When governors and local officials issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus, right-wingers howled that it was nothing less than an attack on their freedom. One of them was black conservative pastor Jesse Lee Peterson. But on Monday, Peterson revealed that his wailing was extremely hollow. He actually stood up and applauded a Ukrainian city councilman who demanded that the government deport students who took part in a peaceful protest against racism.
Last Thursday, a group of African students staged a “Black Lives Matter” protest in Ternopil, a major city in western Ukraine, roughly 260 miles from Kiev. That didn’t sit well with Volodymyr Bobko, a member of the council for Ternopil Oblast, or region–equivalent to a state legislator in the United States. Bobko is also a member of the far-right All-Ukrainian Union, or “Svoboda” for short.
In a Facebook post laden with dog whistles, Bobko suggested the protesters were either trying to incite unrest or were “act(ing) on instructions from abroad.” He called for the police and the Security Service to track down the students and deport them from the country.
“Svoboda” means “freedom” in Ukrainian. But if Bobko thinks peaceful protest is grounds for being deported, he has a funny definition of “freedom.” Apparently, so does Peterson. When he learned about Bobko’s call for the protesters to be run out of Ukraine on a rail, Peterson offered what amounted to a standing ovation.
Wait a minute, Jesse Lee. Are you actually applauding this ham-handed attack on freedom of expression? That’s about the only conclusion that can plausibly be drawn from this tweet. The hypocrisy burns as much as it did when right-wing “intellectual” Steve Turley loudly applauded Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s gutting of freedom of the press in the name of fighting the pandemic.
Imagine if a prominent right-winger demanded that Donald Trump deport international students who simply did nothing more than take part in peaceful protests. We need not imagine what the outcry would be on Twitter.
Peterson was one of the few people who believes the Atlanta cop who killed Rayshard Brooks on Friday did nothing wrong.
Never mind that Brooks was killed with two bullets in the back. Who wants to live in a country where shooting someone in the back is self-defense? Well, apparently we have our answer–a guy who thinks we should deport international students merely for taking part in a peaceful protest.
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