As John Sexton reported last week, a bit of a scuffle broke out near the congressional offices of Maxine Waters (D-CA) in Los Angeles. Some conservatives from Oath Keepers were reportedly going to be protesting outside the building and Waters’ supporters got there first, presumably to rush to her defense. But when the Oath Keepers failed to show up, the locals were forced to find ways to amuse themselves, including setting fire to an American Flag and chanting about how America was never great. Then the fights broke out. (Click this video for a quick refresher course.)
At the time, John speculated (with a hint of sarcasm) that Waters must be “thrilled” to see her self-appointed protectors behaving in such a wonderfully patriotic way right outside of her office. Turns out he was on to something. Waters was finally forced to come out and “distance herself” from the activities, insisting that she’s not to blame for the actions of a few bad eggs. (Daily Mail)
Waters issued a lengthy statement on Saturday distancing herself from the flag-burning protesters, saying they were acting to further ‘their own agenda’ and that the incident ‘overshadowed’ her calls for peaceful protests.
‘While most of those counter-protesters remained peaceful, I have learned that there were others in attendance who were not necessary from the 43rd District, but who nevertheless participated as counter-porters not so much in support of me, but to seek press attention in furtherance of their own agendas,’ Waters said.
‘Unfortunately, this group’s actions with respect to the American flag, and their passing physical contact with other protesters, has created fodder for partisan media outlets to exploit and overshadowed the majority of counter-protests who engaged in peaceful demonstrations.
Whenever protests go off the rails, politicians find themselves having to come up with excuses. The tactic that Waters employs here is a familiar one, similar to the defenses offered in both the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray riots. Local officials come out and claim that most of the people are simply “peaceful protesters” and blame the violence and other bad behavior on shadowy, anonymous “outsiders” who show up to “further their own agenda.”
Of course, in reality, nine times out of ten we find that the pictures reveal people actually do live right in the community and were all too happy to begin starting fires and smashing windows. This case doesn’t seem to be appreciably different.
Waters went on to claim that she, “doesn’t agree with torching the flag as a form of protest.” But she understands the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to this form of free expression.
That’s true enough, but you certainly weren’t condemning them either, were you? If the Oath Keepers had actually shown up (with a permit) for a public demonstration, they would have been met by a mob, some of whom clearly arrived carrying bats, clubs and other improvised weapons. When the designated enemy didn’t appear they broke out in fights between other groups. And yes… they burned an American flag. All of this followed your public calls to have mobs chase members of the White House administration out of public places when they’re not even working and let them know they were “unwelcome” in society.
And now you want to distance yourself from the response of your own supporters? Pull the other one, congresswoman. It’s got bells on it.