Democrats’ Hypocrisy on Political Violence Runs Deep

After the Civil War, the Democratic Party (with the notable exception of the Ku Klux Klan) had renounced employing domestic terrorism, armed insurrection, and political violence as tools for advancing their agenda. This nearly unanimous bipartisan consensus between Republicans and Democrats prevailed for around 100 years, throughout syndicalists and anarchists bombings and assassinations, including of President William McKinley. It prevailed up through the Puerto Rican nationalists’ 1950 assassination attempt on President Harry Truman, which claimed the life of White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt; and the 1954 attack in the U.S. House Chamber, which wounded five representatives, including the Hon. Alvin Barkley (R-Mich.).

In each instance, the overwhelming majority of the country supported the convictions under law of these terrorists. And, of course, the same was true with regard to the perpetrators of the political violence that took the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Kennedy brothers.

But as the Baby Boomers came of age and the Vietnam War raged, the consensus regarding political violence, armed insurrection, and domestic terrorism began to change. While the overwhelming majority of anti-war protestors were non-violent, there emerged a group of leftist domestic terrorists and violent insurrectionists—many of them the privileged spawn of well-to-do parents—bent upon the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, which they deemed a fascistic, imperialistic empire. 

Inured with a sense of entitlement and purblind by the false “revelations” of their communistic ideology, they used the war as justification for pursuing their political goals by any means they considered expedient—including armed robbery, bombings, and murder. Many of the members of left-wing domestic terrorist organizations—like the Weather Underground (which bombed a police station, the Pentagon, and the Capitol) and the May 19th communist organization (which also bombed the Capitol)—were arrested and convicted; others beat the rap due to the authorities violating laws protecting defendants’ rights, which are not usually found in fascistic, imperialistic empires.

Excusing, Condoning, Rewarding

In the aftermath of America’s involvement in Vietnam, the public soul-searching over issues related to the unpopular conflict, such as war crimes, the status of draft dodgers, and the rectitude of deferments, resulted in a collective moral lassitude. America wanted to move on from the Vietnam War, and the personal, familial, and national conflicts it created. And few had more reasons to want the past forgotten or rewritten than America’s domestic terrorists, armed insurrectionists, and other practitioners of political violence.

The first harbinger of the reality that these domestic terrorists and armed insurrectionists could evade the full—or, in some cases, any—punishment for their crimes occurred when President Jimmy Carter (who also granted clemency to draft dodgers) pardoned the four Puerto Rican nationalists who had wounded five U.S. Representatives in the House chamber. It was a precedent for pardoning domestic terrorists that was followed by both of his Democratic successors—Bill Clinton, who commuted the sentence for explosives and weapons of Susan Rosenberg; and Barack Obama, who commuted the sentence for seditious conspiracy, attempted robbery, explosives, and vehicle theft of Oscar Lopez Rivera.

This was a critical step in the Democratic Party’s capitulation to the radical Left’s support—excusing, condoning, and ultimately rewarding political violence and domestic terrorism. 

Today, Democrats have shredded the bipartisan agreement against political violence, armed insurrection, and domestic terrorism.

Democrats have not only excused extremist left-wing political violence, armed insurrection, and domestic terrorism, they’ve also encouraged and abetted it.

Democratic elected officials told mobs to target for harassment Trump Administration and GOP elected officials openly and in public—this even after the shooting of U.S. House Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and the attack on Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). And lest anyone forget, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) engaged in inciteful, threatening language during a Supreme Court proceeding, specifically targeting Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Never Mind Those Riots

The Democrats have also commended and encouraged the not-so-peaceful riots roiling America’s cities from the summer to the present, while simultaneously endorsing the actions of local Democratic officials who have refused to stop the violence, including acts of violent insurrection by left-wing extremists outside U.S. government facilities. Moreover, Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have established and contributed to bail funds for rioters unlucky enough to have been arrested. Even then, many Democratic district attorneys have refused to enforce the law against those arrested for rioting and looting. 

In fact, Democrats reject the term “rioters” calling it “derogatory” and “racist.” For Democrats, nothing solves a problem like censoring a noun.

This is not the only language the Democrats have corrupted to “contextualize”—i.e., excuse and justify—political violence, armed insurrection, and domestic terrorism. Bombing a building is “extreme vandalism”; and arson and other property damage during a “mostly peaceful protest” isn’t really a crime, and can always be covered by insurance.

