Bucknam: Collective guilt and political violence

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Deborah Bucknam, a St. Johnsbury-based attorney and the vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party.

Supporters of the presidential candidate who lost the election stormed into Washington, D.C., destroying property, attacking and injuring police and causing major damage to buildings in the city. Vicious signs threatening the winner’s supporters were everywhere.

The violence was met with universal condemnation. The president whose party lost the election spoke, issuing a strong statement condemning the violence of his supporters, and saying, “You have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law: you will pay.”

Bucknam Law

St. Johnsbury Attorney Deborah Bucknam

The media rushed to demand statements condemning the violence from every elected official in the losing presidential candidate’s party. Those officials were more than glad to comply. Strong statements of condemnation from virtually every official of the losing party were ubiquitous. Violence was not to be tolerated by anyone.

Only it did not happen.

At President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, there was rioting, arson and looting by Hillary Clinton supporters. Major damage was done to four downtown businesses. Two hundred people were arrested. Neither Hillary Clinton, nor President Obama, nor any Democrat elected official condemned the violence. Instead, Mrs. Clinton a few months later announced she was a member of “the Resistance.”

The media never demanded that any member of the Democrat party condemn what had happened. Coverage of the violence was desultory. The media was more interested in whether President Trump “lied” about the size of the crowds supporting him.

Unsurprisingly, violence became more and more acceptable over the next four years. A senator was physically attacked and hospitalized. A Bernie Sanders supporter shot up a baseball field and a congressman nearly died. Despite Sanders’ decades long vicious slanders against his political opponents and his incendiary rhetoric, no one demanded his condemnation or resignation. Members of the Trump administration and Republicans were repeatedly, physically threatened and harassed. Thugs surrounded the homes of Republican officials, yelling from loudspeakers and frightening families. After Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed, mobs tried to storm the Supreme Court building. The responses to those events were met mostly with silence.

Then in the summer of 2020, cities across the country were burned, looted and pillaged. A dozen people died. Billions of dollars in damage was sustained. Yet at the Democratic Party convention that summer there was not one word of condemnation. The violence was even excused by President-elect Kamala Harris, other Democrat leaders and many in the media and academia.

It was only when Trump-supporting thugs stormed the Capitol that everyone suddenly became appalled at the violence. The media across the country demanded contrition and condemnation from every Republican official, down to the local level. The words quoted above were President Trump’s words condemning his own supporters who mobbed the Capitol building. They were deemed insufficient by the Establishment. Hysterical demands for resignations of Republicans, including the president, were nonstop. Calls for criminal investigations, not just of the Capitol thugs, but of those who support the President, were heard across the country. Supporters of the president lost their jobs and the president and many of his supporters were muzzled on social media.

Of course the violence was appalling and indefensible. Just like the violence over the last four years.

What happened in the aftermath of the Capitol violence is evidence of a very disturbing trend in this country. Since the dawn of civilization, the tactics of those who seek absolute power are the same: demonize and dehumanize your political opponents. Hillary Clinton called her political enemies “deplorables.” The Nazis called theirs “undesirables.” Impose collective guilt for any criminal or wrongful conduct of any one of your political opponents’ supporters, while minimizing or ignoring the criminal conduct of your own supporters. Demand your opponents abase themselves and resign because of the conduct of others. Threaten criminal prosecution of those who were not involved in any violence. Take away your opponents’ right to speak. Take away your opponents’ livelihoods, destroy their careers, humiliate and shame them and their families.

These are the tactics that have become acceptable in our country. They are the tactics of the radical Woke generation, wholly supported by the Democrat party and its Establishment allies across a wide spectrum of American civilization. But the “radicals” of the Woke generation are not radical at all. They are hidebound reactionaries fighting to return our country to an antediluvian form of government which consigns people to castes where its subjects possess immutable characteristics common to their caste. Consequently, the government metes out rights, privileges or punishments for its subjects based solely on their membership in the caste, and not on equal protection for every individual. That ancient form of government reached its apogee in the 20th century when tens of millions were humiliated, silenced, lost their livelihoods, were starved, robbed, ultimately tortured and killed merely because they belonged to a despised group.

