Protesters and supporters of Donald Trump clashed in the streets of San Jose, California, Thursday night after the presumptive GOP nominee held a rally.
Protesters waved Mexican flags and one could be seen burning an American flag, with another burning Trump’s “Make America Great Hat.” Some chanted “F— Donald Trump” and “Donald Trump has got to go” outside the San Jose Convention Center, where Trump held his rally.
Reports include Trump supporters being egged, supporters and protesters being punched and protesters jumping on cars and screaming about how we need socialism (the irony of far more violent protesters over the effects of socialism in Venezuela being lost on them).
This is insane. This is thuggery. This is unacceptable. A lot of the commentary focuses on how this plays into Trump’s hands and will rally his support. Maybe. But I find myself agreeing with Chris Hayes:
"This plays into Trump's hands" is beside the point. People have a *fundamental* right to attend a political rally.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 3, 2016
And as for my feelings about this:
To those assaulting Trump supporters: This is not 1935. Trump is not Hitler. And you are not the resistance. Cut it the f*ck out.
— HAL 10000 (@Hal_RTFLC) June 3, 2016
Trump is bad Presidential candidate and I think would likely make a bad President. His “plan” for expelling eleven million illegal immigrants has the very real potential to be a humanitarian disaster. And he has no respect for other people’s First Amendment rights, having brought numerous SLAPP lawsuits to silence his critics and making open threats of what he would do, as President, to judges and reporters he doesn’t like. But he’s not Hitler. I have no problem with people protesting against him or his policies. But when they attack his supporters or try to stop him from speaking, they’ve crossed a line.
This is usually the point where some helpful person will point out the First Amendment only protects us from government censorship. And they’re right. However, as Greg Lukianoff has argued, it is critical that we not only respect the First Amendment but that we cultivate a culture of free speech. We ned a country where the mere idea of silencing people we don’t like through thuggery, be it individuals or government, is repellent. But to far left, the idea of letting people speak has become anathema. We used to boast about letting Nazis and the KKK — real genuine hate groups that advocated violence — speak what was in their twisted little minds. Now we descend into madness on the words of a two-bit New York real-estate mogul.
Let Trump speak. Let people support him. And respond to thing you don’t like with more speech and rallying your supporters. That’s the way you deal with politicians and political movements you don’t like. And as long as you’re doing that, I will support your right to speak just as vigorously as I support Trump’s.