So…this one is probably going to sound kind of bad. Just a heads up. Not trying to incite violence, insurrection or sedition or anything, just kind of following the logic through to a conclusion. So, you have been warned. You are almost certainly going to hate, hate, hate this article.
There has been a lot of talk about the violence at the Capitol lately. Lots and lots of media pundits chiming in with entirely predictable and boring analysis and calls for peace and unity and such. That’s all great. And along with this is pretty much universal condemnation of the violence that occurred at the Capitol. But it’s these condemnations of the violence, or more specifically, how those condemnations are being phrased that…well…that presents kind of a problem quite honestly, at least for any objective observer.
To point, a lot of commentators have expressly stated that the violence at the Capitol was “political violence” and that political violence is always wrong and is, and here it comes, “un-American“. So this is all fine and everything except where you say that political violence is un-American. Because, you know, if you really think about it, political violence is actually, well, in a way political violence is actually kind of the essence of America. OK, OK, that sounds really bad but it’s kind of hard to argue that the United States of America of today wouldn’t even exist without political violence.
See, we told you that you were going to hate this one. So, again, this is absolutely NOT a call to violence, insurrection and/or sedition. This is more about…well…it’s really… Honestly, we have no idea where we are going with this but here we go.
You see, it would be hard to characterize the founding of the United States of America as anything BUT political violence. To quote Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson
Now, let’s face it, we call this the Declaration of Independence but this is basically a Declaration of War against Great Britain. At least the British thought so. There was this thing called the American Revolutionary War after all. So, the founding of America is actually one of political violence in the form of war against the current, existing government of the time, by what can only be characterized from the British point of view as domestic terrorists.
Granted, that’s harsh and one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and all that. But facts are facts. America was founded on the very principle of political violence. We here in the states kind of wash over this fact and portray it in a very positive and patriotic light but, after all, the victor gets to write the history. Facts are still facts, however. America would not exist if it had not violently overthrown the British government in the colonies. And this violence was predicated upon political differences between the colonists and the government of Great Britain.
So, to say that political violence is un-American is, well, it’s kind of BS quite honestly. One could say that political violence is actually the very essence of being an American. Again, that sounds really bad when you say it that way but not sure it can be helped. As further proof, almost 100 years later we; well, we did it again.
You see, almost 100 years after America was founded through the use of political violence there was what? That’s right, the American Civil War. You see, it’s hard to characterize this as anything other than political violence or at the very least, politics that led to violence which is, well, it’s the same thing really.
Yes, the Confederate states initiated the violence when cadets at the Citadel fired on Fort Sumter but this didn’t have to end up in a war. The simple truth is that the North could have withdrawn troops from Southern lands, recognized the Confederate States of America and not gone to war. But, instead political violence in the guise of “preserving the Union” was chosen.
Again, we Americans tend to gloss over this point. Yay, the good guys won, slavery bad and all that. But, it was still a politically violent struggle, a war born from differing political views. If political violence had not been chosen, the United States of America as it exists today would not be here.
OK, so what is the point of this? Well, there is no point really. Too bad for you thinking everything has to have a point to it. Honestly, this article has been a really tough one to write. It’s just one of those things when you hear something repeated over and over in the media, “political violence is un-American” and you step back and think, “You know, that’s kind of wrong really. People sure do have a short memory.”. Or, people are just stupid and don’t know their history. Your choice.
One last thing, and we are going to state for a third time that the political violence that was seen in the Capitol was wrong and that this is absolutely not a call for violence, insurrection or sedition or anything close to it. But, don’t we as Americans reserve the right to resort to political violence when we see something despotic or evil in the world? We were founded that way, preserved the Union that way and this doesn’t even even mention all the wars America has fought over the years over what are, ostensibly, political disagreements. At the end of the day, an objective observer has to cry foul on the statement that political violence is un-American. It is, in point of fact, kind of what defines America. If one steps back and looks at the matter objectively, one can only reach the conclusion that political violence is the American Way.
Yeah, this one is going to get us banned.