Telling the Good Guys From the Bad Guys in the Lincoln Memorial Incident

Telling the Good Guys From the Bad Guys in the Lincoln Memorial Incident January 22, 2019

So on Monday, I delivered my mea culpa for jumping to conclusions about what went on at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, in regards to the group of Covington Catholic High School boys and the Native American protesters.

The weekend hysteria is over a few seconds of craftily edited footage, that appears to show a young man in a red MAGA cap smirking and staring down an old Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, who was peacefully beating his drum and singing.

It was horrible optics, and the outrage towards the boys and their school has been at a peak. In fact, there was no school for Covington Catholic High School kids today. The rage machine that feeds on the manufactured fodder of the internet, felt that threatening violence against a high school was the proper response.

It was not, in fact, the proper response. It is nightmarish. And hateful. And it happens far too often. Everybody is just waiting on something to get mad about, and then they overreact.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say our current, shabby state of political affairs is very much to blame.

Donald Trump is a polarizing figure and many of those Catholic school boys were wearing MAGA caps. That’s enough for those with a visceral dislike of the man and his politics to rush to conclusions.

The school should have advised against making their outing into a political statement. It was not. It was to stand in support of the pro-life March for Life event.

Regardless, the lies that have surrounded what happened that day need to be exposed. The bad players involved need to be called out.

Here’s a hint: It was not those boys, even with their MAGA hats.

The ugliness began with a small group of African-American men, calling themselves the Black Hebrew Israelites. They videoed all their encounters that day, and in fact, it is from their hour-plus long video that the brief clip was pulled.

When you watch the entire video, however, you see it was the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI) doing what they’re known for: spreading hate, and verbally attacking anyone that got within earshot of their putrid rhetoric.

The Native Americans, present for an Indigenous Peoples March, and led by the elderly man in the video clip, Nathan Phillips, were the first to be attacked by the BHI. The first moments of the video feature a standoff, as the BHI scream abuse at the few Native Americans that were milling about.

It was only later, as the Covington kids lined up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, waiting for their bus, that the BHI directed their nastiness towards them.

The kids were called “cavemen,” “f*ggots,” and “cracker,” among other hateful remarks. The BHI were unrelenting, abusive, racist, and utterly vile.

Let me reiterate, for those still not getting this: These were CHILDREN being attacked and verbally abused by grown men.

No, for those trying to say there are “good people on both sides,” if that didn’t pass muster when Trump said it, it doesn’t pass now. I don’t care what hats they were wearing. They didn’t deserve to be attacked, just for being there.

The kids began to chant their school’s fight song, in an effort to drown out the insults. It was a reasonable response, frankly. Nobody should be forced to listen to the demonic rantings of BHI.

So here’s where I insert a bit of information that came to light on Monday.

Monday afternoon, Twitter suspended the account that originally pushed the clip of the confrontation between the young man from Covington, and Phillips.

The clip went viral, but remember all the controversy surrounding Russian trolls promoting issues designed to get Americans at each others’ throats?

Yeah.

 The account claimed to belong to a California schoolteacher. Its profile photo was not of a schoolteacher, but of a blogger based in Brazil, CNN Business found. Twitter suspended the account soon after CNN Business asked about it.

The account, with the username @2020fight, was set up in December 2016 and appeared to be the tweets of a woman named Talia living in California. “Teacher & Advocate. Fighting for 2020,” its Twitter bio read. Since the beginning of this year, the account had tweeted on average 130 times a day and had more than 40,000 followers.

That first post got quite the traffic. It was viewed at least 2.5 million times and was retweeted at least 14,400 times.

Fake news. Fake accounts. All of it designed to make us hate each other, rather than focus on working together, as countrymen.

Now, let’s turn our attention to a key player in this drama, the Omaha elder and Vietnam vet, Nathan Phillips.

On Sunday, the Detroit Free Press ran an interview with Phillips, where he described his version of events.

It’s an interesting bit of fiction, when you consider that the full, unedited video has been made available for people to see for themselves.

According to Phillips’ fairy tale, the students were listening to the BHI speak, and just got offended.

“They witnessed these individuals on their soapbox saying what they had to say,” Phillips said. “They didn’t agree with it and got offended.”

