It’s a scene we’ve witnessed with dispiriting frequency in the past few weeks: a conservative figure, accosted as they went about their everyday activities. This time, it was former White House adviser Steve Bannon in a Richmond, Virginia bookstore.
The ending this time was a bit different, however: The woman who accosted him was going to have the police called on her by the owner.
“Nick Cooke, owner of Black Swan Books on West Main Street in the Fan District, said Bannon was in the bookstore Saturday afternoon and that a woman confronted him, calling him a ‘piece of trash,’” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
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“Cooke said he called 911 and that the woman left as he made the call.”
“Steve Bannon was simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business. I asked her to leave, and she wouldn’t. And I said, ‘I’m going to call the police if you don’t,’ and I went to call the police and she left,” Cooke told the paper.
“And that’s the end of the story.”
Perhaps the most uplifting thing, however, was Cooke’s defense of what the bookstore stands for.
“We are a bookshop. Bookshops are all about ideas and tolerating different opinions and not about verbally assaulting somebody, which is what was happening,” Cooke said.
Richmond police confirmed that a call was made around 3:15 on Saturday afternoon but was cancelled before policemen could respond to the location.
This is just the latest public confrontation from liberals that conservatives have faced in recent weeks. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao have all been victims of public harassment — not to mention teens wearing MAGA caps or reporters for conservative publications that have also been attacked.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Democrats are suborning such attacks.
“Let’s make sure we show up, wherever we have to show up,” Maxine Waters said during a now-infamous late-June rally in Los Angeles.
“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you cause a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome — anymore, anywhere.”
Democrats refused to condemn the remarks, and their supporters have responded with aplomb. For instance, check out the Twitter comments on the Bannon story when it was reported by The Hill, a relatively centrist publication:
Keep in mind, these aren’t cherry-picked — they’re unbroken sections of comments. The only ones I had to edit out were the ones with predictable vulgarity. All of these people either support what this woman did or are making similarly minatory threats against Bannon.
Now, for the record, let me just say I wasn’t particularly a Bannon fan, either before or after he shivved the president in “Fire and Fury.” I don’t particularly feel the need to adumbrate the reasons why, but I think the Trump White House has generally been better sans his presence.
That being said, I can’t think of any possible human being I would treat like this. Even if I ran across Waters — the co-author of this elongated two-minutes hate against conservatives — I wouldn’t treat her like this.
If I were a restaurant owner and Waters came for a meal, while it’s certainly my right as an American not to serve her because I disagree in extremis not only with her political philosophy but the hooliganry with which she chooses to pursue it, I would serve her as I would any other customer. I would do so through gritted teeth, but I believe in the value of a civil society — and if anyone intimidated her, I would throw them out.
There’s not one single liberal voice in the pack you see above who seems to believe the same courtesy ought to be extended to Bannon. In fact, they seem to believe the harassment should have been worse.
This will eventually lead to violence, and violence eventually leads to assassination. It’s the inexorable result of the Democrats’ complete refusal to disown dangerous rhetoric like this — including Waters’ own call for physical confrontation.
This is a sickness, and our political discourse will get worse before it gets better.
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