The truly radical political doctrine is what this nation was founded on: that every person is an individual, not someone whose humanity is defined by membership in a caste. Every person has equal individual rights that the government cannot take away.

We must fight for return to that radical idea, or we are in danger of returning instead to the ancien regimes of the past where totalitarians determine our fate.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Bucknam Law

11 thoughts on “Bucknam: Collective guilt and political violence

  1. Ms. Bucknam,
    Thank you for this piece pointing out the hypocrisy of some parts of our society. It was good to be reminded of what happened the night of President Trump’s inauguration in Washington D.C.
    I recently wrote a similar commentary advocating for a consistent adherence to the rule of law. It was however based more on examples in recent history in Vermont. Not sure if it will be published in TNR or elsewhere as it will probably offend some of those on both the left and right.

  2. Repressive Tolerance:
    “Here, let’s just summarize the doctrine of repressive tolerance in plain English:

    Tolerance is only to be extended to truth.
    Leftism is objectively true, and anything other than leftism is not.
    Therefore tolerance is only to be extended to leftism.
    Anyone who disagrees with this has been indoctrinated. To the extent that the majority of people disagree, that means the majority of people are indoctrinated.
    Since most people are indoctrinated, leftists must break the indoctrination so that they can grasp the truth of leftism.
    To break the indoctrination, leftists must promote left-wing thought and suppress right-wing thought.
    Promoting left-wing thought is accomplished by changing “established universes of meaning” and actively presenting “information slanted in the opposite direction,” e.g. by political correctness and propaganda.
    Suppressing right-wing thought is accomplished by withdrawing the freedom of speech, press, and assembly for anyone who disagrees with leftists on race, gender, religion, armament, public services, social security, or healthcare, e.g. deplatforming us entirely.
    If necessary to withdraw these freedoms, leftists must operate at such scale that the actions cease to be non-violent and become revolutionary violence.
    Leftists who use revolutionary violence are not to be condemned by any leftists.
    In brief, the doctrine holds that left-wing speech, assembly and even violence must be praised and promoted; while right-wing speech, assembly, and especially violence must be condemned, suppressed, and punished.

    And that doctrine is being implemented 24/7/365 in the aftermath of January 6th.”

    This is from an article by Alexander Macris. I would provide the link but his account at substack.com seams to have been cancelled.

  3. We have had to endure 4 years of non-stop hate for Pres. Trump. I think it is terribly sad that 75 million people in the United States no longer TRUST the media.

    • It is wrong for the media and the democrats to paint all the Trump supporters with the same brush, GUILTY. Trump supporters have the utmost respect for Vice Pres., Mike Pence. They would never call for him to be hung.

    • In actuality – received over 80 million votes – huge landslide vacated by the Democrat Party aided and abetted by Chinese Communist Party and including Mark Zuckerberg and Hussein mastermind Dave Plouffe. May they all rot.

  4. An excellent commentary Attorney Bucknam.

    You present words that needed to be said. A picture that needed to be painted. A massive hypocrisy that has been fraudulently ignored and misrepresented by the main stream media and ruthlessly politically exploited by the left.

    What we need now is President-Elect Biden to live up to his promise to the American people to unite this country. Biden must lead by uniting, the politicians must do their part and media must return to honest reporting.

    If President Biden fails to unite as he promised, our Democracy will be in peril.

    • Peter,

      When Xi Biden is sworn in as President of The United States on January 20th 2021, I swear to you, the heavens will part, the angles will sing, and a brilliant light will be shone down and cast upon the Deep State!

    • Their actions and words reveal their hearts and minds. It should put a shudder of fear among anyone who loves God and Country.

      It would be nice to believe that everyone is clueless. But can they? When 112,704 people make strong suggestions to those in office does anyone pause and think?

      People don’t even realize they are part of the Uni-party…..American vs. American….that’s the dream of the NWO pimps…..

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