The media, perhaps still stinging over the failure of their Trumpophobic BuzzFeed article, and eager for a viral story to put that behind them, found what their next media frenzy in the spectacle of adults deliberately using schoolkids as pawns and fodder to drive a politically correct narrative - one which had no more veracity than their own desire for it to be true. One grievance after another was brought to bear upon a group of Catholic high school students who dared to be happy, Christian and (mostly, not all, but mostly apparently means all don't need to be considered) white, while taking in the sights of their nations capital, following their participation in the March for Life demonstration.
Apparently unable to accept the 'horror' of all of that imagery, a highly edited video (and the raw full length video is linked to below, which shows how contrived this was) twisted and misrepresented a narrative in pictures and video, with a garnish of outright lies, in order to present a NeverTrump'r fantasy of 'racist... dusty crackers' (aka: high school students), as if it was they who were abusing a lone idealistic American Indian & Vietnam veteran trying to get himself some peace and understanding. Sadly, the facts clearly show that it was the groups of despicable adult activists, who were taunting and intimidating school kids on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial, deliberately provoking them in an effort to trigger an outburst from them, which thankfully never came, so they instead edited the video to push a lie they never expected to be caught in, so as to fuel a social media firestorm of political correctness, to attack the teenagers that they couldn't themselves push out of line - consumed as they were, by a fine example of what Michelle Malkin has so ably described elsewhere this week, as Toxic Sanctimony.
It is very much a legitimate question to ask ourselves, if this is a signal that Virtue is beyond the grasp of our society today? Have we really fallen from the level of a people willing to bravely confront and overcome our failures and shortcomings, and to renew our effort to live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, as Martin Luther King Jr. urged us to do from that same location a half century ago, to one that prefers the easy road of masking vice as Virtue? For a while that certainly seemed to be the case as the posturing 'adults', talking heads, and the famous for being famous of the left and right, who all eagerly shoved their way to the front of the too hurried to fact-check line, in order to denounce these kids with righteous sanctimony, without doing any due diligence of investigation or fact checking.
It's not a pleasant sight to see, but there are plenty of examples of it to see, such as this one from former CNN contributor:
"Reza Aslan @rezaaslan Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?", and a producer of family friendly flicks from Disney Studios, Jack Morrisey, who tweeted wistfully of MagaKids being tossed to their gory deaths in a wood chipper:
There's also the charming offer of a comedy writer for 'Saturday Night Live', offering a blowjob to whoever punched one of these teenagers in the face. There's much worse, but that sets the tone for the Left... but of course the eager condemnations weren't coming only from the Left, as many eager virtue signalers on the Right, stepped right up, such as the erstwhile Charlie Kirk and of course 'neo-con' neverTrump'rs joined in as well, such as Bill Kristol (who later deleted it):
"The contrast between the calm dignity and quiet strength of Mr. Phillips and the behavior of #MAGA brats who have absorbed the spirit of Trumpism–this spectacle is a lesson which all Americans can learn. https://t.co/EbXMa6Bbel — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 19, 2019"Unfortunately for Kristol, there was no 'calm dignity and quiet strength' being displayed for the frequent liar and activist Mr. Phillips to be proud of, only momentarily appealing lies to be peddled from a sympathetic face, dripping with toxic sanctimony, spreading a thick glaze of lies and spin, in order to be seen as being so seemly on social media. He and they seemed to be getting away with it, until... the facts began to trickle through, and soon after gushed out in unedited streaming videos, and the tide began to turn, led, fortunately, by a number of 'Oops' heads from the Right, and from the Left, who realized that they shoulda known better.
For those people who simply 'condemned' the students out of credulous ignorance, ok, maybe their apologies might be appropriate, but for those who doxed them (made the home, school and business addresses, etc public), and called for violence to be visited upon KIDS, for the horrendous crime of wearing a hat and making a face? These kids, their families, their lives, safety, employment, were and are still being subjected to serious threats of violence - their High School closed down, shut down their website until further notice - How is that in any way forgivable with only a 'Oh. Sorry.'? Hopefully that won't be the case for long.
