On the politicization of evil

JOE WILLIAMS; Guest Writer; williaju@plu.edu

Lately there have been evil actions in the United States that have been used to push the thoughts or agendas of multiple groups. This politicization of evil is appalling to me. In order to not fall into the trap of polarizing American citizens, there need to be some guidelines.

First, evil people are evil no matter what ideology they fall under. This is hard to admit for those of us who feel obligated to practice devout loyalty to one side.

Congressman Steve Scalise was shot earlier this year by a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter. This aimed attack against a Republican fundraising event fits the more traditional definition of terrorism involving political gain.

Even though the shooter was white, there was no outcry over the attack not being called a terrorist act. In fact, the same media that refused to acknowledge this as an act of terrorism jumped on the opportunity to label the Charlottesville incident as such. While this label is also more accurate, there was a goal of linking white supremacy to the conservative side of the aisle.

If that goal was nonexistent, the attack on the fundraiser would have been labeled as terrorism as well. The media fell into the trap of ignoring one side of the argument while simultaneously pushing the other side even though the motivations were the same. The shooting was seen as a tragedy while the Charlottesville incident was pushed as an act of terrorism.

Both incidents were terrorism and both incidents were evil. It is shameful that people on opposite ends refuse to see it that way.

Second, in order to reduce terrorism, the media needs to stop defending it.

Antifa has been a prominent movement against conservatism as a whole. For some reason, this position has support from members of the media, and the acts of terrorism that are perpetuated against conservatives are not labeled as such. The excuse of punching Nazis has been broadened out to anyone across the aisle.

Antifa has turned into a violent political movement that has a clear goal and is praised as a resistance. The media has been defending Antifa because an ideology is shared. 

Even so, the acts of violence are inexcusable. Media personalities should shun these terrorist organizations for not representing American values instead of praising them due to shared ideology.

Lastly, Americans should call out acts of terrorism and racism as specifically as possible.

A few very obvious examples of terrorism and racism against Sikh people were noted last week. The vast majority of American people would stand behind the people that have been through the incidents described as well as the families that the Vegas shooter affected.

Unfortunately, the divide comes from a linguistics difference. Not only are people claiming that the Vegas shooting was an act of terror, but they are claiming that those who disagree are perpetuating an injustice against minorities. To fix this polarization of opposing views, the evil action should be targeted as the center for critique.

Whether or not an act should be seen as terrorist is irrelevant as long as both sides can come out and admit that it was an act of evil without grasping at each other’s throats. ◼︎

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