This past weekend our great nation once again sat back and rooted for injuries on the far ends of both sides of the political spectrum, as Tax Day protestors clashed with pro-Trump supporters in theda Starbucks-ridden, gentrified urban wastelands of Berkeley, again.
Your challengers? On the left: the black-masked, hoodie-clad, spoke-roach brigade of “Antifa”: a far left, anarchist, communist “whateverist” campus movement hellbent on proving Trump right about everything. On the right: Alt-Right memelord weekend warrior Trump supporters in batting cage helmets and American flag capes, arriving to do battle, while most likely lying to their wives that they were just stepping out to Home Depot for a bit.
Fists were thrown; America’s leading Mindset Expert was gently fondled; tear gas was dispersed and Pepsi offered. News helicopters captured footage of Antifa and the Pepe Army playing Red Rover with what must have been a super-entitled dumpster that needed to check its privilege.
While these weekend skirmishes are humorous to most, great for the window-replacement business, and fine for the cops getting paid overtime, I can’t help but step back and wonder why exactly these two sides of hot pocket warriors are doing battle with each other. They agree with each other on almost everything.
While stipulating that the glaring difference is “America for Americans” plastered over a big beautiful wall vs. a rainbow saturated pan-racial utopia, that’s not what these campus protest soirées are strictly about. This all basically boils down to which group of misfits has control of the Twitter-conch at any given moment. But ideologically speaking? These are two groups throwing comically weak punches at one another without stopping to realize that they believe in almost the exact same policies.
Healthcare? Antifa college activists fall in line right behind Grandpa Bernie Sanders in advocating universal government paid healthcare for all…which happens to be the exact same position taken by Donald Trump (both during the campaign, and after the AHCA fallout). This has been known as far back as 2015. Several “thought leaders” of the new alt right endorse single payer healthcare as well.
Not two weeks ago, both sides also found themselves aligned on the issue of bombing Syria. The conductors of the Trump Train oppose foreign intervention with the proclamation “America First,” while the far left sees Trump as another Hitler W. Bush, bombing the browner peoples of the world to juice his approval ratings and personally enrich the family wealth. Both believe in a strong patrimonial government, as embodied by a powerful federal bureaucracy. One side believes government is their all-providing “Father”. The other calls it “Daddy.”
Which brings us to the core issue of speech and the freedom or limits thereof. “But one group is about shutting down free speech!” No, silly normie, actually both are. Antifa manifests their anti-speech authoritarianism on college campuses against speakers they don’t like (or whoever the groups they follow on Facebook tell them not to like). The alt-right attempts to bury anyone online who dares speak out against their God-Emperor on social media, while simultaneously celebrating his musings about the need to re-examine First Amendment U.S. libel law.
Furthermore, both sides manifest their strong political emotions into physical aggression. Antifa doesn’t like Milo Yiannopoulos coming to speak? Sweet: trash some buildings, start some fires, show the colors! Chest thumping alpha male gorilla mind is a staple of the MAGA Mindset. During the campaign, several instances of violence broke out at Trump rallies, when the candidate egged on the crowd from the stage. Antifa pepper sprayed a girl in a hat that read “Make Bitcoin great again,” mistaking it for a Trump MAGA hat. A Trump supporter this past weekend lobbed a punch at a female Antifa activist he, in all probability, thought was a guy. This week a Trump supporter who assaulted a protestor is now suing Trump, claiming Trump made him do it. Good luck with that.
It may simply come down to this: Parties do not exist anymore. There is no left vs right. We are grunting pockets of enclaves and Twitter lists and one side may not like another any more simply because of the letter they wear on their chest. Tribalism rules all, even if that tribe sees eye to eye with your tribe.
Antifa activists may look at Trump and see some of the worst authoritarian impulses they and their idols of literature also possess (Their name Antifa is borrowed from Anti-Facism Leninists of the Bolshevik movement, of which Steve Bannon reportedly was also a fan). Spartan helmet wearing MAGA Warriors may look at how the media romanticizes movements of the far left like Black Lives Matter, Occupy and Antifa, and decided they want in on the adulation and the action. Some claim to just be tired and want pushback, but pushback against what? Antifa is torching their own campuses and their own cities.
Whatever it is, both sides ought to take heed of advice from the Gipper himself: The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor. Both sides should pump the breaks on the fist throwing and share a Pepsi with their young fellow statists.