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?
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.