possible violence between demonstrators and their opponents in our communities. Everyone knows how it works. One hardly need reinvent the wheel to support the conduct of decent civil demonstrations.

By simply interposing a police cordon between the opposing factions and some space, in labor marches in the 1930s, civil rights marches in the 1950s and 1960s, and anti-Vietnam war demonstrations, violence is minimized.

But in some cases, by an express act of government, the cordon was removed, and the Ford goons descended upon the UAW demonstrators, racist whites aided by police attacked civil rights marchers, and hard hats fought anti-war protesters. This was carefully masked by a gutless media dutifully spreading the word that the riots in Detroit were caused by “Communist agitators” who also were supposedly behind the “un-American” civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War demonstrators.

Let’s not kid ourselves. These riots were not simply the result of occasional mistakes by government. They were active political efforts having nothing to do with public safety and designed to cast the demonstrators in a villainous role and government as the valiant defender of the best interests of the public.

They were purely political and totally avoidable, deeply cynical, and anti-democratic. Whatever the demonstrators tried to do to comply with parade registration and regulation was cast aside and all government power was thrown against them while their opponents were spared. The clashes were, in other words, politically desirable by the authorities in question.

So there is nothing new about this pattern of behavior, which has waxed and waned over the past century at the election of government: sometimes intervening on one side, other times providing a level playing field.

What is new is the consistent pattern of anti-constitutional behavior by progressive governments during and in the wake of the Trump election. We have seen repeated removal of police protection by governments in progressive strongholds such as Chicago and San Jose for Trump supporters leading to cancellation of rallies and physical attacks on them by their opponents while the police were ordered to stand idly by.

This standing down in the face of potentially violent confrontations between left-wing activists and whomever happens to be the object of their ire is now policy for progressive government. Few things can be more absurd than seeing University of California President Janet Napolitano, once responsible for the protection of the entire United States as secretary of Homeland Security, pleading herself unable to keep order in a mere 17 square miles of the University of California campus, and allowing the ensuing riots.

Now in progressive Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia, a ragtag group of nostalgic sectionalists time has passed by, with a mixture of delusional white power activists under Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, takes the trouble to comply with all the paperwork and get a proper permit to demonstrate against the removal of memorials to their Confederate heroes, now in the sights of the historical revisionists in power in Charlottesville and Richmond.

Like the Taliban, who destroyed the Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan, or ISIS, which destroyed sites in Baalbek and Nineveh, the only history these fanatics are interested in is the one they are busy reinventing at every level of academia and ramming down the throats of Americans.

So as the ACLU has established, Charlottesville first tried to invalidate the permit for their parade and then withdrew police protection, and then the police directed the disbanding demonstrators directly into a body of counterdemonstrators, more than 10 times their numbers and far more violent.

Up until this conscious choice by Virginia’s state government under progressive Governor Terry McAuliffe and Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, the original demonstrators had been noisy but peaceful. But the “Antifa faction” was weaponized by the progressive government forces in Charlottesville.

Without the local government’s active steps taken to release it, the Antifa was just a competing faction. And it appears that the police had ordered the original demonstrators to cease their demonstration, but did not extend that order to Antifa counterdemonstrators. The progressives in local government did this despite McAuliffe stating his police told him “80 percent of the people here had semi-automatic weapons.” As he pointed out, not a shot was fired. McAuliffe even regarded the death from the car crashing through the crowd an anomaly. “You can’t stop some crazy guy who came here from Ohio and used his car for a weapon,” McAuliffe said. “He was a terrorist.”

So whatever one might think of the motley cause of “Unite the Right” supposedly gathered to defend Confederate statues and reassert “white power,” the Virginia authorities turning loose a far larger component of violent Antifa and their allies on them was bound to cause a major confrontation.

Remember, Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, and the other “Unite the Right” groups have been demonstrating peacefully in Charlottesville for weeks, complete with torchlit parades and no violence.

The difference this time was clear and easy to track. It had nothing to do with actions by “white supremacists” and certainly nothing to do with statements by the president. The progressives in government had decided once again to withdraw the police and let the Antifa storm troopers loose. The degraded press refused to report the clear reality and went forward with the progressives cover story blaming the violence on the “white supremacists.”

For all the blather from McAuliffe about the Unite the Right group being guilty of “terrorism,” if anyone should be denounced, it should be progressive local government for their deliberate and destructive actions. This meltdown of law and order was unnecessary as this unfortunate demonstration was ending as peacefully, if also as stupidly, as it began until the direct intervention of local authorities sparked a catastrophe.


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About Thomas H. Lipscomb

Thomas H. Lipscomb is the founding publisher of Times Books at the New York Times Company and has published many bestsellers. His news reporting has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Sun and other papers. He has written op-eds and reviews for over 40 newspapers from the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal. As a digital entrepreneur he has founded and served as CEO of two public companies based upon his patents. He lives in New York.