Mob Violence Resolution

July 2, 2020

Mr./Madam President,

Before we break for the Fourth of July recess, I thought it would be important to get the Senate on record condemning the rising tide of mob violence we see across the country, and the increasingly prevalent mob-mentality that is fueling it.

The violence struck home for me this week when a constituent of mine was shot after an armed mob surrounded his truck in Provo, Utah.

The resolution is not controversial. Even in these divisive times, it’s something I think we can all agree on. I can read through some highlights right now:

“The United States of America was founded in 1776 on universal principles of freedom, justice, and human equality…

“Throughout our nation’s history, Americans have struggled to realize those ideals … but nonetheless made greater progress toward them than any nation on earth;

“The United States is a diverse nation committed to cultivating respect, friendship, and justice across all such differences, and protecting the God-given equal rights of all Americans under the law;

“America’s law enforcement officers do an extremely difficult job extremely well, and despite the inexcusable misconduct of some, the overwhelming majority of such officers are honest, courageous, patriotic, and rightfully honored public servants;

“Whereas in recent weeks, people across the United States have organized legitimate, peaceful, constitutionally protected demonstrations against instances of police brutality and racial inequality, serious problems meriting investigation and reform;

“Whereas some Americans, unsatisfied with peaceful and positive demonstrations, have instigated and indulged in mob violence and criminal property destruction, not in service of any just or coherent cause, but simply as an arrogant, bullying tantrum of self-righteous illiberalism and rage;

“Whereas these mobs have demonstrated not only contempt for public safety – as evidenced, among other crimes, by an unprovoked physical assault on a Wisconsin state Senator and the shooting of a motorist in Provo, Utah –

…and common decency – as evidenced by their obscene berating of law enforcement officers standing their posts and protecting their communities –

… but also their manifest ignorance and historical illiteracy – as evidenced by their destruction of public memorials to historical heroes like Ulysses S. Grant, St. Junipero Serra, Miguel Cervantes, George Washington, Hans Christian Heg, and a reported plan to target a statue of Abraham Lincoln financed in 1876 entirely by private donations from freed African-American slaves;

“Therefore be it resolved, that it is the sense of the Senate that the rising tide of vandalism, mob violence and the mob mentality that feeds it – including its cruel and intolerant “cancel culture” – should be condemned by all Americans;

… that peaceful demonstrations and mob violence are different in kind;

… that physical assault and property destruction are not forms of political speech but violent crimes whose perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law;

… and that the innocent law enforcement officers, public officials, and private citizens who suffer these mobs’ violence and endure their scorn while protecting our communities from them deserve every American’s thanks and appreciation.”

As I say, Mr./Madam President, very straight forward.

As we saw in Seattle this week, these mobs are not going to stop … until they are stopped. A non-binding resolution is the tiniest first step of a response, the merest exercise of the Senate’s atrophied institutional muscles.

We need to do much, much more. And I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle developing legislation to do it.

But in this divided political moment, heading into the 244th birthday of the greatest, freest, most tolerant and prosperous nation in the world, I think showing that Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats are able to speak with one voice against woke mob violence and in defense of equal justice and civic peace would be a welcome step.

Text to the Resolution can be read here