San Francisco awaits its chance for mass virtue-signaling while bashing 'right wingers'
This Saturday, San Franciscans can gather to celebrate their own virtue, while venting some more of their rage – and, for the violence-prone subset, maybe kick some "right wing" butt. Last Saturday, Bostonian Warriors of Virtue got their chance for a lovely day of self-congratulation in the sun, so now it is the Bay Area's turn.
The National Park Service has issued a permit for a rally that is proclaimed to be on the subject of free speech but is universally being portrayed as "right wing," racist, and worse. This despite the fact that nobody involved in speaking or organizing any links to anything of the sort. The site is Crissy Field, a former airstrip, quite accessible, and featuring iconic scenery.
The city is mobilizing its entire police force for the event and probably realizes that like their Boston counterparts last weekend, they may have to evacuate a handful of protesters through a mob intent on bodily harm, that may attack the police with bottles of urine, soda cans full of cement, or maybe something new. So I expect them to be well prepared and, like Boston, put to shame the incompetence or worse of Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe.
But there is a cadre of a few hundred Bay Area violent left-wingers who show up at every opportunity to inflict mayhem. You saw them most recently smashing windows and starting fires at U.C. Berkeley, as they attempted to lynch Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley. But I have seen roughly the same group of people showing up for years every time a chance arises to protest something or other and smash a few store windows in Berkeley or Oakland. Black Bloc is the latest name being used. I have no idea what they are planning, but I am sure the SFPD is forecasting and training for a number of scenarios. I wonder if they are cooperating with Homeland Security.
What troubles me the most, outside the possibility of serious violence, is the extent to which the media and the politicians are demonizing a rather innocent, even idealistic venture, using reprehensible techniques. First of all, there is the universality of the label "right wing" ("far right" in the S.F. Chronicle) when the organizers of the rally and the rally itself are mentioned. That is an expression that triggers anger among a substantial portion of San Franciscans right there.
For instance, the Mercury News starts its article with this:
With permits now issued for five events this weekend in San Francisco's Crissy Field, one of them organized by a right-wing group and the other four reportedly groups out to protest the right-wingers, the stage is being set for a possible showdown between white nationalists and a city that has come out roundly against them.
There are only "right-wing" groups, and no "left-wing" groups, and certainly no mention of Antifa.
In the minds of most San Franciscans, "right-wing" equals "hate." Mayor Ed Lee spoke on camera about the city's preparations for the demonstrations, and 1 minute and 40 seconds into the clip found, here, he states:
The most tumultuous thing that can happen is that people act on their very deep passions on hate, and that's at least some that we would be espousing against.
This is both incoherent and rather ambiguous, while still implying to all right-thinking viewers that the mayor worries that those right-wingers might get violent. Conceivably, the mayor is warning against Antifa when he cautions "some that we would be espousing against" acting "on their very deep passions on hate," but that is unlikely. I think he is just bloviating while refusing to name names.
The Mercury News, to its credit, did dig into the organizer of Patriot Prayer and presents information that portrays a sincere, somewhat naïve activist, whose "open to all" rallies have been invaded by kooks like the KKK, and this discredited him in the eyes of the media. The familiar passive slur that "violence broke out" then becomes part of the labeling that makes a group led by a nonwhite (he is of mixed parentage and calls himself Japanese) and featuring mostly nonwhite speakers into fearsome "white nationalists."
- Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer and the organizer of the rally, said he denounced racism and wouldn't allow any extremists into his event. The permit approval, Gibson said Tuesday, was a sign that "the First Amendment will be respected."
- Indeed, the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks hate groups does not list Patriot Prayer as such, nor is Gibson considered an extremist by the advocacy center;
- In fact, the Law Center reported that at the most recent Patriot Prayer event, Gibson shouted from the stage "F*** white supremacists! F*** neo-Nazis!" ...
- On its Facebook page, Patriot Prayer says its group "is about using the power of love and prayer to fight the corruption both in the government and citizen levels that seek to gain power through division and deception." ...
- Described as a "conservative-libertarian" in an article by The Columbian, Gibson got his start in politics last summer in the streets outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland; "There, the leader of the Patriot Prayer online community-slash-movement, whose organizing and activism has garnered national headlines after recent clashes on college campuses and the streets of Portland, was caught on camera tearing up a demonstrator's anti-police cardboard sign. "Why would you destroy my property?' asked the man, who was wearing a T-shirt that read "F*** the police.' Because Gibson, 33, was fired up. But then he felt bad for ripping up the sign. He handed the guy a $20 bill, and the interaction ended with a handshake."
- Gibson counts the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of his political heroes and on Facebook he preaches "Hatred is a disease." The article says Gibson once "invited a transgender person to speak at one of his rallies because he said it's time all people were accepted."
Yep, a racist hater.
If the mayor and media had any decency (I know, I know), they would be saying to the world that there is no reason to be afraid of a small group of people standing up for free speech. They might even note that the organizer is not white, and that San Franciscans are grown-ups who have always celebrated diversity, including political diversity. Milton Friedman spent years living there late in his life.
But that would require breaking the approved narrative, and no matter how phony it is, all must hew to the Party Line.