“Punch More Nazis.” So reads a T-shirt made and proudly worn, as reported in The Post, by an attendee of the recent Netroots Nation conference at which Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) presented her political vision. To some, this seems like a necessary response to the violence emerging from growing white-supremacy movements. It’s the wrong answer. We need to restore a comprehensively shared commitment to nonviolence and clearly repudiate political violence of any kind.
The death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, tear gas in the streets of Phoenix, armed individuals now a routine presence at political rallies. Do we need any more signs that our country needs de-escalation? Surely not.
Clear-eyed, honest political leaders on the left, whether Democrats, progressives or left-leaning independents, must confront not only the growth of anarchist and anti-fascist groups but also what seems to be a creeping acceptance, within the broad, diverse world of their political allies, of a commitment to low-grade violence as a political tool.