As a long-time Libertarian, the change in political discourse did not escape my attention in 2020. I went from being able to find common ground with both parties, to being hated by the extremists on the left and right for not picking a side. The far left called me a racist, oblivious to my privilege. The far right called me a communist for not denouncing all Democrats. Everyone I know in the middle just seemed shell-shocked by the extremists being held up as representatives of their party. No one could figure out how we ended up with two, old, white guys running for President.
Recognizing how information is being censored and distorted from all sides, I decided to go to the “Open Washington” rally in Olympia, Washington to observe. Would it be Republicans or the extreme right holding the microphone and getting the coverage? In reality, the speakers included business owners, parents, students, and clergy. These were regular people sharing the devastation caused by our governor weaponizing COVID-19. It was very peaceful and respectful while I was there. They even said a prayer for our governor.
There was a woman holding a Confederate flag with the tag “The Rise of the South.” I walked over and asked her the meaning behind the flag. She said it was a symbol of the Civil War and the fight for states’ rights. This is an argument that infuriates black people today, and rightly so. She wasn’t armed and didn’t look rabidly hostile so I stopped. After pausing a moment, I asked her to be careful because others might not see her flag the same way. I wanted her to be safe. She looked surprised because she expected a fight but was willing to talk, however I expect our conversation ended up providing me with more clarity than it did her.
I shared my concern that picking a political can of worms including slavery as “the hill to die on” over states’ rights had a few problems. The first being the violation of the Declaration of Independence stating that “all men are created equal.” The second being the very same reason we were standing on the lawn at the Capitol protesting lockdowns: powerful people hijacking a righteous cause as cover for protecting power. Many beneficiaries of slavery used the “states’ rights” argument to convince the well-intentioned to ignore the sin of slavery and die believing they were protecting a righteous cause. Even understanding that it was not all about slavery, Republicans did not join the Confederacy. Many recognized the real, righteous cause. It hit me that this was why people were standing against the tyranny of the Governor today. These people would not look the other way at the abuse of human beings. They would stand and fight for a righteous cause, then and now.
Today they were standing up to a governor using his power to benefit public sector employees, unions, and special interest groups supporting his personal political agenda.
They called out his callous disregard for their right to representation, the damage to business owners, families, and children. At the top of my list was his hypocrisy in ignoring enforcement of his draconian rules in the very cities where COVID-19 cases were spiking.
Why do Democrats look the other way or hate people on the right? Their leadership highjacked the righteous cause of saving people from COVID-19. Democrats believe in the virtues of government providing safety so much they are willing to look past the abuses of power (including Antifa and Black Lives Matter—they are free to super-spread the virus and abuse people around them).
We all, left and right, have to stay alert for those who try to blind us with fake righteousness. Fueling hatred, blaming others, condoning inequality, and demonizing other points of view are all tools of the powerful. When we are blinded by righteous messages of the powerful, we stop holding them accountable. We end up with career politicians abusing their power with no fear. We end up with the rich and powerful dominating the marketplace, destroying our local businesses and employers. We end up with journalists and social media fueling hatred in the echo chambers of the left and right for profit.
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness true, righteous acts and they have all come from a place of love and selflessness. Every person in this country had better ask themselves who benefits when the country is divided and people start hating one another enough to commit violent acts. Who are the messengers behind the righteous cause? If the messengers are the ones who will end up with more power, more money, and more control, it might be a good time to stop fighting each other and start fighting them.
Later I heard that violence broke out when Antifa showed up. Sadly, this was the only coverage widely disseminated regarding the rally. The power of hatred, fueling stupidity, on full display by a group ignoring the lockdowns at a rally against lockdowns. These young people deserve our pity for having their right to develop their own worldview hijacked by the media, political activists, and the elites in academia. One day they will understand why the people they hate now will fight to the death to protect their freedom from those who seek to rule them under the guise of a multitude of politically advantageous righteous causes.