Commentary: Approaching a John Brown precipice

First, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the members of the Jewish community in Atascadero and throughout SLO County. The massacre of innocents in Pittsburgh on Saturday should draw all decent people together in repudiating this act of murderous hatred directed at the Jewish community. At such times, we should all take a page from history, such as when the people of Denmark all began wearing a Jewish star to show solidarity against the Nazi persecution of Jews. At such moments as this, we are all Jewish. Christians, in particular, are commanded in Proverbs 24:10-12 to “rescue those being led away to death” and will be held accountable by God for their actions or failure to act. The Jewish community is as American in spirit as anyone in this nation and without their help, the American Revolution would have failed.

For instance, Haym Soloman, an American Jewish businessman, was a member of the Sons of Liberty, a spy against the British on behalf of General Washington and a financier of the Continental Army. His efforts saved the Revolution in 1781 when Washington had the British cornered at Yorktown. The Continental Army was broke, starving and short of everything. Soloman came to the rescue and financed Washington’s efforts which allowed Washington to keep the Army in the field at the decisive moment of the Revolution. Soloman also personally financially supported several key members of the Continental Congress during the Revolution. The Jewish contribution to American liberty and to our society as a whole has been an enormous but little-documented blessing to the nation throughout our history. The blind hatred of the Jewish community as manifested Saturday is a product of ignorance and a perverse ideology that has no place in American political discourse.

Last week evil walked the streets and manifested itself first by a series of mail bombs sent to elected officials or outspoken critics of the president by a paranoid, delusional would-be murderer. His capture on Thursday was followed by the cowardly act of mass-murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hate is learned, not inherited and the spirit of murder, according to the Bible, rises directly from the pit of hell. This hatred must be purged from our midst and replaced with reason and tolerance.

Sadly, the hateful sentiments of the Pittsburgh murderer are all too widespread. On American college campuses, it’s difficult to be openly Jewish lest you be persecuted by anti-Israel factions; the only acceptable way to be Jewish on many campuses is to be openly anti-Israel. For instance, this weekend UCLA will host a conference that is vehemently anti-Israel and will feature openly anti-Semitic speakers. Hatred from the extreme-Left is not confined to anti-Semitism but also extends to overt racism. UC Santa Cruz recently hosted a “Practical Activism” conference portions of which discussed “how to hate white people.” That such conferences and speakers would be given a platform anywhere in America simply demonstrates how divisive identity politics has mainstreamed and legitimized the most extreme elements in our society.

Examples include the June of 2017 attempted mass-murder of Republican members of Congress by a Bernie Sanders supporter during after-hours baseball practice. In the past two years we have witnessed repeated physical and verbal attacks on conservatives across the nation but in particular in areas with strong Leftist constituencies. I recently viewed a video of a young man in San Jose who dared to openly express his support of President Trump. He was attacked by a group of street thugs and chased down the street with a mob on his heels. The mob included several photojournalists who made no effort to assist the man; even the police stood by, taking no action until the man literally fled behind several officers, none of whom took any action to disperse the mob.

The level of violence continues to escalate and the political atmosphere is about as poisoned as I’ve ever witnessed. Hatred of President Trump has extended to anyone not overtly and vehemently opposed to either Trump or his policies. For nearly three years the ideological Left has engaged in an unremitting hate-fest such as late night TV where any slur against Trump is socially acceptable. Holding a representation of a severed head with the likeness of Trump superimposed or threats to rape his wife and murder his children are simply laughed-off. Prominent public officials are frequently physically attacked or violently harassed in public places. National media personalities and Hollywood celebrities routinely stoke the fires of political class warfare with daily diatribes against the President and his supporters. Others make absurd comparisons of Trump to the bloodiest dictators of the 20th century which demeans the victims of real political violence who were killed by the millions at the hands of Leftist dictators. Is it any wonder that unbalanced or hate-consumed individuals will act out their violent fantasies? Trump doesn’t get a pass either. His unremitting engagement of critics with personal insults is both un-Presidential and demeaning to the office he holds.

In 1856, Kansas abolitionist John Brown and his supporters began murdering political opponents, culminating in a raid on Harper’s Ferry Armory in 1859 to obtain weapons for a slave uprising. His actions were a major catalyst towards driving southerners to secede from the Union and the opening shots of the Civil War. Current attacks by extremists across the spectrum reflect the deep divide in American politics today, rapidly approaching a point of no return, a “John Brown moment” which will only result in the death of the Republic.


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