Guilt By Association?

Guilt By Association?

*By Rebecca Nugent, Contributing Writer

One evening last summer, the residents of the small town of Snohomish were tipped off that their town would be visited by the illustrious ANTIFA and various rioters as had other parts of Seattle and outlying areas. The plan was as it had been before: destruction, looting, burning, vandalism, and possibly some assault for anyone that got in their way. My own address reads Snohomish, although I live closer to Woodinville than anywhere else. While stopping in at a gas station near my home that night, a man came in almost breathless and smiling, describing what had happened as he had seen it.


Hundreds of residents, men and women, were waiting for what was coming. They lined their streets, stood in front of their stores, and some even perched on roofs. They were armed and ready to stand up for their businesses and communities. Apparently, as told by the gentlemen in the convenience store, several vehicles carrying the would-be rioters approached the town, saw what was waiting for them, and promptly turned and left. After watching what had happened all summer to the city of Seattle and a few surrounding suburbs, getting smashed to pieces while no one stood up to oppose (and police were told to stand down), my heart welled up with pride and appreciation for the citizens who actually put a stop to the impending violence before it even started. I smiled at the thought of this true blue area of Western Washington still occupied with people who cared – with men who cared. Because like everyone else, I had been wondering that old, proverbial lyric, “Where have all the good men gone?” That night, they were in Snohomish.


The next day, I posted a blurb on Facebook about what I had heard the night before at the gas station, voicing my appreciation for those who had bothered to step up and protect the innocent and their property. A little while later, a well-meaning friend wrote, “I get that you are trying to applaud people protecting their property, but you might want to know that some of those men were Proud Boys. They are racists, and they shouldn’t be appreciated or congratulated for anything.”


I was taken aback. First, because I’m not from around here originally, I had never heard of the Proud Boys. I didn’t know if they were a west coast version of the KKK or just a bunch of white boys that liked to wield their guns. But then I began to think more critically about the situation.


Let’s say that my house (or yours, even) was being attacked by ANTIFA. You are unarmed, and you’re completely vulnerable with young children inside. If your neighbor were a member of such an organization (or anything like it), and stepped in to defend and protect your home and family, would you decline help because of his association? Of course you wouldn’t. And here’s the kicker – neither would my friend who had sent me the message, warning me about the possible guilt by association I might receive if I didn’t take down my post thanking all those who were there to protect their town that night.


But in theory, she might. And so would many others. For fear of being linked at all in any way to someone or a group that might be accused (rightly or wrongly) of racism, sexism, or any other -ism that is carelessly thrown about through the interwebs, people would rather needlessly put themselves, their homes, and even their families in danger. It’s like the adage about kids these days – “they’re not afraid of dying – they’re afraid of looking bad on TV.” In other words, they’re afraid of being thought ill of by the cultural elite. To hell with their families and their homes – just as long as so-and-so on social media doesn’t suspect me of being a racist. I’ll do anything – just please don’t call me any of those -isms!


What slavery!


I have had friends who have asked me how I can support things like Trump and alternative social media platforms, because don’t I know that organizations like the KKK and Neo-Nazis do the same?


Again, I’ve had to pause and think about this.


I have attended Washington D.C.’s annual March for Life about a half dozen times. Every year in January, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the National Mall to make a stand for the unborn, calling for the cessation of legalized abortion in this country. People come from all over the US, from all walks of life, and of all ages come together in support of the unborn. Many will come in groups, whether it is a church organization, a college, or certain fields of study. I’ve seen signs that read, “Sisters of Charity for Life,” or “University of Pennsylvania for Life,” or “Nurses for Life.” And every so often, I would see groups holding signs saying, “Feminists for Life,” “Atheists for Life,” and “LGBTQ for Life.”


But not once did I ever hear someone say, “We really need to leave. Those feminists are here again. And look- it’s the gay people, too. We don’t agree with that, and we certainly don’t want anyone to think we are associated with or condoning what they stand for. Ugh! They really need to do a better job of vetting everyone before letting them march in this!”


Of course, that would be absurd. We were all marching for a common cause, which was the hope of Roe v. Wade being overturned and the illegalization of abortion. Turns out that some feminists, homosexuals, and people who don’t believe in God think it’s wrong to kill babies in utero, too. Praise God!


But we can all surmise that when there is support for a platform, it is the platform that is being condoned or supported – not all the various kinds of people or organizations who are supporting it.


Let’s follow my friends’ logic to the very end. What I could have (and should have) said in response was, “Do you put clothes on every day? Is that important to you? Because last I heard, the KKK and those Neo-Nazis don’t like to walk around in the nude, either. Are you sure you’re not a racist or an anti-Semite? You know, just to be safe, you might want to make some sort of announcement when you show up fully dressed somewhere that you are definitely not aligned with any white-supremacy organization. You don’t want to be blacklisted or anything…”


Now, that’s obviously silly. But if we think critically about what my friend’s message to me, is it really any more absurd than what she is suggesting – that in order for me (or anyone) to take a stand or even have a preference on anything, I need to do a thorough investigation to see who could possibly be in agreement with me to avoid possibly forcing myself into a guilt by association position? Is this what reason and discernment has come to in our culture now?


Answer: Yes. It has. Unfortunately, our society’s method of discernment has devolved into a group of kids in a schoolyard, deciding who’s in and who’s out based on an I-can’t-be-friends-with-you-because-you’re-friends-with-Suzi rationale. This is why we need to think critically and carefully whenever we are being accused of any -ism of our day (and then try not to take it seriously.)


Keep your heads about you, Conservative Ladies of Washington.

Conservative Ladies of Washington

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