Tragically, it turns out, the kids in this incident are among the few involved who behaved as adults and maintained their dignity, while the majority of the adults, both onsite and online, behaved little better than a pack of schoolyard bullies. This post in Reason has been updated at the end, to include the full statement of the teen who was confronted by the 'adult' Mr. Phillips, who for several minutes beat his drum with a mallet two inches from the face of a seventeen year old boy, and the boy, Eric Sandman's statement, is well worth reading, prompting the question that Dana Loesch asked in her Facebook post, that:
"...Lastly, why are kids being treated as responsible adults and the adults being excused as kids here? Ideology gives no adult an excuse to abandon their responsibility to lead by modeling good behavior for the next generation...."Yet even as the facts emerged via unedited video, some dug in and amped up the spin to misrepresent the facts even further, and others sought to spread them as well, hoping perhaps for the cover of relativity to shield them with 'the truth can't be known, and must fall lost into a dark space in the middle of the Left and Right.'.
Yeh, sorry, no, I call B.S. on that.Even with that, there are those, such as Phillips, doubling down on his claims of being harassed and insulted even though the video shows differently. There are also
those of the rabid left (as in much further Left than CNN who's admitted their failures in the face of the verifiable facts) that are still pushing their false narrative, such as in this mass of spin, obfuscation, and lies, attempts to reclaim lost ground with lies such as:
"Four Black men peacefully exercising their freedom of speech whatever they were saying or whether you agree. A literal mob of these boys starts to gather on the steps of the Lincoln memorial...."We can begin refuting this word salad, with their calling the group of high schoolers a 'literal mob'... what with a mob literally meaning (Webster's):
"a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence".Another of many sources available to refute this, is this article by a friend of mine, which pulls no punches for either side, but the kids (KIDS) slips were nothing in comparison to what full grown adults were advancing. This was a well behaved group of high schoolers (watch the video), who were not forming a mob, but were instead gathering where they were supposed to in order to meet up and board their school buses for the ride home. They, these high school kids, were from the start, berated, verbally harassed, cat called with vile and vulgar insults and derision, by a 'Black Hebrew Israelites' group, as they'd been doing to every passerby from the start of the video, including the Native Americans, with the intent to provoke them all. And of course, I've not yet seen a word of condemnation, outrage, calls for doxing them, that I have seen be raised by these same talking heads and celebrities that so eagerly and zealously sought to condemn and call for violence upon these catholic school kids.
The deliberate effort at obfuscation is pushed on the same site, by commenting upon pictures of Covington High School kids at a basketball game, making the age old 'OK'/Three Pointer hand gesture, with the smear of
"basketball team making white power signs", Even continuing with a clip from the incident, with:
"Then the boys began to engage in behavior that made it look as though they were “mimicking apes.”", when in fact some of the teenage boys are seen doing the 'Haka' Maori war dance that Jason Momoa has made popular online (Google it). Why were they doing these chants? They asked their chaperones if they could engage in some of their standard game chants, in order to counter the non-stop streams of verbal abuse coming from the Leftist groups.
There are situations where opinion allows for differing assessments, but not in cases of straight forward matters of fact. It is simply not true that this is a case where the truth may be forever lost between the evaluations of conflicting viewpoints, as if this were a matter of taste ala 'Chevy or Ford?' or 'Coke or Pepsi?'. This incident and the tales told about it, are not simply a matter of honest reporting from different perspectives, but is a case of the deliberate misreporting, and misrepresentation of the truth that is clear to see.
This was a case where, from start to finish, the adults were actively seeking to have physical confrontations with teenagers. The teenagers behavior was, especially by the measure of teens today, moderate to quite good. An example of that can be seen where at about 1:12:00 into the uncut video, Phillips, the adult Indian activist, marched deliberately into the kid's faces, in a deliberate act of provocation. He didn't ask to pass, he did not by word or gesture, indicate that he wanted to pass through their group, he walked up into their midst, and directly into the face of one teen, and beat his drum in his face for several unbroken minutes. That the boy, Eric Sandman, did nothing but try to remain calm, even to the point of motioning one of his friends to not respond to another activist's taunts, is remarkable.
