President Trump recently referred to protesters who objected to the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanagh to the Supreme Court as an “angry left-wing mob”. Although the word “mob” can be defined as any group or collection of persons or things it is not customarily used that way and surely that is not the meaning that Trump intended to convey. The protesters were generally well organized. Being well organized is contrary to the definition of disorderly. Although the protests were often loud, being loud does not mean riotous. Does confronting a senator in an elevator and speaking loudly to get his attention constitute a riot? Does surrounding a table at a restaurant and speaking directly at a public official constitute a riot? Is the exercise of free speech now linked to the definition of mob? No, it isn’t the use of speech, it is the actual words that are used in the speech that offend the authority of those who are currently in power.
Were the protesters “bent on or engaged in lawless violence”? No, interrupting a hearing by shouting loudly is not violent, disruptive yes, but not lawless or violent. Protesters at the Kavanagh hearings threatened to figurativelyyank the silver spoon from the mouth of a man who had never been held accountable for his actions. When the only way to garner attention to this travesty of social justice is to be loud and “uncivil” then well organized groups of people will be loud and uncivil to the “genteel” authorities who would seek to abridge their rights to be heard. Those in power would like to shut down the voices of anyone who threatens the maintenance of their power and one way to do that is to label the dissenting voices as a mob. The righteous indignation that they express when they can no longer ignore the voices and the faces of those who are right in front of them is both phony and despicable.
The United States government (law enforcement) has a long history of ignoring crowds engaged in lawless violence. After World War II literally thousands of African American GIs were killed by angry mobswho resented the presence of these soldiers who had the audacity to expect they would be treated, not as war heroes, but as full members of American society.
In the 21stcentury it isn’t hard to find examples of mob violence especially when it is directed at racial minorities or immigrants. Those in power seek to shut down free speech when it directs attention towards injustice and inhumane treatment of those whose voices have been snuffed out.
The Immigrant Justice League exists to speak against moral atrocities directed towards those who have been victims of what appears to be an increasingly totalitarian regime. We will not be labeled as a mob. We will not be silenced.
By Sallie Hunt
Immigrant Justice League
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The Immigrant Justice League stands in opposition to authorities and agencies which take unfair, unjust and inhumane actions against immigrants and asylum seekers who are seeking a better life within the United States and will confront such authorities and agencies.