Rantz: After shameful Capitol mob, Seattle council finally condemns violence
The Seattle City Councilmembers that ignored, justified, or encouraged left-wing violence in 2020 are now condemning right-wing violence in D.C. They shouldn’t stop with D.C. They need to condemn all political violence if we are to unite as a country and ensure this dangerous form of criminal activism comes to an end.
A group of right-wing terrorists broke into the U.S. Capitol, upset with an election they falsely believed was stolen. They were fooled into thinking the election would be overturned by a president who kept pushing increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories.
Republicans and Democrats across the country quickly, loudly, and uniformly condemned the violence. Joining them? The Seattle City Council.
Seattle Councilmembers suddenly see the light
Like most Americans, I was disgusted by the mob that took on the Capitol. Those who turned to violence are responsible for murder. Anyone who defends the violence should be shunned.
I’m glad the council finally stood up to call out ideologically-driven violence. But it seems they only did it because it came from the right. In fact, in 2020, the council chose not to call out Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence because their supporters were responsible for it. They couldn’t even be bothered to condemn a group of Antifa agitators when they tried to burn Seattle police officers alive. They should have called out the violence then, as conservatives did. And all conservatives should call out the violence now.
Why is it important to demand consistency from our leaders? Because when you tell one fringe group of activists their violence is OK, you let others think they can get away with it, too.
It is not controversial, nor difficult, to say all politically-driven violence is wrong. Unless you’re a Seattle politician, or Donald Trump, condemning your own supporters.
Does the council care about the violence and the symbolism of attacking our democracy? Or are they merely interested in cheap political points to further endear themselves to Seattle’s activist community? You can decide.
Teresa Mosqueda hates violence, except when she defends it
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda used the riot to pitch her re-election campaign.
In a message, where you can also donate to her campaign, she condemns the “angry mob incited by a traitorous President” who were “encouraged by Republican Senators intent on destroying democracy…”
Mosqueda, and the entire council, didn’t just defend the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). They helped establish it by putting pressure on Mayor Durkan to stand police down, despite officers facing a barrage of violence from criminal activists in the crowd.
But before CHAZ was even established, Mosqueda defended an angry protester in a mob who threatened to murder police.
On Facebook, Mosqueda posted live video just outside the East Precinct. As she interviewed various activists, a man with a bullhorn shouted odious messages at the police.
“SPD, I need you to do me a favor. Take your guns, put them onto your chins, and pull the trigger,” the man yelled. “I need you to kill yourselves. That’s your only redemption. Go ahead, save us the trouble of tearing you apart and [expletive] kill yourselves. Did I stutter? I said ‘k-k-k-kill yourselves.’”
Mosqueda defended the man: “The anger that you hear is justified.”
I’m glad that lunatic didn’t hear her.
Andrew Lewis condemns the mob, after respecting a different one
Councilmember Andrew Lewis endorsed a local mob that harassed lawmakers at their homes. He calls them “respectful” and “passionate.” But this form of “activism,” from this group and others, has been responsible for acts of violence, intimidation, and death threats.
Indeed, a constituent of Lewis was viciously assaulted and sent to the hospital by a passionate and respectful blow to the head with a blunt object. The man confronted the activists for their disorderly, middle-of-the-night march. The assault was recorded and the suspect arrested and charged.
Mayor Jenny Durkan has dealt with this form of passionate, respectful activism, too. She was met with the message “Guillotine Jenny.” And residents in the Central District were visited by Lewis’ respectful and passionate activists, too. White homeowners were ordered to “give up your homes” and pay them reparations.
But … passion.
Tammy Morales makes no excuses for the violence, which is a departure for her
On Twitter, like on the council, Councilmember Tammy Morales pulls no punches. And she won’t makes excuses for the despicable assault on the Capitol.
Good. She shouldn’t.
Though she offered a bizarre observation about rioters not wearing masks, which seems insignificant in this context, there’s no justification for the violence. Full stop.
Of note, Morales doesn’t normally condemn politically-motivated violence. In fact, quite the opposite.
After violent rioting and looting that left downtown Seattle looking like a war zone in May, Morales defended and justified the destruction. Businesses were destroyed, people lost working hours during a pandemic economy, but Morales agreed with the underlying political motivations so she defended the action.
“But what I don’t want to hear is for our constituents to be told to be civil, not to be reactionary, to be told looting doesn’t solve anything,” Morales said. “It does make me wonder why looting bothers people so much more than knowing that across the country, Black people are being killed around the country.”
The criminals storming the Capitol also thought they were justified. We’re supposed to give them a pass? I’d hope not.
Why this all matters
For roughly six months, rioting and violence were almost nightly occurrences in Seattle. The council’s reaction was a mixture of ignoring them, justifying them, downplaying them, or rewarding them.
The CHAZ was celebrated and romanticized. The frequent marches that turn into vandalism or violence are ignored. After Antifa terrorists used cement to try to seal shut the door to the East Precinct while setting the building on fire, I asked the city council communications director for a statement from each councilmember. The only one to respond was Mosqueda’s office to decline.
Calling out the council’s double standard isn’t meant to deflect attention from the historic assault on our Capitol. Quite the opposite: It’s a warning to focus our attention on all violent movements. Not just the ones you find politically convenient.
It won’t end unless we condemn
This council — and mayor — continue to say nothing when radical, progressive activists get violent. Why? Because they agree with the politics driving the movement and/or they’re scared of losing re-election by turning on them. By taking such an unwise and spineless approach, they are fomenting an environment that assures more violence.
Violence will always inspire more violence. It’s not good enough to merely condemn some of it. You condemn it all or you might as well condemn nothing.
Putting out strongly worded press releases and tweets that are so incredibly, offensively hollow won’t do the trick. This council came off as political opportunists disinterested in condemning the violence as much as they were interested in condemning Trump and conservatives. And their inability to get serious about condemning all politically driven violence is why I fear the situation will continue to worsen from all sides. That’s absolutely terrifying.
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