By Chip Chipman
Better Than Violence
One of the foundations of the United States is our Right to Peaceful Assembly. “We The People'' have, since our founding, recognized that the ability to self-organize and petition the government for change was a much preferable alternative to the political violence we were forced to use against the English in the Revolutionary War.
At that time our grievances not only fell on deaf ears, they were answered with crushing backlash. How dare we speak a word against the crown!
Today, it is through our constitutional right to peaceably assemble that we have enacted fundamental transformations in the United States:
Civil rights for minorities
Accessibility and protections for those with disabilities
Women’s right to vote
These are living testaments to Americans’ ability to affect change without the popping of bullets, or the agonizing screams of grieving mothers.
On Monday we will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the most famous and successful peaceful organizers in the history of our nation. Let us all look to him, and reflect on his path for how we can succeed.
The MLK Jr. Model
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived through a turbulent and despicable time where many of our citizens were second class, solely because of their race. He faced obstacles on every side. He was accosted by racists who hated his message shouting slurs, and hurling projectiles while he marched. Nevertheless he persevered. Peacefully.
Dr. King, was imprisoned by police who enforced unjust laws to keep him silent. It made his voice louder. His 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail is read by students across our great nation to this day, because he persevered. Peacefully.
Among his supposed allies, traction gained in groups such as the Black Panthers, who tried to radicalize the message of peace and equality to violence and revenge. Federal agents blamed Dr. King for the violence, yet he persevered. Peacefully.
Dr. King never wavered or gave in. He universally condemned violence, on both sides. He knew in his heart that America for all its flaws was a peaceful nation, and a peaceful people. The acts of the few could not be used to condemn his entire movement, nor the nation itself.
Where are the Peacemakers on the Left?
Unfortunately, we are living through another time of political violence, not seen since Dr. Martin Luther King marched in the streets for a better America. The United States, as we enter 2021, is facing domestic division on the issues of race, lockdowns, and elections.
Thousands of legal and peaceful protests took place over the summer of 2020 to bring justice to George Floyd, who was killed by police. Sadly, many turned violent and destructive, as opportunists tried once again to co-opt the movement for their own messages of hate, violence, and destruction.
What is worse is, rather than condemn the violence of opportunists, the left cowered in fear, and defended their fiery and destructive actions. The left for all of it’s talking heads and “leaders” lacks a modern Dr. King to condemn violence when it occurs on their side.
Our community in Muskegon is a peaceful one, despite the political differences our people have. We are a people who serve together, eat together, pray together, and will heal together. I am proud of my community for the fact that the Muskegon BLM protest did remain peaceful, and our local leaders held the line against violence.
Legitimate Protests Coopted by Violent Actors Are Nothing New
Unfortunately, the right is not immune to its own political opportunists who seek to co-opt our movement for conservative ideals and election integrity, to advance their violent and radical agenda. We saw this last week as radicals sought to intimidate our elected officials in a violent wave which overtook Congress.
Thousands traveled to DC to hear the President speak, about his legitimate concerns over the transparency of our elections, and how we can ensure that elections are transparent, accountable, and fair in the future. Two busses from Muskegon proudly traveled to hear our President address his supporters.
Sadly, just as in Dr. King’s time, opportunists were there to misalign his medium of peaceful assembly for dastardly violence. These radicals are a very small minority who were there. They are violent opportunists, who do not care about our republic, or the transparency of elections; the whole reason we assembled to hear President Trump speak.
The Muskegon GOP absolutely condemns political violence wherever it occurs, from whomever commits it. We will persevere! Peacefully.
Typical Response from the Left: Abolish Our Constitutional Rights
What has made me terribly sad, though, is local Democrat leadership’s attempt to slander our community, and say the people from Muskegon, for merely attending the event to exercise their constitutional right to peacefully protest, are violent people. They are not guilty of the sins of those on the fringes. I have great faith in the people of Muskegon, whether they are Democrats or Republicans to abstain from violence — because we are better than that.
Ryan Bennett, the chair of the Muskegon County Democratic Party, went as far as to call for the resignation of the Muskegon County GOP Chair and commissioner, Zach Lahring over the violence at the Capitol. The Muskegon DNC clamors for Commissioner Lahring’s head, despite the fact that he was in Lansing, leading by example, peacefully protesting for our election integrity, when the violence broke out several hundred miles away.
The truth of the matter is the Democrats are too scared of meaningful election reform and transparency to even have a conversation about it.
The Muskegon GOP encourages Bennet to take the stance that he had in May of 2017, when he told his fellow Democrats on Facebook to “Build bipartisan alliances and do your job.” I encourage him to take heed of his own advice, focus on building alliances, and not cancel culture, which has fanned the flames of division.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr held the line against those who committed violence, and those who slandered his name in vain attempts of delegitimizing the truth.
The Muskegon GOP is not intimidated by those who seek to delegitimize the truth, twist our words, silence our voice, or misalign us with political radicals. We will not give in to infantile cries for resignation by those, like Ryan Bennett, who seek to use a national tragedy to score cheap political shots, and bring the division sowed across our nation into our own backyard.
The message from Zach Lahring has been clear, and he has boldly stated it every day: “Stay the course! Hold the line!”
We will not give into political threats, nor will we bow down when lies are perpetuated about our cause. We will advocate for peace, our republic, and the right for all people’s voice to be heard. We will not give into those who censor voices, lie, and steal elections. We will do everything in our power to continue the movement to “Make America Great Again!”
We will persevere. Peacefully.
Chip Chipman was born and raised in Muskegon, Michigan. He has a BA in History from the University of Michigan, where he was often known to stir up trouble on the notoriously liberal campus. After graduation he lived and worked in Washington DC, as a fundraiser before returning to Michigan to pursue a career in sales. He is a Veteran of the Michigan Army National Guard and a Precinct Delegate for the Muskegon GOP.