It was the best of riots. It was the worst of riots.
Coast to coast, anything goes in this madness and mayhem today.
Throngs of good people peacefully protesting in the streets over the death of George Floyd have been entirely drowned out by looters and rioters eager to twist any cause into their own private hobby horse for personal gain. But don’t get caught out mentioning the ugly element of it all — no matter how dramatic the endless footage on television might be of police cars burning, cops being murdered and storefronts being smashed open.
That makes you a racist. Yes, in this age of foolishness, you are branded some kind of racist if you want the lawless looters eliminated so that the voices of peaceful protesters can be heard.
And, Lordy Day, whatever you do, don’t go silent. You see, “silence is violence,” they tell us.
Indeed, the age of foolishness.
Across the whole World Wide Web, children and adults are bullying anyone who dares not to bow before the mob. Loyalty oaths are administered. Anyone deemed insufficiently enthusiastic is mercilessly hounded into submission.
Those who balk are branded “racists.”
“Silence is violence.”
Technically speaking, “silence” is not “violence.” In fact, the two could not be on more polar opposites of the spectrum. But in this age of foolishness, feelings are everything.
Sentio, ergo sum.
I feel, therefore I am.
It no longer matters what you say. All that matters is how others choose to interpret what you say. Or, misinterpret what you say.
The context of history is utterly irrelevant. Except when it isn’t.
For example, the historical context of a great, wise, selfless and courageous general whose people lauded him a century and a half after he was dead is totally irrelevant. His grave should be desecrated and memorials to him should be torn down.
But the historical context of a rioting looter who kills a retired cop over a pile of stolen televisions from a pawn shop should be held and cherished as Truth from God.
This, the epoch of incredulity.
Turns out, you can even burn a church and the self-appointed merchants of virtue will rush to your defense.
“Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at The New York Times blithely explained.
Rioters light St. John’s Episcopal Church across from Lafayette Square — church to every president since James Madison — on fire. First, the political press first denies the story, even as flames flicker through the windows. Then they seek to minimize it.
It was just a small fire.
Not to be outdone, the mob-sniffing Espicopal bishop of Washington, D.C. exploited the hateful arson in her parish to make a political statement and attack President Trump over his religion. Indeed, a time for fools.
The protests there began in peace. Good people gathered to protect the historical and cultural monuments that stood to memorialize a very hard and painful time from our past — a past we have all learned from. A past we have all progressed from.
But that progress only comes from remembering our past, even — no, especially — the painful parts.
By the time the political press and Washington politicians finished weaponizing the whole thing to their own political advantage, the good people were torched and looted and left for dead.
“Good people on both sides” became a rallying cry from neo-Nazi hatred. What a lie.
According to the loyalty oaths at that time, they were all evil. According to the loyalty oaths today, all the rioters are pure and good — especially when it comes to ordering pallets of bricks to be delivered to appointed street corners.
Think back to Charlottesville and just imagine if those peaceful protesters had lit a fire in the basement of a mosque or a synagogue. Would everyone from the bishop of Washington to The New York Times come running to their defense to say, it was just a building? Swallow your privilege and get over it.
Indeed, it is a season of darkness, the very winter of despair.
• Charles Hurt is opinion editor of The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com or @charleshurt on Twitter.