You can’t credibly encourage violence against the news media and politicians and then pretend you had nothing to do with it when it happens.
“Time and again, the President has condoned physical violence and divided Americans with his words and his actions: expressing support for the Congressman who body-slammed a reporter, the neo-Nazis who killed a young woman in Charlottesville, his supporters at rallies who get violent with protestors, dictators around the world who murder their own citizens, and referring to the press as the enemy of the people.”
-congressional minority statement after bombs were sent to Clinton, Obama, and CNN.
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Both sides need to tamp down the political rhetoric. A few weeks ago H. Clinton said that the left doesn’t need to be civil anymore until they are in power and Eric Holder said “when they are down, we kick them,” talking about the right. Everyone needs to step back and take a few breaths. Everyone is guilty here.
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I understand your points, Valerie, and I don’t disagree overall. But you are asserting a false equivalency. The statements you cite were both clearly made in response to Trump’s malignant, fabulist rhetoric. Trump has devastated all norms of civility and decency we used to expect in our public leaders, has used fantastical, evidence-free conspiracy theories to demonize legitimate news sources and “the left.” Today’s bombings are quite predictable, given the instigation from our commander in chief.
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I can make no defense of Donald Trump or the language that he uses. I am just saying that both sides have used inflammatory language. If you lived in the US you would see it on the news. Many, many celebrities have said terrible things about Trump implying the desire to commit violence on his person.
A few weeks ago, when the Pentagon and White House were sent letters with white powder in them, no one blamed the Democrats.
About a year ago, when Steve Scalise was shot, no one blamed the Democrats. Anyone who commits these kinds of crimes is mentally ill and has absorbed the inflammatory rhetoric without a filter.
God help us all if we cannot come together as Americans and respect each other with the right to hold opposing views. Personally, I am an independent and it is time that our Congress started functioning for the good of the American people instead of its own interests with its hope of being continually re-elected.
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As was stated, you’re setting up a false equivalency. On the left, we see public figures reacting sensibly to actual events (ex. calling out the administration’s more fascist moves, such as his current attempt to ban protestors from the National Mall, and blatant lies). On the right, we have a POTUS calling for violence against journalists and protestors, claiming that neo-Nazis are “very fine people”, and referring to entire ethnicities as murders and rapists. It’s no coincidence that there’s been a marked increase in the number of white supremacist & neo-Nazi organizations & their membership since Trump took office (ref. SPLC, FBI).
There’s a significant difference between “inflammatory language” and offering to pay the legal fees of anyone who punches a reporter at a rally (the most minimal of Trump’s violent rhetoric).
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I so appreciate your comment and your views. Thank you so much for sharing them!
Trump has committed stochastic terrorism, plain and simple. I don’t think any Democrat has ever done such a thing.
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If Obama has called the news media the “enemy of the people,” had falsely claimed Bush was not an actual American and was operating an international child-sex ring from a pizza shop, and on and on and on, the same elected GOP now ignoring Trump’s outrages would have impeached and convicted Obama and removed him from office. It’s beyond scandalous.
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Those on the far right (e.g. Trump’s most ardent supporters) are trying to blame Maxine Waters.
I really appreciate your views. I get it, there is inflammatory language and a lack of civility, and partisanship is on display everywhere. It distorts people’s thinking and impedes our ability to work together as citizens.
I feel duty-bound to point out a couple of important differences between the behavior of the left and right in these matters. One is that the inflammatory language from the left all occurs in response to that of Trump and his enablers. It wouldn’t occur, at least not to the degree it does, if Trump didn’t behave the way he did.
Another is that there is a mammoth qualitative difference between inflammatory statements made by celebrities and those made the Trump for the simple reason that Trump is president of the United States. Trump said many depraved things when he himself was a celebrity, but they didn’t carry anything like the weight they do now.
