Welcome to the Foxhole

by James C. Sherlock

I just posted this response to a relative who asked me to read a post by a left wing professor blaming Q’Anon for the violence in the capitol.

I read the article. I haven’t read enough of (name of the author) to characterize him, so I won’t.

I will, however address the violent fringes of American politics.

When I look at the pasty, scruffy-looking college students and millennial anarchists from this summer’s violence, I see a threat but one easily contained by police if let to do their jobs. The issue is that the violent left had political cover.  The mayors of the left could not bring themselves to effectively deal with their violence because they agreed with their politics.  

It is those leftist extremists and apolitical looters against which the nation’s cities boarded up their stores and restaurants right before the election. Not in case Donald Trump lost, but in case he won. A threat, but with political permission manageable because they are not generally individually tough or skilled at violence. If blue collar unions had backed and participated in that violence, it would have been a different story, but they did not.

When I look at the violent right, that is a completely different matter. These men and women are rough street fighters, many with backgrounds that have taught them how to exert violence efficiently and effectively. 

Most extremists on the right have, or had, blue collar jobs and were proud to do them. Many are truck drivers, plumbers, firemen, cops, construction tradesmen and military veterans. Many have Scotch-Irish heritage and, as Senator Jim Webb titled his book, were “born fighting”. Their personal dignity means more to many of them than life itself. They largely have avoided political violence all of my life.

I had hundreds of men like this who worked for me in the Navy. They were brave, skilled and indispensable sailors. They would have given their lives for their nation willingly. Some did. Some of them broke the rules and had to be dealt with, but I never, ever talked down to them. They did not deserve that.

My take on the right wing violence now at this time is that many of the perpetrators got increasingly tired of constantly being dismissed by the dominant progressive culture as unworthy of participation in political life, which is of course far worse than being disagreed with. 

Then they got very tired of it.  Dealing with them will be a heavier lift than dealing with the violent left wing fringe, because they are far tougher on average.  

Any persons who were or are violent for political reasons or not need to be dealt with by governments at every level. Always have, always will. Security from violence is the first responsibility of government. The intense focus of the progressive culture on political violence at this point is welcome, but still politically selective and certainly time late. 

The people who made a living denigrating blue collar conservatives and their culture or just did so casually at cocktail parties and in chat rooms are morons. They kept poking at a hornets nest and were shocked when hornets came out. They sowed the wind, and now all of us reap the whirlwind.

I personally never differentiate based on the “reasons” for violence. Reasons are irrelevant. That is why I don’t know much about Q’Anon —  I don’t care. It is a symptom, not the disease.

Any persons who were or are violent for political reasons or not need to be dealt with by governments at every level. Always have, always will. Security from violence is the first responsibility of government. 

The difference now is that right-wing extremists won’t have political cover from the progressive culture.

Perhaps the only delicious feature of the current crisis is that we, including finally the left, will be asking law enforcement men and women, many from the same cultural backgrounds as the right-wing extremists, to deal with those extremists. They will do the job and do it well because that, too, is their culture. Good thing.

We are all law and order advocates now. Welcome, my friends on the left, to the foxhole.