Commentary

Collective Guilt, Democratic hypocrisy

by Deb Bucknam

Supporters of the Presidential candidate who lost the election stormed into Washington D.C., destroying property, attacking and injuring police and causing major damage to buildings in the city. Vicious signs threatening the winner’s supporters were everywhere.

Deb Bucknam

The violence was met with universal condemnation. The President whose party lost the election spoke, issuing a strong statement condemning the violence of his supporters, and saying, “You have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law: you will pay.”


The media rushed to demand statements condemning the violence from every elected official in the losing Presidential candidate’s party. Those officials were more than glad to comply. Strong statements of condemnation from virtually every official of the losing party were ubiquitous. Violence was not to be tolerated by anyone.


Only it did not happen. At President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, there was rioting, arson and looting by Hillary Clinton supporters. Major damage was done to four downtown businesses. Two hundred people were arrested. Neither Hillary Clinton, nor President Obama, nor any Democrat elected official condemned the violence. Instead, Mrs. Clinton a few months later announced she was a member of the “Resistance”.


The media never demanded that any member of the Democrat party condemn what had happened. Coverage of the violence was desultory. The media was more interested in whether President Trump “lied” about the size of the crowds supporting him.


Unsurprisingly, violence became more and more acceptable over the next four years. A Senator was physically attacked and hospitalized. A Bernie Sanders supporter shot up a baseball field and a Congressman nearly died. Despite Sanders’ decades long vicious slanders against his political opponents and his incendiary rhetoric, no one demanded his condemnation or resignation. Members of the Trump administration and Republicans were repeatedly physically threatened and harassed. Thugs surrounded the homes of Republican officials, yelling from loudspeakers and frightening families. After Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed, mobs tried to storm the Supreme Court building. The responses to those events were met mostly with silence.


Then in the summer of 2020, cities across the country were burned, looted, and pillaged. A dozen people died. Billions of dollars in damage was sustained. Yet at the Democrat party convention that summer there was not one word of condemnation. The violence was even excused by President Elect Kamala Harris, other Democrat leaders, and many in the media and academia.


It was only when Trump supporting thugs stormed the Capitol that everyone suddenly became appalled at the violence. The media across the country demanded contrition and condemnation from every Republican official, down to the local level. The words quoted above were President Trump’s words condemning his own supporters who mobbed the Capitol building. They were deemed insufficient by the Establishment. Hysterical demands for resignations of Republicans, including the President, were nonstop. Calls for criminal investigations, not just of the Capitol thugs, but of those who support the President, were heard across the country. Supporters of the President lost their jobs and the President and many of his supporters were muzzled on social media.


Of course the violence was appalling and indefensible. Just like the violence over the last four years.


What happened in the aftermath of the Capitol violence is evidence of a very disturbing trend in this country. Since the dawn of civilization, the tactics of those who seek absolute power are the same: Demonize and dehumanize your political opponents. Hillary Clinton called her political enemies “deplorables”. The Nazis called theirs “undesirables”. Impose collective guilt for any criminal or wrongful conduct of any one of your political opponents’ supporters, while minimizing or ignoring the criminal conduct of your own supporters. Demand your opponents abase themselves and resign because of the conduct of others. Threaten criminal prosecution of those who were not involved in any violence. Take away your opponents’ right to speak. Take away your opponents’ livelihoods, destroy their careers, humiliate and shame them and their families.


These are the tactics that have become acceptable in our country. They are the tactics of the radical Woke generation, wholly supported by the Democrat party and its Establishment allies across a wide spectrum of American civilization. But the “radicals” of the Woke generation are not radical at all. They are hidebound reactionaries fighting to return our country to an antediluvian form of government which consigns people to castes where its subjects possess immutable characteristics common to their caste. Consequently, the government metes out rights, privileges or punishments for its subjects based solely on their membership in the caste, and not on equal protection for every individual. That ancient form of government reached its apogee in the 20th century when tens of millions were humiliated, silenced, lost their livelihoods, were starved, robbed, ultimately tortured and killed merely because they belonged to a despised group.


