Whether we call them patriots or radicals or activists, the underlying morality of fighting against oppressive power structures and civil-rights infringements does not change. Branding those who do as terrorists and thugs, however, is a favorite trick of the federal government. So why are liberals now encouraging such state propaganda? Why are they doing the work of the very people who would just as soon use these mandates against racial and religious minorities?Do the social justice warriors really want to create powers that a President Trump would gleefully use against their mascots? The dynamic of protest used to be more subtle.
For a brief moment in the 1960s, black organizers and student protesters had started trying to rally poor and rural whites around shared causes. But as [Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution] makes clear, this kumbaya moment didn't play too well with authorities. They were too invested in stoking race and class tension for their own political gains.Just as one would expect of the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon years.
Portraying citizens fighting for their rights as terrorists and extremists is part of the fundamental work of the police state. That so many on the left should now do it so willingly shows how deep tribalism and fear of the other run.Some lowlives make less appealing mascots than do others.
Like the family at the heart of Making a Murderer, the Malheur protesters may not be comprised of the most culturally sophisticated or socially sympathetic people. They might keep to themselves. Use uncool or unsavvy language. Hold some views on race or sexual orientation that folks find unpalatable or even abhorrent. They might be the kind of people that many would label "white trash," and this makes it easy for respectable types to dismiss their claims of mistreatment. Who wants to stick up for people like that?Boutique multiculturalism, much environmental advocacy, and the entire latte-sipping, Prius-driving, NPR-listening, wine-snobbing cultural complex has always been about the aesthetics. Including marginalizing people who don't adopt those affectations.
But of course there's no good-person clause to the Constitution. There need be nothing redeeming in someone's personal beliefs for them to deserve fair treatment under the law. We all deserve that, no matter what our politics are. And we all lose when we let aesthetic and ideological differences obscure that basic American truth.