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On Facebook, I would reckon that most of my friends are conservative of one stripe or another. Most of them are old school friends, and we’re from a conservative county in the Smoky Mountains. Several others are college friends, and Rhodes was a moderately conservative campus, overall. But with both environments, we have our exceptions. And they have opinions this week and decided to share them with the rest of us.
You see, the riots that started in Minneapolis and spread around the country, complete with vandalism, arson, battery, and now the killing of a couple of law enforcement officers… those are understandable and shouldn’t be criticized. Those who object to this say that the rioters should be expressing themselves peacefully? Oh, like Colin Kaepernick, right? Well, if you criticized Kaepernick for his peaceful protest, then you’re a hypocrite for criticizing the violent riots now.
I’ve seen so many friends and acquaintances making this argument that I wanted to work out my objection to it. There are a couple of directions to tackle it from: The first is that I have seen nobody arguing that the man killed by Minneapolis police was treated justly. There has been tremendous sympathy for him and his family, and desire for justice to be done. When peaceful protests began, I heard no criticism at all. The only criticism has been of the violence and destruction of property, especially that directed against people, places, and businesses that had nothing to do with the killing. There cannot be any defense of this mob violence in a civilized society.
The second argument is that the criticism of Kaepernick was that he was dragging politics into sports, where people didn’t want to see it. His action, as he explained to us, was intended as a sign of disrespect of the American flag and the country for which it stands. It was unpatriotic in its motivation, and that offended a lot of us, even those who don’t watch football. His stunt was directed, not against any specific police who were guilty of brutality, but against police in general. Think of the “pigs” socks he showed off. Moreover, he was probably doing this all because he was expecting to get cut by his team for not being up to par. A race-oriented political stunt was a last-ditch attempt to make himself unfireable.
I went out running through our city park today, and I saw a crowd assembling with signs against police brutality. There’s been none of that here, from anything I know, but I don’t object to the protest in principle. As long as they’re peaceful, as they seem to be, that’s all fine. But if there’s any vandalism or violence, I’m going to be really angry with them, and it won’t be a matter of hypocrisy.Published in