This is a tale of two assaults: One real and one fake. When Kaitlin Bennett said that Bernie Sanders’ staff put their hands all over her, I took some heat when I said that her comment was “a bit of a stretch.” (For context, watch the video on Twitter.) After this, I was called a “dipshit” and a “liberal douchebag,” and someone said I must be a liberal because I am from Bloomington.
I don’t need to defend my conservative credentials on my own blog. I have been in the public square advocating for conservative principles since before Kaitlin Bennett was born, often in a hostile environment. But this shows a deep rot in conservatism, where any disagreement results in an assumption that you are not a conservative at all. This is not a principled ideology. It is a cult mentality looking for heretics.
With this said, the Bernie Sanders video is not a good example of rough treatment. Sanders has security and Secret Service protection for a reason. Bennett tried to ask a question, and Sanders walked away. She continued to pursue Sanders and approach him, after being separated from him by security. It is not wrong for security to stand in between Bennett and Sanders. They may not have known who she is. It does not help the conservative cause when things like that are blown out of proportion. It makes Bennett look like she is looking for a confrontation to make a video like she made.
Contrast this to an actual assault on Bennett and her cameraman at a Pete Buttigieg rally. It is one thing for Buttigieg supporters to confront and argue with Bennett. It is another for them to smack the camera and throw something in the face of the cameraman. It was a shameful display.
That is when it ceases to be a political debate and becomes a crime. That is something that absolutely should be not only denounced, but aggressively prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law. If we value free speech and if we want to prevent political violence, we should only accept the harshest punishment legally possible for the thug who assaulted Bennett and her cameraman. This must never be tolerated.