I don’t know too many people who would agree to being called “cavemen,” “crackers,” and “f*ggots,” shouted at, even threatened, who wouldn’t get offended.

Phillips, apparently confident that truth had no place in the narrative he was weaving, and that no one would hold him accountable, decided to ramp up his bizarre twisting of facts.

“They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillip said. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong. “

The kids were chanting their school’s fight song to drown out the voices of evil being directed their way. They were nowhere near the BHI group, even though the BHI trolls continuously goaded them, challenged them to come forward. It’s clearly heard on the video.

Phillips said some of the members of the Black Hebrew group were also acting up, “saying some harsh things” and that one member spit in the direction of the Catholic students. “So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place,” he said.

Try, all of them were saying hateful, racially charged things. At least Phillips got the part about the BHI member spitting in the direction of the children right.

Phillips chose to lead his group into the crowd of high school kids. No, he wasn’t trying to defuse the situation. He chose a side, and it was the side of the wickedness known as BHI.

That point was made clear when you hear one of Phillips’ followers insulting and attacking the kids.

“There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”

Old black individuals? They weren’t actually “old” and to refer to those kids as “beasts” and their attackers as the “prey” is disgusting.

I’d say Phillips should be ashamed of himself, for the dishonest and wretched way he has pushed this lie against a group of kids, just because he doesn’t like their lack of pigmentation, or their unfortunate choice of headwear.

What we know about Phillips’ reputation, as a professional victim, then we can safely say, he has no shame. This lie he pushed on those children, in an effort to join the mob that would see their lives ruined is pretty much the best anyone should expect of him.

Speaking from his niece’s home, Phillips said: “I’m a Marine Corps veteran and I know what that mob mentality can be like. That’s where it was at. It got to a point where they just needed something for them to … just tear them apart. I mean, it was that ugly.”

Thank you for your service, but you are a liar, and there’s video proof.

Phillips said he recalled “the looks in these young men’s faces … I mean, if you go back and look at the lynchings that was done (in America) …and you’d see the faces on the people … The glee and the hatred in their faces, that’s what these faces looked like.”

A bunch of high school kids laughing and singing. Yeah. Maybe you need to go back and look at those faces. You’re way off the mark, here.

Phillips went on to say that some of the things the BHI were saying about the kids was true, further dragging his credibility into the sewer.

He did manage to accidentally stumble on some truth, however.

“If their own instructors, their own teachers, their own chaperones, would have handled the situation right from the beginning, it would never have happened,” Phillips said. “I would have never been bothered with it.”

I agree. The adults failed, whether it was the hate mongers of the BHI and their willing lackey, Phillips, or it was the chaperones for this event that allowed those boisterous boys to wear MAGA gear to an event that should have been completely nonpartisan. It had the potential to draw attention away from the noble purpose of the day, and it did.

That still doesn’t make those kids the bad guys, here.

They were not.

 

 

 

 

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  • Don’twakethedog

    If America is to ever attempt to achieve greatness, it must reject abortion. An abhorrent practice that turns humans into commodities. The head wear was completely appropriate. And seeing that this is America, the young men were within their individual freedoms to wear whatever they want.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    While the Lincoln Memorial incident has been blown out of proportion, it cannot be disputed that the MAGA hats were worn to make a political statement. Wearing such to a political event in our hyper-partisan DC of today, siding with the proven racist and bigoted comments of the man the hats represent, set the kids up for name-calling at a minimum. That the kids likely sassed back does not make them blameless, the combination of the MAGA hats, their lack of chaperone and their proximity to not one, but TWO groups of non-white Americans that Trump is known to have racist opinions about is an “event” just waiting to occur.

    You CANNOT excuse the high-school kids based on their ages. These kids will be voting in year or two. They could (though likely won’t) join the military then also. That these young adults showed such poor judgement as to trigger this altercation through their provocative headwear and returning the name-calling in the absence of a chaperone or other responsible adult puts them in contention to shoulder their share of the blame.

    Given Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail against non-white Americans and his support of Charlottesville alt-right white supremecists, it is reasonable to expect the Native Americans to have anticipated yet more hatred and insults from the kids they nevertheless attempted to separate from the more professional hate-mongers.

