By Dave Simpson, columnist
I wouldn’t know a “Proud Boy” if he was sitting across the breakfast table from me.
I’ve never met one. Never seen one in my town.
I’m a Republican, since way back in the 1980s, and suddenly folks on the far left seem to think we’re all Proud Boys.
Apparently the Proud Boys are some kind of nutty response to nuts on the other end of the political spectrum. But one pack of nuts isn’t any better than another pack of nuts. And as soon as someone smashes a window with a skate board, sets a fire, or drives a car into a crowd of people, someone needs to go to jail.
The media – where I earned a living for 40 years – has trouble with this. One group of nuts is deemed “peaceful protesters” in the news, while the other group is seen as “traitors,” guilty of “sedition.”
The way I see it, if you broke into the U.S. Capitol building out of some crazy notion of furthering the beliefs of conservatives like me, you’re no better than the lunatics that have been tearing up jack in Portland for months now.
I want nothing to do with either group. And I’d remind the Proud Boys that pride goeth before a fall.
Likewise, I wouldn’t know a “Qanon” member if he was sitting beside the Proud Boy at my breakfast table. I’ve never met a Qanon. Never seen one in my town.
So our far left friends should stop painting all Republicans with the tarry scum at the bottom of our barrel. Is that too much to ask? You’ve got a barrel with scum at the bottom, too. I have not accused all Democrats of breaking windows in Portland, shooting fireworks at cops, and setting fires. Likewise, I was not within 1,000 miles of the the bare-chested lunatic with the face paint, the buffalo horns, and the Davy Crockett coonskin cap in the Capitol.
That clown doesn’t represent me in any way.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Some organized crime figures bought homes in the suburbs. My brother was friends with the son of one such organized crime suspect. The father’s nickname, as I recall, was “Screwy.” (Now there’s a name we never considered for our kids.)
One day, Screwy gave this advice to my brother:
“Never join a gang.”
Later, my father said, “Now THERE’S a guy who knows what he’s talking about.”
Bottom line: Most of us belong to groups about as controversial as the Rotary Club or Kiwanis. A Weed and Pest Control District. Meals on Wheels. Or a quilting league. Only the tiniest of sad minorities are Proud Boys, Qanon, or white supremacists.
Me? A Proud Boy? Are you kidding?
For the record, I’ve never broken into any building, public or private. Never worn face paint. Never stolen the lectern from the House of Representatives, put my feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk, or slugged a cop. I’ve never touched a cop. If I assaulted one, I would expect to be billy clubbed into submission. And I’d deserve it.
We keep hearing about “deprogramming” people like us. What crazy ideas do they want to exorcise from Republicans like me? What’s the deprogramming agenda?
Should we be put in modern-day gulags for wanting state and federal governments that don’t spend wildly beyond their means? Should we be kept in custody until we no longer see a problem with $27 trillion in debt, and have no problem with adding much more?
Is it evidence of mental illness if we don’t see socialism – a system that can’t seem to keep food and toilet paper on grocery store shelves in Venezuela – as the answer to our problems? Should we be in treatment until we see the virtue of turning every doctor into a government employee, with all the mindless bureaucracy and delays that entails?
I’m not a Proud Boy. Heck, I’m not even a Rotarian anymore.
And if you plan to “deprogram” me into thinking vast government control and even higher federal debt are good things, then I’ve got a line from the movie “Jaws” for you.
You’re gonna need a bigger boat.
Dave Simpson can be contacted at email@example.com