Last night, my twitter feed was awash in retweets of the odious Richard Spencer getting sucker-punched in the head by a protester. I will admit that I watched it quite a few times, and took special pleasure at the fact that it happened right as Spencer was well-actuallying some credulous interviewer (and why, exactly, are we giving Nazis a platform?) about Pepe the Frog.
This morning, my Twitter feed is awash in debates about whether it was right or productive for Spencer to get punched, and more broadly, if progressives, liberals, and the Left generally ought to be celebrating and laughing about it. "Aren't we better than this," the questions go. Doesn't this just drag us down to their level and perpetuate the cycle of violence?
Yes, it probably does, and no—as a general rule, we ought not to be advocating violence against political opponents, regardless of their odiousness. There is a difference between Captain America punching out Hitler and some masked anarchist sucker-punching a dude on the street. It's good that we are asking these questions and having this discussion.
That said, on the day of Donald Trump's inauguration, I have a tough time denying anyone the gut-level pleasure of watching a shitbag like Spencer get punched. I think it is entirely possible and plausible to advocate for nonviolent resistance at a broad level while at the same time chuckling a bit when a douchebag gets his comeuppance, regardless of who is delivering it or why.