(Note: I’m posting Monday’s blog early, for reasons you’ll see below. For the first time, I’m writing this blog specifically for my fellow Americans. Although I believe it may offer some useful food for thought for anyone.)
You probably already saw the video they went viral Saturday. It showed some teenage children mocking and ridiculing people participating in an Indigenous Peoples March. Several of the kids were in the personal space of Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam vet and elder of the Omaha Nation. A number of the children were wearing #MAGA hats and clothes from Covington Catholic High School, a private all-boys school in Park Hills, Kentucky. (And should be noted, the school and diocese issued a sincere and thoughtful apology almost immediately.)
The first thing you have to look at is the irony of privileged white kids shouting “build the wall” chants to a Native American. And not just a Native American, but a veteran. I’ve written 12 books, but even I can’t find words to describe the irony in that. Moving on, here are some things we should talk about as a nation, from the perspective of enlightenment and prosperity consciousness.
First these were kids. Kids do stupid shit all the time. They’re allowed to, even supposed to. The overwhelming majority grow up to be good people as adults. So their behavior was despicable. But let’s keep things in perspective.
The real nexus of this scenario will be the parents. How many will punish their kids, and how many will cheer them on? Unfortunately, given today’s political environment, it’s a safe bet that a good number will choose the latter. In either event, let’s not lose sight of the uneven way justice is still dispensed in America. I was arrested for burglary and armed robbery when I was 15 years old. I spent a few months in jail awaiting trial, and then was sentenced to probation. Yet kids of color frequently receive sentences of years in prison for shoplifting or possession of a few pounces of marijuana.
Here’s the thing about this situation I find most disturbing:
You can bet the rent that the following scenario will likely happen: (I’m writing and posting this Saturday night, so let’s see how it actually plays out over the next week or so.) The liberals will keep circulating the video, attempting to use it as evidence that every single human who voted for Trump is a bigot. There will be some Trump voters who would normally be abhorred by the behavior in that video. But because they feel so besieged and attacked by the media, they will remain silent or actually defend it.
I expect MSNBC and the left wing media to immediately launch investigations to discover embarrassing information about the school. They’ll find some Catholic teacher who secretly had an abortion, discover a board member who supports gay conversion therapy, or anything that will make great clickbait and inflame their rabid followers who have lost the ability to think for themselves.
Meanwhile, the fear mongers at FOX News and the hate mongers at Breitbart, will start immediate opposition research on Phillips and the other tribe members who were with him. They dig up an old drug bust, find someone who owes child support, or has a Hillary bumper sticker on their microbus, to inflame their rabid followers who have lost the ability to think for themselves.
And all the while, the Russian troll farms (and perhaps other countries), will amplify it further. Both sides will react with renewed and increasing animosity – and it will widen the chasm of hate between the two sides.
And Vladimir Putin will be smiling.
UPDATE: So a lot has shaken out in 24 hours...
There's LOTS of new narratives out on this. In one, theCovington kids are innocent victims. Sorry, I'm not buying that their behavior was innocent, let alone Christian. But there are some things going on. It's apparent that a group of Black Muslim men, who claimed to be “Hebrew Israelites” were taunting and jeering the kids earlier. And Phillips said he went in between to prevent a confrontation. So have to say the most shameful behavior was the Muslim men. They're grown and their bigotry is a disgrace to their faith. I don't think it justifies the actions of the MAGA kids, but as I said above, kids are kids.
I think this last day or so has vividly demonstrated my points above. People were bending over backwards looking for ways to validate the actions on "their side," and demonize the other side. And secondly, how we all all falling into the trap of Putin and the Russian bots and troll farms. (And now that we have added Muslims to the mix, the Russians can really dial up the hate.) We really have to do better. I'll be doing another post tomorrow and will expand on this greatly.