Washington Post wanted to “lead the charge against this child because he was a pawn in its political war against its political adversary.”
~ From $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post
Native American activists, confrontational Black Hebrew Israelites, immature white Kentucky Catholic school boys wearing MAGA hats. Mix it all together, and whatever could possibly go wrong in this soap opera scenario? Everything, brothers and sisters, everything!
Now that the dust has settled, cooler heads can prevail and we can all determine what really occurred, so that just maybe the mistakes might be avoided the next time. That includes too quick to jump progressive voices like mine, as well as a conservative friend who told me “no collusion” (sorry, wrong Fox talking point). Correction, my Tea Party buddy said the longer tape proved that the kids were all just sweet innocents (also off base). Now, one of them is suing the Washington Post for $250 million for misreporting events in what appears to be a politically-oriented ploy.
It helps us to understand the details if we put the whole scene in perspective. That understanding emerges from providing a bit of background, starting with the Black Hebrew Israelites. To start with, they are generally not traditional black Jews like Sammy Davis, Jr., Lisa Bonet, or Drake. Some sect offshoots, including those at the Lincoln Memorial, are described by the SPLC/ADL as black supremacist and anti-Semitic.
The MAGA Catholic high school kids were also activists, there for an anti-abortion march in DC. The primary boy in question is 16, a junior, but others were involved as well.
Nathan Phillips, the Native American leader, is a long-time protestor for Indian rights. He’s a vet, an idealist, and sometime construction worker.
Briefly, from what we know regarding the confrontation itself:
• The Black Hebrew Israelites began the incident by screaming obscene, homophobic, and racist statements at the schoolboys, attempting (successfully, after an hour) to provoke them.
• The MAGA kids responded by yelling back their “school chant” and possibly “build that wall,” although that is unclear. (Note that these kids had previously been filmed harassing teenage girls passing by.)
• Phillips and his fellow Native Americans, drumming and singing an AIM (Native American) song, stepped in between the other two groups.
• A 16-year-old student stared and smirked at Phillips as the Native American sang and played his drum in the kid’s face, while other students yelled.
Objectively, it is possible to place a portion of the blame on each of these three groups. The fact that liberals and right wingers are attempting to place all the blame on the other side shows how far into tribal groups this nation has fallen in the last two years.
Let’s put the incident in perspective. All share some of the responsibility. Provocateurs like the Black Hebrew Israelites are hateful, bigoted, and disgusting. It is clear that they wanted a confrontation. The core problem was their hatred and screaming.
The MAGA boys could have simply walked away, “turned the other cheek” to use a biblical phrase that as Catholic school students they should know. The 16-year-old didn’t need to have a dismissive attitude towards a Native American, even if he was annoying. And Phillips didn’t have to get right in the kid’s face and could also have turned away. He certainly didn’t help the situation.
We must all keep in mind that the Lincoln Memorial confrontation was not Charlottesville, where violent, armed neo-Nazi provocateurs were confronted by anti-fascists. There were no deaths or physical injuries, only mental and emotional ones. The bottom line is that no one was violent or broke any major laws.
In America, our diverse citizens are always going to have differing views. Sometimes, those having opinions are mainstream. Other times, like the Black Hebrew Israelites, they are not.
Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all need to take a step back. Let’s all make a habit of examining the facts before jumping to premature, ideologically-based conclusions. Let’s not let social media or extremist radio commentators form our decisions for us.
Above all, let’s remember that we are all still Americans. Despite our profound differences there is more that binds us together than that divides us. We’ve tried everything else, so it’s time to finally do the right thing and try to get along.