AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
After watching a summer and fall filled with protests by Black Lives Matter and other groups that turned business districts in cities across America into burned out and vandalized buildings, it probably wasn’t a big surprise to see Trump supporters take over the halls of Congress last Wednesday in what they perceived as a flawed election process.
Like so many other Americans, I have been appalled by what is unfolding before our eyes. And there is more than enough blame to go around as to why we are witnessing violent protests.
Yes, we can blame a few bad cops when George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Yes, we can continue to scrutinize each and every death by police officers. And, we can say that men of color are being targeted by law enforcement. But rather than have the mayors and city councils deal with the problems that may or may not exist in police departments across the country, the issue became political. And it became a national media frenzy.
Right or wrong, politicians fueled the frenzy. And so did the national media.
As a result, the violent protests continued to escalate from spring until fall.
And now, last week Trump supporters and others turning what should have been a peaceful protest into something that America has never seen before as thousands of protesters pushed their way past law enforcement and entered the halls of Congress and congressional offices.
Who is to blame for this latest disgraceful protest? The list is too long to even begin.
But like the Black Lives Matters folk, there are many Americans - especially Republicans - who strongly believe that they have been wronged by politicians and the national media. For these Republicans, who were and obviously still are strong Trump supporters, they believe that even before Trump took office as President of the United States, the Democrats and the national media were out to get him. And to make matters worse, they believe that this year’s presidential election process was completely wrong as were many congressional elections.
As Americans we are granted the right of free speech and free assembly to protest. But there is no place for violent protests. And there is no place in American politics for politicians - whether Republican or Democrat - to fuel the rhetoric of those protesting to the level where those peaceful protests turn violent. And the same can be said for the national media.