In the aftermath of the January 6 incursion at the Capitol building in Washington D.C., the political left has seized upon just about anything that could be deemed harmful to the incoming administration and their precious left-leaning agenda.
It is the reason that currently, in the capital, there are more armed guards and military men and women than in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq combined. It is also why a recent case of vandalism in the area has been classified as a hate crime.
Within the city’s Navy Yard neighborhood, there is a concrete wall that has for some time been used to showcase murals by various artists. The current mural is one of Vermont Senator and newly appointed Senate Budget Committee head Bernie Sanders.
But according to WTOP-FM and police reports, that mural was recently vandalized. Sometime between December 15 and January 14, someone painted over Sanders’ face, making him out to look like Pepe the Frog.
Per WTOP, the original painting artist was on her way to work one morning when she passed by the mural and noticed that it had been changed. Of course, the police were soon contacted, and an investigation has begun.
Since then, the artist has returned the mural to its former glory, giving Sanders’ a non-frog-like face.
Now, you might be wondering what all the fuss about this case is. After all, murals are defaced every day, usually by someone just trying to add their take on life and make something funny. What could be so harmful about Sanders being made into Pepe the Frog?
Well, at the outset, it isn’t harmful in the least.
Pepe has been used for years now in some form or another and by multiple people and groups.
Take Katy Perry’s use of Pepe in a meme back in 2014 after she flew to Australia.
Or these masks depicting Pepe as a human rights activist in Hong Kong.
The fact of the matter is that Pepe the Frog, in and of itself, is not harmful or racist, or anti-Semitic, or whatever else people on the left want to think.
As the Anti-Defamation League or ADL notes, “The character first appeared in 2005 in the on-line (MySpace) cartoon ‘Boy’s Club.’ The Pepe the Frog character did not originally have racist or anti-Semitic connotations. Internet users appropriated the character and turned him into a meme, placing the frog in a variety of circumstances and saying many different things. The majority of uses of Pepe the Frog have been, and continue to be, non-bigoted.”
However, they note that, as is typical, there have been some cases when biased people have turned the character into something more.
“It was inevitable that, as the meme proliferated in on-line venues such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, which many users who delight in creating racist memes and imagery, a subset of Pepe memes would come into existence that centered on racist, anti-Semitic or other bigoted themes.”
And so, the image of Pepe was officially added to the ADL’s hate symbol list in 2016.
But the question is: Does this use of Pepe meet the standards of a hate crime?
Well, to answer that, we have to look at the definition of a hate crime.
According to the Metropolitan Police Department’s FAQ page, a hate crime is considered anything that can “meet the standards for a ‘bias-related crime.’” Well, then what’s a ‘bias-related crime?’
“Bias-related crime’… demonstrates an accused prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, homelessness, physical disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act.”
Basically, if the victim thinks, even for a second, that someone is attacking them based on an above-listed issue, it can be classified as a hate crime.
Is someone going after Bernie because of his race, gender, political affiliation, age, etc.?
Someone could also just be trying to add some laughs to their day. At this point, no one knows, nor do they have any clue who did the vandalism. I mean, it took about a month or so before anyone even noticed what had been done.
But someone was offended. And for the left, that means someone else has to pay, whether they were intentionally hateful or not.