By redefining what constitutes violence, Democrats also then redefined “terrorism” by limiting the people victimized by political violence. Now, they argue terrorism isn’t terrorism if random members of the public aren’t killed. This misses the point that not only are the murdered (and, yes, the looted and burned out) victims of political terrorism, the entire citizenry is the target and the victim.

Terrorism—domestic or otherwise—is the use of political violence to intimidate a populace in order to effectuate the criminal practitioners’ desired political change. Thus, the Democrats’ Orwellian list grows in real-time, as events on the ground require. (In fact, “Orwellian” has only just recently been corrupted to mean the exact opposite of what George Orwell meant.)

Systematic Rehabilitation

One need not take at face value this argument about the Democrats’ double standards on domestic terrorism and political violence. All one needs to do is look at how Democrats systematically rehabilitate and reward domestic terrorists, armed insurrectionists, and practitioners of political violence—that is, of course, only if the crimes occur to advance a “progressive” agenda.

As David Horowitz has advised, “discover the networks.” One can see how the pardon power can commence the process of rehabilitating domestic terrorists, armed insurrectionists, and practitioners of political violence. Yet, though direct revolutionary action is time-consuming, domestic terrorists still have to eat; and the older ones feel the need to retire from the more physically demanding blows against the fascist regime. (Bomb-making becomes more arduous when one has only two remaining fingers due to past errors.) For these radicals, Democratic institutions are there to reward them with academic sinecures, foundation positions, book deals, and other forms of remuneration based upon their fellow leftists’ fawning adulation.

While there exists a regrettable plethora of examples, consider this timely one: Once Bill Clinton commuted her sentence and after having spent time in academia, today former May 19th Communist organization member Susan Rosenberg serves as vice-chairman of the board of directors of Thousand Currents. One of the clients that Thousand Currents handles the administration for and raises money on behalf of is . . . Black Lives Matter. 

For their part, Republicans, populists, and conservatives have consistently and roundly condemned domestic terrorism, political violence, and armed insurrection, be it practiced by extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the militia movement, the Aryan Brotherhood, Posse Comitatus, and far too many others—and not just when GOP lawmakers were targeted for assassination by a Bernie Sanders supporter. (Spare us the handful of loons who prove the rule; and the repeatedly debunked Charlottesville lie.)

Republicans, populists, and conservatives demand both right-wing and left-wing domestic terrorists and all practitioners of political violence be prosecuted and punished. And they certainly don’t excuse or “contextualize” these criminal insurrectionists, and reward them with tenure and book contracts.

Straight-Up Cynicism

But for Democrats, the end justifies the means; thus, in their warped world view, anyone who engages in political violence to advance left-wing causes—by definition—cannot be an extremist, domestic terrorist, armed insurrectionist, or practitioner of political violence. 

Small wonder why Republicans, populists, and conservatives—who immediately renounced the Capitol riots—are wary of the Democrats’ attempts to define “domestic terrorism” and “extremism.” Bluntly, they know the Biden Administration of their fellow Democrats will only use these redefinitions to construct a narrative pretext for continuing the weaponization of the federal government against those who dissent from the radical Left’s agenda—whether they be violent or peaceful. 

But it is clear one group will not be affected: extreme left-wing domestic terrorists, armed insurrectionists, and practitioners of political violence. Again, to Democrats these are not organizations but ideas—like chupacabras—that exist only in the fevered delusions of Republicans, populists, and conservatives who are, by leftist definition, extreme racist white supremacists and eventual domestic terrorists. After all, Trump was a dictator worse than Hitler, no?

Really, who in their right minds would let Democrats unilaterally redefine the terms “domestic terrorism,” “extremism,” or any other terminology? After all, there is a reason Republicans don’t wear t-shirts emblazoned with the image of Augusto Pinochet; but Democrats do wear t-shirts emblazoned with the image of Che Guevara. Republicans renounce all political violence; Democrats only renounce political violence when it opposes their agenda. Given the political “thought reform” slated to take place in the military, it shouldn’t take much to intuit the next logical step in the Democrats’ cynically selective embrace of political violence.

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About Thaddeus G. McCotter

An American Greatness contributor, the Hon. Thaddeus G. McCotter (M.C., Ret.) represented Michigan’s 11th Congressional district from 2003 to 2012 and served as Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee. Not a lobbyist, he is a frequent public speaker and moderator for public policy seminars, and a Monday co-host of the "John Batchelor Show" among sundry media appearances.

Photo: Chris Polk/FilmMagic

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