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A Protest Worthy of a Nation in Distress

Disgrace: Anti-Trump Protesters Curse, Spit on Gold Star Families

This awful incident deserves attention for a few reasons: First and foremost, it represents abysmally shameful conduct from some in the "Love Trumps Hate" crowd who nastily targeted the family members of fallen American heroes. My pal and co-author Mary Katharine Ham reported what happened on CNN Monday afternoon, relaying details via members of the Manion family, with whom she has become close over the years. Here is how a clearly shaken and upset Ryan Manion Borek described the altercation in a Facebook post:

Amy Hastings Looney and I were honored to spend the evening at the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Gala, where 38 Medal of Honor recipients attended. What we did not anticipate was the mobs of people who hid behind the veil of the word "protester". We were an hour late to the event. First because we could not get around an angry mob in the street that was burning trash cans and smashing windows. When we finally got to the venue, a group of about 75 people separated us from the entrance. Amy and I stood there unsure of what to do. I finally said, let's just walk. As we made our way through the crowd we were spit at and called some of the worst and most vile things I have ever heard come out of a person's mouth. These people had such hatred in their eyes when they screamed at us. After leaving the event we walked outside and was first pushed by a man in a mask hiding his face, then told by 2 women that we ruined this country. They screamed this in our faces along as in the face of a little boy that could have been no older then 6. As the one woman screamed the other pushed up against me and colored all over my mom's shawl I was wearing with permanent marker. I am angry and I am scared. My brother and Amy's husband gave their lives to protect the freedoms that we hold so dear. The display that took place yesterday from people that truly have no comprehension of that jeopardize what makes this country so great. They hid behind the veil of posing as a "protester", but they are nothing more [than] thugs.

When her social media post didn't gain much traction in the press, Manion wrote about her experience in a Philadelphia Inquirer op/ed, pointedly noting that her presence at the event was not remotely partisan in nature:

What the individuals who assaulted us did not know is that I am the sister of Marine First Lt. Travis Manion, and Amy is the wife of Navy SEAL Lt. Brendan Looney, who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Travis was killed in 2007, and Brendan in 2010. We understand more than most how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can demonstrate and share our different beliefs. But my question for those who chose to take this route Friday is this: Are you truly accomplishing anything by inciting hate?...Amy and I did not attend the Inaugural Ball as a political statement. We support the current administration exactly like we supported the previous administration and just like we will support every future administration that the American people elect. Amy and I keep our personal politics private; our duty is to the legacy of Travis and Brendan and all those that have served and sacrificed.

In that first bolded statement, she is likely being far more charitable to the protesters than they deserve. Perhaps they didn't realize that they were accosting the families of American military heroes. Then again, they were agitating outside of an event literally called the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Gala, put on by the American Legion and featuring dozens of Medal of Honor recipients.  But even if these degenerates believed they were merely confronting garden variety Trump supporters, that's no excuse for their vitriol, their abuse, their physical intimidation, and their property destruction.  Especially the wild-eyed berating of a young child.  That is not a remotely acceptable way to treat fellow Americans who may -- or, in this case, may not -- hold different political views.  Rather than learning the lessons of Trump, the End of Discussion mob seems to be losing its collective mind and tripling down on its campaign of unhinged demonization.  We're even at the point where we're apparently debating whether physical violence is an acceptable form of "resistance" against people who hold genuinely odious views.  Mary Katharine was right to admonish the Left that this sort of behavior absolutely contributed to the rise of Donald Trump, many of whose supporters have viewed him as something of a one-man backlash against political correctness run amok.  She was also right to make this distinction during her appearance on Jake Tapper's show (video of which is available at the link):

"I don’t think this [incident] characterizes the [women's] march and the movement that we saw out here today. I want to be careful about that because I think that that’s something people have unfairly done to conservative movements in the past and to Tea Partiers, where you pick one thing and you go: ‘Look at those awful people out there, their concerns should be dismissed.' But this is part of the story, as is Madonna saying she thinks about blowing up the White House. Those are not great things. If it were a conservative movement, we would hear a lot about it."

That's the other important angle to this mess. If Tea Partiers had done something similar, it would have been national news. We know this because Congressional Black Caucus members' utterly unsubstantiated claims of invective and spitting prior to the Obamacare vote was instantly accepted as fact, and used for years as a cudgel against the Tea Party -- which was routinely besmirched and tarred by a tiny handful of alleged excesses (which were often debunked under further scrutiny). Mary Katharine bends over backwards not to turn this sort of unfair, over-broad vilification against the Left in this case, but she is undoubtedly correct that this ugly episode would have garnered much more press attention and cultural penetration if the various actors' roles had fit The Narrative. They did not, so the stomach-turning harassment of military families floated by largely unnoticed.  I'll leave you with this Free Beacon remix of one of Hillary Clinton's most famous television ads:

One more point: Please recall how just a few months ago, the shabby treatment of a different Gold Star family was a centerpiece of the Left's case against Donald Trump.  Don't the Manions et al deserve just as much respect and reverence as the Khans? Or is that pesky Narrative working its magic again?

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