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BROOKE ROLLINS: Never Forget What The Left Is Capable Of

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Brooke Rollins President and CEO, America First Policy Institute
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On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, an extraordinary scene unfolded in the Texas state Senate. Having lost — electorally, and legislatively — on their extremist pro-abortion stance, the Texas Democrats were making a last-ditch effort to stall popular pro-life legislation.

Their putative means was a filibuster by then-state Sen. Wendy Davis, but their real weapon was one that was to become drearily familiar over the coming decade in American civics. The left was not content to trust the process and elections. It also brought a mob.

That mob ended up succeeding, however fleetingly, where faltering persuasion and debate did not. Those of us who were present in Texas public life then will never forget it: a constitutional (and constitutionally elected) legislative body, literally howled down by an angry crowd. The legislation failed because the Texas Senate ceased to function under its attack. The left couldn’t win elections in Texas, to be sure: but it could howl, shriek, intimidate and disrupt in the pursuit of its minoritarian will. So much for democratic self-rule.

The United States Constitution saddles the federal government with the responsibility of guaranteeing each state a republican form of government (and also with protection against “domestic Violence”), and so one might think that a mob shutdown of a state legislature would contravene that purpose — and spur federal action in defense of a people’s right to self-rule. But Washington, D.C., hasn’t been in the business of defending Texas liberty, either at the border or in the statehouse, for a long time.

As the mob was visibly suppressing ordinary governance — and therefore ordinary freedom — in the Lone Star State, the Obama White House simply tweeted out encouragement to them. “Something special is happening in Austin tonight,” opined President Barack Obama, and it was manifest who enjoyed the regime’s sympathy: not the elected representatives of the people, but the howling mob hellbent on stopping their work.

You might call this an example of a president tweeting out support for an insurrection. A lot of Texans who were present on the scene would agree.

It wasn’t just the then-president of the United States sending encouragement to the mob shutting down the Texas State Senate. Left-wing journalists including Erica Grieder, then of Texas Monthly, were also present and digitally egging on the mob.

“Keep cheering guys,” tweeted Grieder as it became evident the mob’s shouting-down of the legislature was working, “down with decorum, up with Texas!”

Eminently satisfied with the work thus done, the next day she, along with fellow journalist Sonia Smith, declared that — a state legislature having been shut down by force majeure—“the people of Texas … had the last word.” It reflected an understanding of civics wholly inconsistent with the American tradition — that tradition being based upon respect, process, elections, law, deliberation, and order — but entirely consistent with the ethos of the modern left.

That ethos, subscribed to by the left from the heights of the presidency, to its handmaidens in media, to the ranks of its fanatical servants, can be described in one word: violence.

That dark day for American democracy — whose 10th anniversary went mostly unremarked just a few weeks back — was not the first in the modern era. Just two years earlier, a left-wing mob had occupied the Wisconsin statehouse after they failed, in that state too, to win elections and persuade the citizenry. Since then the left’s resort to violence in the public square has grown more and more frequent, and more and more dangerous.

Fast-forward to 2020, with the country wracked by violence and destruction from — again, insurrectionary — violence under the guise of Black Lives Matters (but really in the service of the same left responsible for all the rest), and we saw the same pattern of avid support from the left’s leading figures and its media servants. The then-campaign of Joe Biden paid bail for violent rioters, and the New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones declared that it would be an “honor” to have the national violence credited to her work.

The point of recalling all this is not to re-litigate it for its own sake. We must remember it for two major reasons.

The first is because none of this is past. The network of the left in America has become well accustomed to civil strife as a Plan B in case it loses elections, and the great mass of ordinary Americans need to understand that. We live now under the near-constant threat that there will be a swift resort to violence when and if they lose.

It is nearly memory-holed now, but in the days leading up to Election Day 2020, major American cities were boarding up their downtowns because a nationwide insurrection was expected if Trump won. Similarly, if Trump wins again, in 2024 — and you can’t count it out — everyone expects a return to that sad state of affairs. This isn’t the right provoking anything; it is the left, and a full expression of its nature. We should do it the respect of paying attention, and believing actions as much as words.

The second reason we must remember all this is because of the unfolding prosecutions of President Donald Trump, and his indictment centering upon the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

On that fateful day, of course, President Trump did the exact opposite of President Obama in 2013: instead of tweeting out encouragement to the mob, he repeatedly urged the Capitol crowd to peacefully disperse. His own words speak for themselves: “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement … Stay peaceful!” “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful.” “Go home with love & in peace.”

One president, though, has retired in peace. The other faces indictment. We know why. In the America formed by the violent left across the past decade, the iniquity is not a byproduct; it is the point.

Brooke Leslie Rollins is the President and CEO of America First Policy Institute.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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