    Face it: Anyone wearing a MAGA cap in DC for the next two years will be doing so for the express purposes of making a political statement, of hoping to draw media attention to themselves, and of attempting to “stick it to” liberals throughout the country.

    Just as Jerry Falwell has abandoned his faith with his Trump-worship, the same could be said for this “Catholic” high school abandoning both any claim to faith as well as all pretense of non-partisanship by allowing the kids to wear MAGA caps in highly-partisan DC during a highly-partisan political event (March for Life) where the primary issue SHOULD have been abortion rather than racism on the part of Trump followers.

  • Barros Serrano

    Oh how quick are so many to jump on any excuse they can find to rationalize the behavior of these white-right racist teenagers. After all, they’re white…

    I saw the videos. Those KY misfits were mocking the Native elder and his culture. They were making tomahawk chops, imitating the chant, laughing and smirking.

    And now we find out that there is a culture of racism at Covington Catholic High School. Its students regularly engage in anti-black racism.

    If the BHI were the problem, why weren’t these teenagers confronting them? No, they saw an old Indian and thought it would be just hilarious to let out their frustration at having been verbally abused by the BHI, on this “safe” target.

    Nothing that has emerged about this since the incident exonerates these ill-raised white-right students. Imagine the racist vitriole which must be spewed by their parents around the dinner table!

    If whites generally can’t begin to take responsibility for the evil among them, then this country is headed down the toilet sooner than later.

  • Barros Serrano

    They were not within any bounds of decency to mock and harass the Native elder.

    You didn’t notice that? Of course not… such racism probably seems normal to you, among your friends and at the dinner table.

  • Don’twakethedog

    How were they mocking and harrassing?

    And is name-calling and making assumptions about a complete stranger within any bounds of decency?

  • chemical

    BHI is a group of trolls. They’re similar to the Westboro Baptist Church: Kooky religious views, they hate everybody, and they’re always looking to start a fight.

    That being said: Why does this have to be a good-guy-bad-guy situation? You know what other group has kooky religious views, hates everybody, and are always looking to start fights? Trump supporters. This isn’t a good-guy-bad-guy situation. This is a bad-guy-bad-guy situation. These people got into a fight because they saw the different race version of themselves and didn’t like it. Arguing over who’s worse is missing the point: The high school kids and the BHI folks actually have a lot in common, which is why when they met they instantly got into a shouting match.

    Don’t defend these kids’ actions. Their school and community has failed them so far and at the rate they are going they will end up being hateful bigots.

  • Barros Serrano

    Do I really have to explain this? when you can’t see what those kids were doing, I have to interpret that as being so racist yourself that racism seems normal. It is appropriate to mock a Native chant? To hoot and holler and make tomahawk chops?

    Really I should develop a whole “make fun of white people” schtick and do that and maybe then you’d get it.

    That old man is an elder. He deserves respect. Now I’ve been around indigenous people a lot and know this, but you’d think that even mainstream whites would know to respect elders…. but I guess not.

  • Don’twakethedog

    You don’t need to explain it. I have eyes and ears and I’m quite discerning. I, too, am familiar with Native American culture, having represented many sovereign nations. In some tribal cultures, this elder’s behavior would be seen as improper. In others, not so much.

    I had hoped that you could see me as an individual with my own beliefs. Not necessarily wrong. Just different from yours. You know, I’m a human being like you. Not some anonymous target for you to score points on.

    If you ever want to have an actual conversation and are willing to look beyond the box that you’ve stuck me in, let me know.

    In the meantime, all the best to you and yours.

  • Barros Serrano

    You’re not in any box. I simply am pointing out that those white teenagers were very disrespectful of Native culture and people.

    They were mocking the chanting, etc. Very inappropriate, and I understand that they were scared and hyper due to the attacks by the Hebrew Israelites. They are only kids, but what came out of them automatically when confronted by the elder was racism against Native people.

    You do have more awareness of this than I would have assumed, of course, here on these forums surrounded by white-rights spewing racism and excuses, so good…

    I’m not here to find targets or score. I’m simply engaging in a debate on racism, a conversation this country MUST have.