Here we go again.
One week after leftist counter protesters disrupted a free speech rally in Boston, the same has happened in San Francisco. Big surprise, right? Patriot Prayer, a conservative advocacy group, organized a free speech rally to be held in the city of San Francisco on Saturday. The organizers canceled the event due to fears of violence. Joey Gibson, the founder of the Oregon-based organization, blamed leaders on the left for making misleading statements about the group:
“The rhetoric from Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Lee, the media, all these people are saying that we’re white supremacists and is bringing tons of extremists … We have a lot of respect for the citizens of San Francisco, and at the end of the day we want people to be safe.”
Gibson believes that their false statements about Patriot Prayer could motivate genuine white supremacists to come to the event. Indeed, he has called their comments “a huge setup.” Gibson has previously condemned white supremacists and stated that they are not welcome at Patriot Prayer rallies. Of course, this didn’t stop the left from doing what they do best: hurling false accusations of racism.
In the days leading up to the event, the left came out in full force to denounce the group, labeling them as alt-right white supremacists. Local media stated that the group has a “history of provoking fights.” No doubt they are referring to a Patriot Prayer free speech rally held in Seattle where Antifa came and attacked participants. The violence was not caused by Patriot Prayer – it was caused by Antifa who has already admitted that they use physical force against their political opponents.
The local media wasn’t the only one attacking the group; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee urged residents to avoid the rally:
Do not engage with the members of this group, whose only priority is to incite violence through divisive rhetoric. Instead of dignifying their display of hatred, we ask that residents join peaceful gatherings taking place at the Civic Center Plaza on Friday and Saturday at 12 p.m.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also weighed in. “The National Park Service’s decision to permit a white supremacist rally at Crissy Field raises grave and ongoing concerns about public safety,” she wrote in a statement.
While the free speech rally was canceled, leftist counter protesters still showed up to engage in their own demonstration. The left also managed to prevent an anti-Marxism rally in Berkeley, CA using the same type of deception they used against Patriot Prayer. Later in the day, Patriot Prayer held a press conference which was cut short when they heard that Antifa activists were approaching their location.
Let’s be clear, Mayor Lee and Nancy Pelosi know that Patriot Prayer is not a white supremacist group. A simple online search will show that Joey Gibson, a Japanese American, is not affiliated with hate groups. At worst, a small number of individuals who espouse racist views have attended his rallies, but the organization has distanced themselves from these types of people. When Jeremy Christian, the person alleged to have stabbed two people on a train in Oregon, made a Nazi salute at one of the rallies, the other participants confronted Christian and asked him to leave.
The events in Charlottesville have given the left a new weapon: accusations of white supremacy. Along with the Patriot Prayer event, they used it against the organizers of the Boston Free Speech rally and the anti-Marxist demonstration that was supposed to take place tomorrow in Berkeley. People like Pelosi and Lee have no problem telling lies about conservative groups, but they have avoided criticizing hard leftist groups like Antifa.
The question is: what are conservatives going to do about this? Every liberty-minded American should be troubled by the fact that some on the left are attempting to control who can or cannot express their ideas. If we are going to deal with this issue, we must be smart about it.
Some might believe that allowing the left to shut down conservative events will expose the repugnance of the hard left. However, the establishment media won’t allow that to happen; they already protect these types of groups.
The better strategy would be to choose our battles wisely. Gibson’s well-meaning attempt to hold a free speech rally in San Francisco was doomed from the start. The city is not exactly known for its tolerance of ideas that conflict with their own. Instead of focusing on cities that have no interest in promoting free speech, conservatives should target areas where they can successfully hold their events. Interestingly enough, they wouldn’t have to avoid cities with predominantly liberal populations. Antifa was not able to prevent Patriot Prayer from holding a rally in Seattle.
Part of winning the culture war is learning to fight battles we can win. We should target cities that are willing to allow people to share different types of views. It is also important that conservatives look at areas where law enforcement will be authorized to keep people safe. Charlottesville and Boston should serve as grim reminders of what can happen when a city’s leadership prevents its police officers from keeping the peace.
The hard left is never going to give up in their struggle to rewrite the First Amendment. They are not interested in discussing the issues; they only wish to force everyone else to conform to their ideology. Put simply: they are nothing more than bullies who are afraid of debate. We know how to deal with bullies; we just need to make sure we’re using effective tactics to oppose them.
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