Yesterday morning my cell phone gave me the unpleasant news that two Republican members of the House of Representatives had been shot while practicing baseball. Since then it has been instructive, and more than a little bit alarming, what sort of information about the shooting has been spread based upon the ideological bias of the news source. At work, a couple of my more “progressive” coworkers joked about the fact that the shooter had died, with the implication that there was some kind of improper conduct on the part of police . Given the violence with which the shooter acted, it should be little surprise if he was unwilling to cease when an attempt at arrest was made. What was striking, though, is that those news sources I receive which slant towards the right were very clear on proclaiming the fact that the shooter had been a left-wing progressive supporter of Bernie Sanders, which was not spoken of at all in those sources which I view as slanted towards the left. Nor was there any self-searching on the part of left-wing activists that the “summer of resistance” that they have promised may be an encouragement to violence against those of us who are of different political worldviews.
It should come as no surprise that I find this to be somewhat alarming. It is an article of faith among left-wingers that our current president is hopelessly corrupt involving Russia. For the most part, this narrative has continued more or less without ceasing since election day, since there is still a denial that a free and fair election would have led to the outcome that occurred. Over the course of my life there have been seven American presidents, and suffice it to say that there are at least a couple of them that I have not been very fond of and none of whom I thought to be above reproach in at least some fashion. A nation like ours is going to oscillate between candidates who represent one point of view and another, given the high degrees of partisan divide within our country and the uncertain nature of the independent votes in key areas of the United States that regularly decide elections. Given my lack of fondness for the overall political scene, I view it as immensely troubling that there are some people that appear interested in solving our nation’s prolonged political crisis by violence.
For the record, I do not think this will work. The adoption of violent tactics by the revolutionary left merely legitimizes the inevitable violence that will follow from an increasingly authoritarian right. I do not say this as a supporter of such trends, but rather I wish to point out that the fastest way to make America (or any other nation) into a fascist or militaristic state is for the defeated partisans of left-wing politics to take up political terrorism in order to attempt to destabilize a state. Those who take up bullets because they cannot triumph at the ballot box are conceding their political illegitimacy, and also legitimizing whatever repressive laws and violence fall on their own heads along with those who happen to be caught up in the net. That is the way it has ever been throughout history. Those who fancy the United States as a nation where left-wing political terror has a chance of winning hearts and minds are deeply mistaken, which is probably why there appears to be a dual track by which such violence is undertaken by partisans of the left but the news sources refuse to cover it so that it does not provoke a strong reaction among those people considered unaligned at present, or at least weakly enough aligned with the left that a turn towards political violence would lead them to recoil in disgust and horror.
As is often the case when it comes to political terror, it is worthy of note that this particular act of violence on duly elected and legitimate representatives occurred on one of our nation’s minor holidays, Flag Day. Given the connection between Flag Day and the larger question of patriotism and loyalty to our republican order, governed by the rule of law, the attack was almost certainly a highly symbolic one. Was it the action of a lone wolf who happened to have nutty left-wing political beliefs? Was it promoted among cells of left-wing activists seeking to plunge the United States into some sort of anarchy where our elected leadership either can no longer function or is provoked into acting in an authoritarian fashion to validate the overheated rhetoric of the resentful left. Speaking as someone who values my freedoms and enjoys living largely free of unpleasant surprise visits from secret police wondering about my political views and my willingness to obey the law, I do not view this sort of false dilemma between the radical left and the repressive right as being very personally appealing.
Permit me to be blunt. As someone whose political beliefs are definitely right of the middle but who is by no means an extremist, and someone who strives to maintain high standards of personal morality while also having a belief in the importance of justice and equity with regards to freedom of opportunity and freedom from prejudice, and as someone who is part of a religious minority and fairly high on the list of people who are unwelcome in totalitarian regimes on account of being annoyingly prolific as a writer, neither anarchy nor repression are appealing to me. Like most people, I want to live at peace, free to live as I wish and worship as I wish in the knowledge that living according to my standards and habits will not bring suffering and misery to others, nor exploit the vulnerable. In light of my fundamental commitment to decency and honor in my dealings with other people, I find the rising mood of violence and hostility to be decidedly unwelcome. I wish to live free and at peace with others, so far as it depends on me. I want to find happiness in love, success in my business dealings, and the honor and respect that comes from being an articulate and well-informed person who seeks to serve others with my God-given talents and abilities. This should not be too much to ask for, or an unreasonable request to make of any who would fancy themselves to be worthy of being considered as fellow neighbors and citizens.
 See, for example: