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Chris Stigall Column: The GOP's Unholy Alliance

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--Two tweets this week sickened and alarmed me even more than the events in Charlottesville last Saturday for two reasons.  They came from leading Republican voices and they struck at the very heart of who we are as a free people.

Before I go on, I'll do the obligatory virtue signal off the top as to leave no question how I feel about white supremacy, racism, the KKK, etc.  They are the worst of us and they are a fringe element.  Not the norm.  Not most whites.  Fringe.

Additionally, I reject any notion they're "of the right," because they're not. They're socialists and this nation's history of racism isn't backed by the Republican Party.  I stand with the party of Lincoln on this.   If that's not good enough, I've nothing more to say.

Now that we've established I'm safe to have an opinion again, I'll continue with the shocking tweets of the week.

First, former governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney who felt he needed to rebuke President Trump's statements surrounding the events in Charlottesville. Trump stated there was violence and bad behavior on "both sides."  Mr. Romney tweeted in response: "No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes."

On the same day, Republican candidate for president, Florida Senator Marco Rubio fired off a series of tweets on the issue. One of which read: "When entire movement built on anger & hatred towards people different than you, it justifies & ultimately leads to violence against them…"

Now folks, if you agree with those two tweets – lets just set fire to the Bill of Rights right now.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Rubio – among others in the Republican Party desperate to seek shelter from the mob – tripped over one another with similar sentiments. The ultimate take away?  There is speech they deem good and speech they deem bad.  If you utter the speech they deem bad, prepare to have it justifiably beaten out of you in the public square.  Because, those beating you for saying those bad things are on the side of good, you see?

What men like Romney and Rubio fail to recognize in statements like these is they actually sound like the Nazis they decry.  What's next - a book barbeque of some of the classics? Maybe regular searches of our personal effects to be sure we're not engaged in any "immoral" speech or activities?

Have you seen "The Man In the High Castle" series on Amazon? I've just started it.  It's a dystopian look at a post-World War II world where the Japanese and Nazis were victorious over the Allies.  The two Axis powers split the United States in half.  Nazis rule the Eastern half of the United States and the Japanese rule the West.

Giving nothing away, in an early episode an American woman is trying desperately to obtain a Bible.  She and a bookstore owner quietly discuss how dangerous it is to possess. The shop owner cautiously sells her one from a hidden stash under his counter and she exits with it tucked in her coat.  There's also a chilling reminder of what life looks like without Second Amendment protections, but I'll let you see it for yourself.

When I read Senator Rubio say certain speech "justifies" violence against you, well, my new favorite Amazon show started to feel just a little too possible.

You're probably familiar with the hateful, insidious sideshow known as the Phelps family of the Westborough "church" based in Kansas.  For a couple of decades, these grotesque distortions of Christians show up at everything from concerts to military funerals proclaiming "God's hate" for anyone in their sight.

As a person who feels deeply about his church and personal relationship with the Lord, I'm aware of how many Americans are increasingly leery, if not downright disdainful of organized religion.  When I see those monsters invoking my faith, it makes me furious.  They cause those unfamiliar with the love and grace of God unlikely to ever seek it. Frankly, I'd love to see some very un-Christian stuff happen to them.

That said, I don't throw punches or bottles when I see them.  I don't lobby my elected officials to ban them.  Besides, some have tried.  And you know what happens?  Our courts – the highest in the land – side with the Phelps' and their PROTECTED right to parade those disgusting displays in our public spaces.  Should I decide to take matters into my own hands, I'd rightly be arrested for assault.

Today, something eerie and disturbing is underway.  The leftist, progressive, "Antifa" (anti-fascist) movement is silencing speech on college campuses. They're storming legal demonstrations with which they disagree.  They're disrupting our civic institutions; damaging property, killing and attacking police, and demanding any historical imagery upsetting to them vanish from sight forever.

In other words, "Antifa" is actually very "Fa."

Leading Republicans are so eager to curry favor with the partisan media and the mob they cover, they're willing to say anything to keep the heat off of them.  There is no such thing as "moral" violence because of speech you disagree with, Mr. Romney.  There is not such thing as "justified" violence because of speech you deem angry and hateful, Mr. Rubio.

Gentleman, you're in the party of Lincoln.  You're in the party that largely stood with the Union in the Civil War.  You're in the party that got the Civil Rights Act passed while the Democrats obstructed.  History is on your side.  Those are the facts.

Virtue signaling to an angry, leftist mob that they're on the "moral" side of violence because they oppose a group of white supremacists today wins you nothing from them.  They hate you and your party and they're never going to support your candidacy or give your policy prescriptions for the country a moment of their time.

The Republican establishment had better start standing with the First Amendment WHILE standing up against all violence and hate.  They had better start standing up for law and order WHILE denouncing violence from yes, "both sides."  But if they continue to excuse and justify fascists' use of violence to shut down speech just to save their own hides?

Well, one day there won't be anyone left to silence but folks like Mr. Romney and Mr. Rubio whose "reasonableness" today may seem utterly "hateful" tomorrow.  And the mob won't think twice about dealing with them, too.  After all, it's their "moral, justified" imperative. Isn't that right, gentleman?


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