Politics has to be one of the most argued topics in society, dividing people between Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, left wing and right wing. However, how far are we willing to take our political beliefs and to what extremes.
Recently in New York City, three protesters were attacked and assaulted by the Proud Boys, a far-right organization, outside the Metropolitan Republican Club.
The Proud Boys, founded by Gavin McInnes in 2016, is an all men’s organization that promotes political violence and identifies itself with western values. The Proud Boys are described as a hate group that glorifies violence as its members participate in violence at events it attends.
According to NYPD reports, on Friday, October 12, the group of left-wing anti-fascist, Antifa, protesters showed up to challenge the Proud Boys whose founder was invited to speak at the Republican Club. Whether their initial intent was to merely protest the appearance of the Proud Boys, the three protesters were heavily outnumbered by the Proud Boys whose rapid turn to violence enticed a brawl.
This is a case of going above and beyond political beliefs for both sides, however, does not represent their political parties as a whole.
According to reports, multiple members of the Proud Boys were arrested for the violent brawl that occurred outside the Republican club. However, this is not the first incident where the Proud Boys showed their presence and their violent behavior.
In 2017, the Proud Boys made their presence known in many locations including New York University, the Berkeley protests, Islamberg, New York, Portland protests and the Unite the Right rally.
The Proud Boys are just one example of an extremist far-right political groups attempt to get their message across. However, as stated before, this group represents only a small proportion of a political party, but doesn’t represent them as a whole yet contributes for most of the violence attributed to the whole political party.
In an article written by Aamna Mohdin for Quartz, Mohdin wrote, “White supremacists and other far-right extremists were responsible for 59% of all extremist-related fatalities in the US in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.”
These extremists are what give political parties bad reputations because they are acting on their own intuitions but declaring the political party name.
Another incident of going beyond politics, in the form of domestic terrorism, occurred very recently with the pipe bombs delivered to members of the Democratic party and CNN news organization.
Cesar Sayoc, 56-years-old, was arrested on Friday for being the suspected bomb maker. According to federal authorities, Sayoc sent 14 pipe bombs through the US mail.
Sayoc, according to reports, was Trump supporter who took his own beliefs and transformed them into acts of aggression. The images found inside Sayoc’s white Dodge van were the various targets that he sent pipe bombs to, as well as critics that Trump said about those people.
Although authorities are unaware if Sayoc worked alone, his actions do not speak for all Trump supports and is just a case of someone taking their political views, misunderstanding the words of his political leader, too far.
There have also been incidents of gerrymandering, redrawing district lines to gain a political advantage, by both sides of the major government parties, Democrat and Republican. This would mean that if you lived in a district that weighted heavily Democrat and then the district was redrawn to support Republican your vote wouldn’t matter because there would be more registered Republican voters in your district.
However far a person, group, or party is willing to go beyond the stretch of politics to get what they want, it is important to understand one thing. We are a free-thinking society who can control the outcome of any situation. Our political parties might think they have what’s best for us, but it is up for us, as a society, to be able to say what we want and to think freely as we choose.
In this great country of The United States of America, we have been gifted an ability that many countries wished they had. The ability of choice, of reason, to speak up and protest and the chance to vote for who we believe will best represent us.
Going beyond politics, causing mayhem and disruption, might be what some believe it the right thing to do, however, those people, a small proportion of society, do not speak for all of us and it is up to us to decide what’s right and to speak our minds.