The truly radical political doctrine is what this nation was founded on: that every person is an individual, not someone whose humanity is defined by membership in a caste. Every person has equal individual rights that the government cannot take away.


We must fight for return to that radical idea, or we are in danger of returning instead to the ancien regimes of the past where totalitarians determine our fate.


The author is a St. Johnsbury attorney and former Republican nominee for Vermont Secretary of State.

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7 replies »

  1. I love the Fox montages comparing the rhetoric and damage of lefties, and never Trumpers beginning with, and through the “Summer of Love” in Portland, Seattle, etc up to now, and the storming of the Capitol. I guess it’s different when it’s in your neighborhood, or if the vandals targeted something you consider historically significant , or if the art portrays something of political correctness in your opinion. I guess you could compare our political upheaval to fatal a disease. It always sucks no matter who it is, but it’s so much more impactful when it’s someone close to you.

  2. This kind of measured clear thinking is a blessing and keeps my embers of optimism glowing. Thank you Deb Bucknam.

  3. We can always simply say “thanks” for an article that exposes such rampant hypocrisy and double-standards of the radical and now a lot of the mainstream left. What really needs to be said to this author is “thanks for having the courage” to point out these injustices and hopefully you will not come home to find an army of leftist insurgents in your front yard terrorizing your family like has happened to the Mayor and a couple of City Council members in Burlington. Thank you Deb…keep exposing the hypocrisy and double-standards and I look forward to seeing your name on a ballot in Vermont in the future.

  4. Wonderfully written, cogent article.
    Four other things to keep in mind;

    1. Trump and Giuliani did not incite those people to riot. Everyone from politicians to coaches to cheerleaders uses words like “combat”, “target”, “fight”, etc, to motivate their listeners. Just like the protests last summer, there were tens of thousands of people in Washington on 1/6 who were there to protest legally and respectfully. But there were also those in each group who were there to do as much mayhem as possible regardless of their political bent. They were there to do evil and no one could have stopped them and they hit the jackpot when the Capitol was breached. Others who were there for the thrill of it or because they had a sudden, overwhelming epiphany regarding the righteousness of the cause, followed the bad people into the Capitol. They were the “useful idiots” that every situation manufactures.

    2. If you try to figure out who benefitted by having that mob breech the Capitol, it is quite apparent it wasn’t Trump. We need to learn more about who was arrested, who turned down the National Guard offers for help and why. Trump is not foolish enough to think that storming the Capitol would help him, but he might have been outfoxed by his enemies.

    3. All summer, politicians gave lip service to the reactions of people who lived/worked near a protest site. Those people lived in fear when the protesters were looting and burning buildings around them. Those people knew that the police were not coming to protect them and no matter what was happening they were on their own to protect themselves against the mob. Our legislators and their staff got to experience the same fear on Wednesday 1/6 as they cowered on the floor and behind the furniture. I am sure that now that it has happened to THEM it is a lot more serious.

    4. How thankful we must be that in the middle of a pandemic and a fiscal situation that is dire, we have a Congress that has these things so under control that they can stop everything to impeach a president who will be out of office in a few days. How can they even start to think that what they are doing will help our nation heal emotionally and financially? They are selfish and working only to help themselves.

  5. Expected, typical false equivalency. Last I checked, BLM protestors weren’t trying to overthrow the government. They were not seditionists. They were responding to centuries of enslavement, murder, lynching, disenfranchisement, rape and alligator bait committed by so-called ‘christians’ and ‘law enforcement.’ The Venn diagram of historical racism, current white supremacy, evangelism and domestic terrorism is nearly whole. Last summer over a dozen protestors were killed, about 12,000 incarcerated, and protesters themselves mourned the one law enforcement officer who was killed not during a current protest but close by. I’m hearing crickets from the right in respect to Officer Sicklick, murdered by his own people (he was a 45 supporter). “Kill Pence, Kill Pence” – you find that justifiable?

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