When U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was finished speaking at a town hall he staged in Pensacola over the weekend, a crowd of protestors was waiting outside to greet him. In case you haven't noticed, voicing opposition no longer is enough for some political opponents. Gaetz was coated with a dairy smoothie delivered by a citizen who is more than a perturbed constituent.
Hurling creamy projectiles at our politicians may become the trendy new version of the op-ed feature. Certainly liberals have the hang of it and their pals in the media get a giggle out of it.
The congressman was leaving the Pensacola venue when an opponent threw what was thought to be a milkshake at him from behind, striking him in the back. The act was caught on a cell-phone camera, and police nabbed the assailant, charged her with battery and released her on $1,000 bond.
The drink tosser was no common-garden protester; she was none other than Amanda Kondrat’yev 35, his Democratic congressional opponent in the 2016 election.
If you follow the political tides with any fervency, you are attuned to the paradoxical thinking that is a constant on the political front. Things are getting crazy.
One of the newer contradictions on the political landscape is the left railing about the words conservatives speak supposedly inciting violence. But whenever actual acts of violence take place on the left, there is little said. I do not want to suggest that this is a phenomenon based on who the target may be -- because I want to declare it so.
This is a trend that sprung up in recent weeks in Great Britain, during the most recent election cycle. Opponents of Nigel Farage not only targeted him with frozen drinks, but a number of other Brexit party politicians. Part of the reason behind the spate of smoothie attacks was a number of members of the media applauding the practice. The cheerleading journalists were declaring these acts as something other than violence, a kind of righteous humor somehow made acceptable, in particular because it was the political right getting hit.
Now it looks as if, not only has this practice made the jump to the States, but so has the leftist permissiveness. This settles into a pattern we have seen over the past few years of conservative speakers “causing” violent protests on campuses before they can even speak, select politicians accosted in restaurants, and numerous people assaulted for wearing a red hat.
Following the drink-toss episode, a number of people on social media were all in support of the action. Perhaps no one exemplifies the dichotomy of the leftist's opinion than political firebrand Tom Arnold. See this.
The obliviousness here is astounding, as he demeans anyone, and specifically Gaetz, becoming opposed to what happened -- while at the same time getting upset over words spoken in the past. This is the bifurcated mindset of too many on the left; if you disagree, you are encouraging violent reprisals. If you take a contradictory position politically, Democrats may charge you with “inciting violence.” It is an attempt to stifle debate and discourage discourse.
However, when presented with an actual physical attack, that gets downplayed. It is no big deal, it was just a milkshake (WaPo has actually dug into the story and found it wasn't a milkshake at all, it was a juice-based drink.) Try to rationalize this position by the left: We have to be careful with what gets spoken, because they say that could escalate into violence, but an actual case of physical aggression is nothing to be concerned about. It would take the Army Corps of Engineers to bridge that divide in logic.
The desperation here is to ignore that the Democrats' acts exceed their projections on conservative discussions. We are supposed to tremble at the prospect that we might say the wrong thing, but we have to overlook that a leftist candidate for office is throwing items at a political opponent. We are lectured not to overreact about just a drink, and pretend that an arrest did not take place as a result. You conservatives just watch your mouths, and ignore that Kondrat’yev was charged with battery.
The media all know the real problem is the absurd language said on the right. Forget all the evidence to the contrary on the left.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.