In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s contentious 2016 election to the White House, an onslaught of policies emanated from the new administration, designed to inflict pain on immigrants, accelerate climate change and further embolden gun owners stockpiling military-grade weapons. Whenever an organized action of civil disobedience mobilized protestors from the left, speaking out against Trump and his enablers in the Republican Party, the name of George Soros was invoked as a conservative boogey man.
The billionaire philanthropist and hedge fund manager (and not at all coincidentally, Jewish Holocaust survivor) was accused of bankrolling everything from the migrant caravan, to the Brett Kavanaugh protests, to the March for Our Lives movement, a student-led reaction to school shootings such as the one that claimed young lives in Parkland, Florida. Soros was also implicated in alleged payoffs to participants in the annual Women Marches. However I attended the first one in Chicago in 2017 and am still awaiting my check.
I thought of Soros this weekend, each time I encountered coverage of the clash between mostly white students in MAGA hats, attending a March for Life rally, and elders peacefully expressing centuries of frustration at the Indigenous Peoples March. Both groups converged on Washington D.C. at the same cultural flashpoint in time, with the “mob-like” band of entitled, white youths taking the “civil” out of civil disobedience.
Writer Vincent Schilling of Indian Country Today described the most heated exchange of the day, the confrontation of Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam Veteran and host of a sacred pipe ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, by young, smug, Caucasians. Schilling characterized the viral images and video of the incident as setting social media platforms:
“…ablaze as a Native American elder singing the AIM Song in Washington D.C. during the Indigenous Peoples March was ridiculed, taunted and mocked by a group of non-Native youth.”
What, you may fairly ask, set off the privileged white children in the feral unleashing of their hate upon Phillips? Would you believe me if I told you that Phillips was running interference between the MAGA teens and a small group of black Jews? Of course you would. Take it away Narij Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press:
“Phillips, a former Marine, said the incident started as a group of Catholic students from Kentucky were observing the Black Israelites talk, and started to get upset at their speeches. The Catholic group then got bigger and bigger, with more than 100 assembled at one point, he said.
‘They witnessed these individuals on their soapbox saying what they had to say,’ Phillips said. ‘They didn’t agree with it and got offended.’”
Naturally, being a human being of empathy, Phillips placed himself between the angry mob of white kids and the “old, black individuals.” And because no act of decency goes unpunished as a symbol of weakness among the MAGA crowd, the “beasts” (Phillips’ words) quickly turned their anger on the Good Samaritan.
The member of the Omaha Tribe was quick to draw historical parallels between what he witnessed in Washington D.C. and some of the even darker chapters of American history. He said:
“the looks in these young men’s faces … I mean, if you go back and look at the lynchings that was done (in America) …and you’d see the faces on the people … The glee and the hatred in their faces, that’s what these faces looked like.”
Here’s the part of the whole sorry, degrading and humiliating spectacle that brought me to Soros however. Phillips went on to say that “If [the students’] instructors, their own teachers, their own chaperones, would have handled the situation right from the beginning, it would never have happened.”
Really though, wasn’t this what the students and their adult sponsors were hoping to achieve? The right to life movement has always been accompanied by healthy doses of irony, insofar as a fervency to defend the rights of cell clusters supersedes respect for actual, living people. Especially when those humans are merely hosts (sorry, women) and/or brown folks. The auspicious Friday in D.C. also gave the mini-Nazis occasion to round out their white supremacy set list with chants of “Build that wall, build that wall.” Never let it be said that bigots are incapable of multi-tasking.
In an article for The Washington Post, Michelle Boorstein observed, without any evident satire:
“A viral video of a group of Kentucky teens in ‘Make America Great Again’ hats taunting a Native American veteran on Friday has heaped fuel on a long-running, intense argument among abortion opponents as to whether the close affiliation of many antiabortion leaders with President Trump since he took office has led to moral decay that harms the movement.”
I think the innocent people killed in abortion clinic bombings over the last four decades might have something to say about the recency of the pro-life movement’s “moral decay.”
While the Kentucky Catholic diocese was quick to condemn the mini-Mussolinis with words of admonishment, there’s a much simpler way to keep incidents like this from recurring. The Church could choose to keep its wallet closed, simply stop underwriting student groups who wish to take their general hatred of everyone “other” to the national stage. Unlike the myriad leftist campaigns attributed to George Soros, this episode was actually funded by a group with an agenda which has proven stubbornly resistant to dignified containment.