Progressives project on the matter of supporters' violence
Progressives appear to be calling for violence while at the same time accusing Trump-supporters of being violent.
Michigan state rep. Cynthia A. Johnson has been roundly criticized for her warning to Trump-supporters. She tweeted, "So this is just a warning to you Trumpers. Be careful. Walk lightly. We ain't playing with you. Enough of the shenanigans. Enough is enough. And for those of you who are soldiers, you know how to do it. Do it right. Be in order. Make them pay." After she was removed from her committee assignments, she "clarified" her statement:
In my community, we often use the term soldier, but when we use the term it means for people to rise up and not just take B.S. It doesn't mean anything violent. Our rise up means rise up against racism, against tyranny, rise up against violence. No. my message was not one that was intended against the Trump people. We are talking about peace and unity.
She made a further clarification:
"I want to share something with all you soldiers … soldiers of CHRIST! Soldiers against racism! Soldiers against misogyny! Soldiers against domestic violence and domestic terrorism! Soldiers RISE! …" "It's time for you to rise. SOLDIERS! Soldiers for Christ … uhm!" Johnson concluded by saying: "Soldiers for black and brown people who are being mistreated. Rise, soldiers!"
The problem with Johnson's original statement is that many of the people who heard it may not have been sophisticated enough to realize that she was speaking to "soldiers of CHRIST." Comments like hers have repercussions. Congresswoman Maxine Waters's comments about letting Trump's Cabinet members know they were not welcome "anywhere" likely resulted in several unfortunate incidents.
Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere.
Numerous Trump administration officials have been harassed while dining. Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was driven out of a Mexican restaurant by protesters. White House adviser Stephen Miller was also accosted at a restaurant by protesters. These incidents were relatively benign. They do not compare with the truly violent attack on Senator Rand Paul. Paul feared for his life and the life of his wife when he was attacked after leaving the White House in August 2020.
Are there any Trump-supporters advising their "soldiers" to make their opponents "pay"? Are there any videos of progressives being chased out of restaurants by people wearing "Make America Great Again" hats? Have the Proud Boys or any other "white supremacist" group burned down a city? Have they torn down any statues of progressives?
The problem with statements like the one made by Rep. Johnson is that there are many people who do not understand her nuanced message. She needed to make her message clear from the beginning. There are a lot of unbalanced people out there. There is no way of knowing if Devaunte Hill was influenced by Cynthia Johnson's remarks when he shot and killed a young nurse named Caitlyn Kaufman. There was no apparent reason for the shooting. There may be absolutely no connection with Johnson's remarks. However, the overall climate of hostility has been raised by her remarks.
John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy (Algora Publishing). He has a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from St. Mary's University. He is retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. He is featured on the BBC's program "Things We Forgot to Remember:" Morgenthau Plan and Post-War Germany.