This happened in this way, and was lied about in order to present a heinous lie as truth, and it was captured on video from several angles, and those lies must be condemned. When we allow the narrative of 'Truth is relative' to prevail, the lie becomes absolute.
Can we trade a nightmare in for a dream?
These were boys, being subjected to a couple hours of deliberate, calculated taunts and provocations, by adults who couldn't have cared less whether they should have done so, or not. Shame on them. These boys did extremely well, under very trying circumstances, and the only 'other side' of the story to be told here, is about what has enabled the Toxic Sanctimony in our society, where it becomes not just possible, but 'a thing', to viciously insult and threaten teenagers, to deride teens for patriotism and 'toxic masculinity', and to be unjustly called racists, by racists, in order to put one's self in an admirable twittering glow.
Perhaps most ominously of all, is that the other side of this story is that this all occurred on the weekend leading into the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a man, and as such, he was a man who had faults. I'm sure that he was well aware of that default truth of being human, and that it didn't cause him undue anguish, nor did it sway him from striving for an ideal that was beyond his reach, and though such faults as his if aired in today's air of toxic sanctimony, might have cost him the praise of many a celebrity, I don't think that would have caused him much grief either. For unlike many in our day today, he didn't take that baseline starting point of all men as an excuse to not see, identify, and strive for, a worthy ideal - an ideal that his nation had so far failed to live up to, and an ideal which many good people strove for and still failed to achieve.
What Martin Luther King Jr.'s life demonstrates, was that he understood that failure wasn't a fault of having ideals, nor was its unattainability in any way an excuse not to strive for it - an ideal is measured not by how far you fall short of it, but by how much closer you grow towards it, than you ever would have without it having had that ideal as a goal to be striven for. His own failings certainly didn't keep him from striving for his ideal, or from exhorting others to see and seek the heroic ideals he dreamed of - not even when he was sure that striving for that dream would cost him his own life.
That is an exemplary example of what being a man is all about, and there's not a damn thing about that ideal of masculinity that is toxic.
Yet perhaps the question should be asked, can masculinity become toxic? And I think that history - and especially current events - shows that the answer to that is yes, I think it can, though not in the way that the sanctimoniously PC crowd prattle on tweeting and retweeting about today.
What makes masculinity toxic, is failing to seek after a worthy ideal.
What makes masculinity toxic, is when males behave as if they are not men.
Masculinity becomes toxic when males settle for the least that they can comfortably be.
Masculinity becomes toxic when males treat Right and Wrong as differences of opinion.
Masculinity becomes toxic when males make excuses for not having ideals.
Masculinity becomes toxic when males seek to gain advantage by abusing those they should be an ideal to.
Masculinity becomes toxic when males warm themselves by the green inner glow of envy, and delight in acquiring from others what they have no right to have, or the ability to achieve, except by guile and intimidation.
Men and women who believe themselves to be 'freed' from the restraints of Virtue, by their own cleverness, and/or with societies encouragement, become a cultural cancer upon their society. Such a society becomes poisoned by the toxicity of its adult males and females who shun their own identity as Ladies and Gentlemen. Such a society is sickened through such acts of tolerating the ideal of masculinity:
being virtuous and strong in the face of hardship and threats, providing for and sheltering women, children, the elderly, and otherwise standing up for what is good, best and Right, to be portrayed as an unworthy ideal.
Such men without chests delight in imposing their will upon others in the name of corrupt 'virtues', and willfully intimidating others to 'give' to them valuables in matter and in spirit, that they do not deserve.
Behavior such as that does create an unvirtuous and monstrous toxicity, and it is all around us today.
Thank God that Martin Luther King Jr. lived and drew us into his ideal, long before our current societal sickness had come upon us.
Pray for the day to return when men don't have to pretend to be perfect in order to strive for a worthy ideal. Pray that you yourself will be unwilling to engage in such actions and pretenses and accusations. Pray that these students of Covington High School become the ideal, over that of those adults who delighted in calling for their condemnation and endangerment.
You'll know that day has come, when the purveyors of anti-concepts such as 'toxic masculinity', will be openly identified and shunned as the sick souls that they've chosen to become.