Many users of social media will have seen it pop into their timeline over the weekend. In a short video taken on the steps of the Lincoln monument a native American is banging a drum. Directly in front of him is a young student standing in his way and staring down the older man. Other high school students – in Donald Trump MAGA caps – are laughing and enjoying the spectacle.
You can watch a version of it here although with smart phones being ubiquitous there are plenty more available.
It looked on a cursory glimpse like a pretty clear case. The Catholic student, quickly identified as Nick Sandmann and in Washington to attend the “March for Life”, was being somewhat obnoxious and cheered on by white students blocking an elder, who it turns out was a Vietnam veteran. The veteran, Nathan Philipps, made it to the war that Donald Trump dodged. Twitter exploded in rage, with the ultra-liberal insults of racism amplified by celebrities with mass follower counts. The anger, directed at a young person, was breathtaking in its intensity, violence and cruelty. It went viral. The main news networks picked it up. Sandmann’s family has been targeted by death threats.