Covington Catholic vs. Nathan Philips: has the left gone mad?

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Covington Catholic vs. Nathan Philips: has the left gone mad?

The annual, anti-abortion March for Life in Washington D.C. took an unexpected turn when a group of Catholic high school students became the center of attention. 

Videos of a group of Covington Catholic students in ‘Make American Great Again’ hats have gone viral. The group of young boys appeared to be surrounding a Native American elder. Reports have described the boys as ‘taunting’ and ‘menacing’ the Native American, Nathan Philips, whilst he beat a ceremonial drum. 

Philips was drumming and singing songs of unity as part of the Indigenous People’s March. His goal was to encourage people to be strong in the face of colonialism, inequality and police brutality. 

Philips claimed tearfully that the boys had been chanting ‘build that wall’, and responded ‘this is indigenous land. We’re not supposed to have walls here.’

Whilst no real conflict broke out, videos of the event have been shared thousands of times, and reactions have been extreme. The Covington Catholic students have been condemned by many. Some comments on social media have even wished death not just on the boys, but on their parents. 

But as with any heated topic, there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Leftist reports have depicted the Covington boys as threatening and malicious, but videos, eye witness accounts, and the students’ statements say otherwise. 

How did the conflict begin?

There are lots of headlines implying the Covington students surrounded Nathan Philips and began intimidating him. The students are made to seem racist and cruel, because of their smiles or ‘smirks’. But after statements came in, and different videos emerged, it became clear that assumptions were made, and conclusions jumped to, simply because of the MAGA apparel the boys wore. 

Different videos show the Covington students chanting enthusiastically, a fair way away from where Philips stood drumming and singing. Then we see Philips start to slowly make his way into the center of the crowd of students. 

Before this, apparently, a group of Hebrew Israelites stood shouting at both the students and the Native Americans. Philips claims he made his way over to the group to try and diffuse the tension. He stated that there was a lot of racial tension, and so he stepped in between the two groups to pray. 

So whilst some have claimed that the Covington Catholic students surrounded the Native American elder, the videos and Philips’ statements show a completely different chain of events. 

Responses to the event

At first, just one video accompanied news reports: the video of smirking boys surrounding a Native American elder. And as you can imagine, the headlines matched the seemingly incriminating video. The boys, although juveniles, were exposed as racists. 

Online readers from around the world shared their views on the boys’ education, their parents, and their morals. The group of teens quickly became hated by the nation. 

Covington Catholic and the Diocese of Covington both apologized for the students’ behavior, and offered their apologies to Nathan Philips, and to the Native American community as a whole. 

They also made it clear that action would be taken to punish the students for their behavior, including possible expulsion. 

However, after more videos emerged, showing Philips approaching the students rather than the other way around, headlines started to change. 

Leftist media companies released different articles and began deleting their original versions of events. The New York Times released an article: ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Mob Native Elder At Indigenous People’s March’, but once more information became available, the headline was quickly changed. 

The initial headline actively shamed the ‘mob’ of Covington students, but the new headline was much more passive: ‘Viral Video Shows Boys in ‘Make America Great Again’ Hats Surrounding Native Elder.’

The students’ explanation

Nick Sandmann became the face of the event and the target for a lot of hatred. Sandmann was one of the juniors from Covington Catholic, and he stood, smiling, directly in front of Philips in the videos. 

Despite being accused of being racist and intimidating Philips, Sandmann released a statement that explained a lot of the event. 

He stated that during the rally, he felt as though other adult protesters were trying to evoke a strong reaction from the students. Reluctant to give them what they wanted, he made a point to remain calm and motionless. In response to claims that his ‘smirk’ was cruel and intimidating, he said he smiled because he wanted Philips to know that he wasn’t going to take the bait and react with anger. 

In fact, his statement shows a sincere level of maturity and respect for Philips: 

‘I harboured no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should rethink his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.’ 

What does MAGA have to do with the conflict?

Many headlines have focused heavily on the fact that the boys wore MAGA caps, which forces us to question whether the extreme response to this event was actually just another media attack on Trump.  It’s no secret that leftist propaganda has jumped at any opportunity to criticize Trump and his slogan. 

The scene painted the perfect picture for leftist reporters: Trump supporters surrounding a Native American. But few stopped to question the story behind the image. 

The story fits perfectly with the outrage that arose when Trump repeatedly referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas’ and insensitively used Wounded Knee and Bighorn to mock her. 

Reports have also emphasized the fact that this event took place at the same spot that Martin Luther King delivered one of his famous speeches about ending racism in the USA. 

So with the tension between the Trump administration and the Native American community already at an all-time high, it seems the left may have used this event to further tensions. 

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