By Mike Wilcox
It’s unfortunate that, at a time celebrating the nonviolent words and wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., all the national news could seemingly talk about was a confrontation near the Lincoln Memorial involving Catholic students from a Cincinnati suburb and Native American protestors.
But wait: after the media jumped to conclusions vilifying people, we were told by people who watched the two-hour version of a video that the real culprits might have been a half dozen protestors called the Black Hebrew Israelites.
This third group, according to the video and eyewitness accounts, slung racist insults at the white Catholic students, many who donned “Make America Great” apparel.
After hearing several accounts of the incident — not the near-brawl described by some outlets — I could only think of my son, who is the same age of many of those students and initially brought the whole matter to my attention. “Why is the news media picking on these kids?” he asked.
I wonder the same thing. As a parent, would I want my “baby” being labeled a racist simply because, as his school group was waiting for busses to take them home, they were caught in the middle of a demonstration and counter-demonstration?
Would I want my child’s name plastered on and in every news outlet across the country because he and a Native American elder had a stare down?
Of course not, nor would you. But that’s what happened. And now that the full account is out there, I hope these students are treated with more decency.
Sure they aren’t blameless, but neither are the Native Americans. The video shows the elder with his drums pushing towards the students, not the other way around as initially reported.
And let’s not forget the Hebrew Israelites doing their best to instigate trouble with their racist chants directed mostly at the students.
Much was made of the “Make America Great” gear, particularly the ball caps worn by many of the students. Many say wearing that type of gear starts trouble.
Personally I see it much like wearing a professional team’s gear: instead of supporting the Patriots or whomever, you are supporting our President. What is wrong with that? I would say the same if it was in support of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer.
The Catholic school was forced to close Tuesday, not because of weather but because demonstrations were expected and death threats had been received.
We need a humongous dose of tolerance in today’s society. Along with that, those of us who engage in political discourse need an injection of humor. We have to stop taking our political positions so seriously and realize there are two sides to every story.
The national media in particular has been guilty at jumping to conclusions and painting individuals guilty before the full story is told. This time it involved a group of students not even old enough to vote or serve in the military, who were on the receiving end of those who consider tolerance a subversive activity.