- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The left finally seems to be catching on — antifa, it appears, is not simply a peaceful product of the First Amendment.

Great. Maybe the far left will finally put down the baseball bats.

As the mayor of Berkeley just found, the storming troop of wayward youth is actually an organization of thugs and criminals. Jesse Arreguin, on the heels of massive antifa violence in his community, called for the group to be labeled a street gang.

Well, welcome to the side of sanity, Mayor Arreguin. It’s about time someone in the Democratic Party call these spades what they are — criminal low-class, bottom-feeding thugs.

“I think we should classify them as a gang,” he told CBS San Francisco, on the heels of weekend rioting in his California streets, courtesy of antifa protesters, who left at least five injured. “They come dressed in uniforms. They have weapons, almost like a militia, and I think we need to think about that in terms of our law enforcement approach.”

Yep, it’s the old “looks like a duck, walks like a duck, beats people in the street with clubs and bats duck” line of logic — and it rarely fails.

And get this: The mayor said he doesn’t support the far right, but that the far left nevertheless doesn’t have a moral justification to beat the crap out of those of different views.

Careful now mayor, you’re starting to sound like a — gasp — conservative who believes in the First Amendment. Isn’t that what those of sound logic have been saying all along, in the lead-up to Charlottesville as well as post-Charlottesville — that white nationalists, neo-Nazis and the like may be ugly and vicious and outright wrong in their ways of thinking, but that the First Amendment still allowed them the right to peaceably assemble and protest?

And further, hasn’t it been a well-repeated line of argument from patriotic and constitutionally-minded conservatives that those who said such weren’t automatically pro-white nationalist, but rather pro-Constitution, pro-freedom of speech, pro-First Amendment and the like?

It’s an argument and viewpoint neither media nor Democrat — nor shamefully, even some Republicans — wanted to hear, particularly when President Donald Trump said in the immediate aftermath of the Charlottesville clashes and chaos that he condemned violence on both sides. Then, the line of accepted thought was that white nationalists are so despicable they practically deserve to be beaten by antifa-type thugs.

But now maybe the left is coming around to the rational side of things. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put out a statement denouncing the most recent displays of violence in Berkeley, saying “the violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

Well now, you know a far-leftist group has swung too far left when even Pelosi is condemning.

Arreguin echoed.

“We also need to hold accountable and encourage people not to associate with these extremists because it empowers them and gives them cover,” Arreguin said.

Again — about time. The Democrats are late to the table. But at least Americans of all political backgrounds and ideologies can finally agree: Smashing in someone’s head or body with a baseball bat in the street is not constructive, proper First Amendment political speech.

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