When will we stop congratulating people for vandalism?
I’ve mocked and satirized Trump to the point that about 1/3 of the love letters I receive from angry fans consist of calling me “fake news”. This is despite the fact, as Snopes pointed out when they debunked one of my articles, I normally include a disclaimer at the end explaining that it’s a joke. Hell, I even made merch that mocks Trump’s policies:
You can (and should) totally buy it in our store, btw
So it might be surprising that I have a problem with people conducting random acts of vandalism against Trump and his administration.
A couple of days ago, someone took a pickaxe to Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A symbol of recognition for someone whose only claim to Hollywood fame is having a reality TV show seems a bit much in the first place, but second guessing their rationale is the topic of another article.
Today, a yacht belonging to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was set adrift on Lake Huron after someone untied it from its mooring. The boat actually had people on board, meaning this act could have possibly resulted in a member of the crew being injured. Instead, the yacht struck a rock, resulting in an estimated $5000 to $10,000 in damages.
I’m not shedding tears for the victims of these crimes. But why are we cheering on people who do this?
Now, don’t get me wrong. Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos are objectively bad people who, instead of serving the general public, are only concerned with furthering their own agendas and personal interests. They create their own catastrophes then want credit for solving them. Trump’s policies resulted in separating children from their parents at the border. They resulted in kids being put in cages. His tariffs have caused countless farmers to struggle to make ends meet. And now to protect his own interest in keeping the farmers’ votes, they resulted in welfare for farmers.
It’s very clear that Both Trump and DeVos don’t care about the citizens they represent. This is obvious when you consider the fact that Trump could feed every homeless military veteran for the cost of his absurd military parade. It’s obvious when you consider that DeVos is endorsing school vouchers, which undermines public schools by working to privatize them, with the ultimate goal of demonstrably false religious-based things like Creationism being taught in schools.
This reminds me of the Arkansas Ten Commandments monument that was unlawfully installed on public property. Less than a day after it was put up, it was vandalized by a man who drove his car into it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s response to the incident summarized my feelings on the matter quite well:
There is no need to resort to criminal behavior to uphold the Constitution. Obviously, the motivation of this disturbed individual is unknown (and perhaps even unknown to him), but is unlikely to be about upholding the separation of religion and government.
Whatever his motivation: We are a nation governed by the rule of law. That not only means vandalism will not be tolerated, but it also means that we take our disputes to court.
What exactly gives someone the right to decide that someone else’s property should be vandalized? Where do we draw the line to decide when enough is enough?
What will it take? Will it have to result in someone being injured for people to realize that vandalism is wrong?
And look, I get it. Vandalism is a form of protest and it makes you feel good in the moment because it feels like the situation is completely out of control, and it gives you momentary control over someone else. It can feel cathartic in that it allows you to express your most primal urges in a violent act that forces people to pay attention to it.
Incidents of vandalism like these play right into the hands of the Trump administration. We’ve seen time and time again that Trump has no qualms with manipulating the truth to suit his narrative, even if what he says is demonstrably false, so it only benefits them when these things happen. Trump’s star will be repaired, and DeVos’s boat will get fixed as well. A $10,000 repair is literally nothing for a $40 million yacht, anyway.
Mob justice benefits no one. Just because something feels good at the time doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to be doing. Everybody thinks it’s great until the mob decides that it’s time to target you or someone you disagree with.
To check my own biases, I like to play a mental game where I imagine if someone had destroyed a monument/plaque/something of Barack Obama or if someone vandalized his house. Imagine how the headlines would read, and how much outrage there would be from people on the left.
Vandalism like this doesn’t fix anything. It’s essentially the #thoughtsandprayers of the far left. It feels nice at the time, we all have a good laugh about it, then in a week or two, the damage is repaired and ultimately, nothing changes. All that you’ve done is given Trump and his sycophants real, tangible evidence they can now point to demonstrating how unhinged “the left” is. It’s playing their game, and it proves them right to themselves.
My preferred source for rationality, Seth Andrews, explained it rather eloquently today:
In our quest for champions, let’s not align ourselves with those who play to our basest instincts, break the law we’re working to uphold, and make us look like an out-of-control mob.
We don’t need any more tantrum-throwing children in this situation. We need more adults in the room.
Thanks for reading the full article! If you want something completely different, check out this video: Good kitty climbs on Polish historian’s head during serious TV interview