News & Politics

Ali Velshi Doesn't Condone Rioting (Unless It Gets Him What He Wants)

AP (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Last summer, at the height of the George Floyd riots in Minneapolis, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi stood directly in front of a burning building, looked into the camera, and told his viewers that the scene was “not, generally speaking, unruly”:

It was the most hilarious gaslighting attempt since Baghdad Bob, and I took more pleasure in trolling Velshi about it than I should probably admit. But I’m not sorry for heckling him. If a guy is going to go on national TV and lie to my face, mocking and pestering him for being a dishonest hack is my duty as an American.

And now Velshi is spouting some more BS about rioting. He’s annoyed that people keep comparing that “not unruly” rioting and looting last year with the 1/6 riot at the Capitol. It’s different because… well, because Velshi needs it to be different.

Although some have drawn misguided parallels between the two, there is an important distinction here: Violence that is intended to spread democracy, end injustice and encourage fairness in the application of the rule of law has nothing in common with the wanton, anti-democratic riots of Jan. 6, fueled by QAnon and other conspiracy theories that tell the story of an election stolen by a Satan-worshipping cabal.

Jan. 6 was a violent riot in support of a coup attempt, and it should be met with nothing but universal scorn. The protests that swept the country after the death of George Floyd were the symptom of historically oppressed and disenfranchised people reaching a boiling point and taking a stand for their basic rights.

The idea that people of color who demonstrate for their rights — Black people, specifically — are inherently threatening and dangerous is commonplace in America.

In other words: “It’s different when we do it!” Then Velshi spends a few hundred more words excusing the violence committed in furtherance of his goals, and whining about all the people who noticed him lying about the rioting.

Ali Velshi and his ilk don’t care about the victims of rioting. They don’t care about the lives of black people, or any other kind of people, whose neighborhoods were destroyed last year. Typical quote: “These were not violent protests; they were protests with violence.” Oh, okay! Never mind then, Ali. Totally different.

I’ll never be like Velshi et al. because I’ll never excuse any of it. I condemn all rioting, including and especially the Capitol riot. It’s not somehow less of a crime just because they only got within seconds of killing the vice president of the United States, instead of killing dozens of people and causing over a billion dollars in property damage over the course of 2020. I hope every single person who participated in that riot serves federal time for it, especially the ones who murdered Brian Sicknick.

(And whatever happens to Trump during his impeachment trial, it won’t be enough to make up for what he’s done to this country. No matter what he thought his legacy was going to be — three solid Supreme Court justices, a fast-tracked coronavirus vaccine, peace in the Middle East — it’s been overshadowed by his actions since the election he lost.)

Rioting is wrong, whether you think you’re doing it to save black lives or to stop an election result you don’t like. We are a nation of laws, and if you reject that, I will not stand with you. I don’t care what your party or ideology or favorite color is. I don’t care how loudly you whine that your riotous compatriots were “mostly peaceful.” If you condone this political violence for any reason, I want nothing to do with you.

Meanwhile, in NYC:

Now we’re back to the good kind of rioting. I’m sure Ali Velshi and his miserable comrades heartily approve.

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