The Senate Judiciary Committee on August 4 held a hearing on “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence.” More accurately, this hearing was conducted by the Subcommittee on the Constitution, chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Like all congressional hearings, these days, it was a mostly futile affair because Democrats do not use these occasions to extract from the witnesses new information or explanations for the decisions made by government officials – which is precisely the point of hearings. Instead, they turn the proceedings into an opportunity for demagoguery, soundbiting, and grandstanding.
Congressional hearings in the Trump era – and particularly in 2020 – share a striking characteristic: They are, every one, rendered all but pointless by the two entirely different versions of reality adhered to by Republicans and Democrats.
The Democrat version of events holds that there is almost no violence taking place in America’s cities today. There are only peaceful protesters, whose noble motives are being thwarted. Aligned against them is a sinister and secret paramilitary police force being directed, presumably, by President Trump and right-wing white supremacist terrorists who are, in fact, responsible for whatever violent acts have been perpetrated.
Democrats on the subcommittee did not want to talk about anarchist violence. There simply is no such thing, they insist. The first half of the hearing, then, became a discussion of law enforcement tactics. Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli found himself having to defend law enforcement tactics employed against rioters and other extremists while making it clear that he recognized a distinction between these troublemakers and peaceful protesters.
That distinction, however, was lost on Democrats, who are entirely unwilling to stop conflating the two different groups. Just as they talk about immigrants’ rights and refuse to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, so Democrats talk about the allegedly brutal police tactics being used against peaceful protesters while declining to acknowledge a difference between protesters and violent extremists.
Racial Healing is Not an Option
This failure on the part of an increasingly leftward-moving Democratic Party seems counterintuitive. That word, used in this context, though, practically excuses the political left – making it appear that, while their motives are pure, they are hopelessly ignorant of the reality. Democrats know very well that the hijacking of the George Floyd protests by violent leftist radicals has sabotaged the opportunity to have a national discussion of the issue of racial disparity and, in particular, the treatment of blacks by the police.
Why are Democrats not outraged that the violence and destruction have obliterated the chance for a dialogue about race, as one might assume they would be? Because racial division is essential to their continued political success; they must avoid and, preferably, destroy any chance for the nation to examine and resolve racial problems.
That is precisely why Democrats publicly refuse to acknowledge the destructive ideology driving radical left-wing groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter while privately cheering them on. It isn’t the buildings Antifa has burned down that matter: more importantly, for the left, these extremists have burned down another opportunity to heal racial wounds.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.