by Joe Lehmann | U.S.
In politics, disagreement is natural. Emotion and passionate argument is to be expected. However, those emotions have recently spilled over into the realm of political violence. Thanks to echo chambers and provocations from both sides, individuals on the left and right have become radicalized, polarized, and violent. Having been subject to both violence and insults from radicalized individuals, I am acutely aware of how disheartening and dangerous those things are.
After multiple outbursts of violence, however, governments are finally beginning to take notice. After forcing the American public to suffer through attacks by Antifa at Berkeley, Sacramento, Orange County, and Charlottesville, there are individuals and agencies taking a stand.
(Before I’m inevitably attacked for ignoring the violence from the white supremacists, I would like to concede that there was violence and barbarity from everyone involved. I am neither rationalizing nor forgiving the violence of one side).
The first agencies to recognize the terrorist tendencies of Antifa were the FBI and DHS. In a report entitled Baseline Comparison of US and Foreign Anarchist Extremist Movements from 2016, the agencies report that the Antifa spends weeks planning for violence at right-wing events. The New Jersey Department of Homeland Security also warned about the organizations and describes its actions as “INCITING VIOLENCE TOWARD FAR-RIGHT EXTREMISTS.” Former New York City police officer and expert on domestic militants Brian Levin testifies that “…both the racists and a segment of violent Antifa counter-protestors are amped for battle in an escalating arms race, where police departments are outmaneuvered, resulting in increasingly violent dangerous confrontations.”
With upcoming demonstrations by right wing groups in Texas, Oregon, Missouri and Florida, the danger of violent conflict and indeed death is very real. Before I conclude this piece, I would like to make a direct request to anyone who might be attending a rally or protest: please be smart, be safe, and be intelligent. The way to beat the side you do not like is with debate and discussion, not killing, destruction, and dehumanization.
It’s time for the rest of the nation to heed the warnings of individual experts, the FBI, and the state and federal DHS. Antifa is a dangerous organization. They commit violent acts in order to terrify the government and society into alignment with their ideas. It’s time we take a stand against hate from Antifa, the KKK, and any other group that espouses hate and violence. These groups exist to feed their own power and ignorance and divide the nation. Radicals on the left and right hate what America stands for: they hate equality and freedom and natural rights. If we cherish American values, then all domestic terror networks need to be dismantled by intelligent dialogue and passionate debate. Together we can save America before it gets torn apart by selfish and ignorant children.