At a Black Lives Matter rally the other day in support of the mobs of looters in downtown Chicago, BLM activists spoke an inconvenient truth:
For the hard left in America now, as it was in France long ago, there is political utility in violence.
Violence of rhetoric, as in Seattle the other day, with BLM telling white people to give up their homes and their wallets to people of color, according to the New York Post.
And violence in raw form in Chicago, where BLM organizer Ariel Atkins supported the looting as “reparations.”
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” Atkins said. “This is reparations. Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”
That was the money quote that defines Operation Chaos, as far as many homeowners, taxpayers and merchants see it.
While national Democrats avoid condemning BLM — silence is consent, and they don’t want to alienate the driving force for their party’s November election chances — not all local Democrats agree.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot righteously and loudly condemned the looting that devastated downtown as an organized criminal enterprise. She rightly said it was not a free-speech issue, but it was crime that was destroying her city. Since the violence that overtook legitimate George Floyd protests, Lightfoot, like other liberal big-city Democratic mayors, has repeatedly been mugged by reality.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a man of the left, also condemned the looting, as did other local Democrats. Some liberal writers, including some colleagues, condemned Atkins’ comments as well.
Yet some pundits and posters on social media sought to mitigate the horrific looting spree — the second in a couple of months in Chicago — through their own leftward-looking prism. It was pathetic and predictable. Some viewed the looting as almost understandable, a conflict between those with wealth and those without. And others blamed the media, particularly TV news, for reinforcing stereotypes by depicting Black looters.
By defending the lawlessness, BLM might as well put a “Trump 2020” sign over their heads. Because that’s what they’ve done, and the apologists only help them.
In following up her comments in a later interview with WBEZ, Atkins amplified the inconvenient truth for Democrats: that their shock troops clearly see violence as the answer.
“I think that those people (critics) are forgetting the way that history has ever worked,” Atkins said. “The way that history has worked, the way that we’ve ever gotten wins, has never been through peaceful protests alone, and I will say with quotes, ‘peaceful protests.’ Winning has come through revolts. Winning has come through riots. Winning has come through constant, constant work.”
Radicals of both sides live off grievances that aren’t addressed. And Black Lives Matter, as expressed by Atkins, has taken advantage of that. But here’s the thing about legitimizing political violence.
It starts off as politics. But then politics are forgotten as human beings give in to rage. People are broken like so many eggs. When blood gets in their eyes, they can’t see clearly. But they still can hate.
While much of the focus has been on rationalizations for the looting, the violence did some horrible things to innocent human beings.
Like the parents of seriously ill children at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago. It is a place of sanctuary and peace for families, a place to sleep and rest as they take turns at the hospital bedsides of their seriously ill children.
What happened was disgusting.
As looters raged early Monday morning, a group with hammers attacked the Ronald McDonald House, smashing windows to pieces, smashing doors.
There was no security breach, Lisa Mitchell, vice president of programming, told me.
No one got in.
But parents at nearby hospitals, like Lurie Children’s Hospital, were contacted and told to stay in place for their safety. And parents at Ronald McDonald House were told to stay in the facility.
And the looters raged outside, and the parents could see the police lights flashing. Some heard the hammers on the windows. Others heard the screaming and the sirens outside. In-laws and grandparents began calling as they, too, watched the news of chaos and they, too, were afraid, with reason.
Think of it.
If you’ve ever had a child in the hospital, you know the feeling of fear and panic building inside of you.
And add to that looting mobs that prevent you reaching your child’s bedside or getting a much-needed few hours’ sleep. And later you hear the rationalizations of a political actor telling you that history works that way.
It was violence visited upon those parents, and siblings at home who were aware of it, and other family members.
“At Ronald McDonald House, we offer them calm, peace, a sanctuary with so much going on in their lives,” Mitchell said. “And we continued to do that with what was going on outside. But they didn’t need that added stress. They didn’t need that.”
No, they did not need it. And they did not deserve that hammer pounding on their hearts.
But they got it anyway.
Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast with John Kass and Jeff Carlin — at www.wgnradio.com/category/wgn-plus/thechicagoway.
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