A third point: although I’m sure you can dig up propaganda disputing this, it’s a quantitative fact that the left, in America, encourages and commits violence far less than the right. If you disagree with this, I encourage you to consider the matter dispassionately and look at actual research into the matter. The left, even the extreme left, at least in America, is far less likely to use violence to further agendas than the right. This has been true since the seventies. The American “left” tends toward the anti-gun, anti-war, “peace-and-love” vegetarian crowd. Rightwing propaganda, amplified by Trump and his tweets, focusses on the “mob violence” of various anti-Trump demonstrations, but does so disingenuously. Many examples exist, but the women’s marches shortly after Trump was elected are elemplary. Literally millions of people marched in the streets in hundreds of demonstrations. A couple of small riots broke out (in Seattle and New York, I think), involving what amounted to about a hundred people, virtually all of them anarchists. Trump would have you believe these people are typical “liberals,” but this is obviously untrue (anarchists, who want to destroy ALL government, would tend to hate both HRC and Trump). The dishonesty is also on display in the way antifa has been misrepresented by Trump and his supporters. “Antifa” is organized around stopping neo-Nazis, nothing more and nothing less. Its members don’t shrink from using violence to do so; they also tend be anarchists. You might disagree with their tactics, but equating them with “the left” is just wrong. They are far less representative of “the left” as an ostrich is of all birds. As for the far rarer lone-wolf mentally unstable people on the left, James Hodgkinson, the man who shot Steve Scalise, would not be welcome at any left-wing or Democrat gathering.
The Trump supporter arrested today for sending bombs is obviously likewise not representative of Trump supporters. However, there is a critical difference. Trump supporters prop up the very individual who inspired this guy to send bombs, so they are complicit even if they don’t send bombs themselves. You can’t prop up a stochastic terrorist and then pretend you have nothing to do with the consequences. You know what would give hope to our country? If Trump enablers hold Trump to a higher standard instead of being starstruck sycophants going along with every crazy, cruel thing he says. A lot of progressives tossed out their support of Obama over his drone attacks in Afghanistan because those attacks crossed an essential red line in their principles. Do Trump supporters even have such a line?
I’m well aware of the celebrities who have said and done offensive anti-Trump things (my living outside the U.S. isn’t relevant here; I keep close touch with these issues because I care deeply about them. I read lots of news from many sources, including Fox News and Breitbart, and keep daily contact with several friends and family members living in the U.S., often about this very topic). A lot of the inflammatory behavior boils down to bad humor (e.g. Kathy Griffin) and awkwardly expressed anger. I’m not comfortable with a lot of it. Virtually all progressives and Democrats reject the idea of violence against Trump. Please note that rightists did arguably worse things during the previous administration, such as lynching and burning an effigy of Obama.
You say “no one blamed the Democrats” for the assassination attempt of Steven Scalise but this is factually incorrect. Commentary in right-wing media did exactly that and still does. I’ve also read many social media posts and comments that used Hodgkinson to ridicule the liberals (sorry, “libtards”) for their “supposed” support of civility, cooperation, and non-violence. However, I acknowledge that fingers are being leveled MORE readily at Trump for the recent letter-bombs than were at Democrats over that shooting. I’m guessing this has something to do with the fact that neither Obama nor HRC ever endorsed violence against Republicans or the media.
Regarding statements like the following by HRC-
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about, That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
-Let me ask you, what exactly are the Democrats supposed to do? The Republicans have disowned honesty and civility as qualities of political interaction; they have normalized vicious, cruel, fact-free attacks as a part of campaigning. Are the Democrats just supposed to roll over and take it? “Oh, yes, we’re evil, we support open borders, taking away all your guns and we’re all America-hating Stalinists drooling to put decent people into gulags and install Sharia law. Thank you so much for sharing.” Beyond risible. Democrats are being forced to choose between adopting the Republican tactics and possibly winning, or being civil and honest and losing.
Lastly, I agree with your statement, “God help us all if we cannot come together as Americans and respect each other with the right to hold opposing views.” It makes me very sad to observe that I don’t think we can come together. This is because of two things about Trump that in offensiveness go far beyond any of the outrages outlined above.
1. He has openly courted and enabled white supremacists. How can a country like America possibly become unified by a leader who does such a thing?
2. He sided with Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies in the matter of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Republicans in the Reagan era would have rightly regarded Trump’s behavior as traitorous, even treasonous. How can Americans come together when 39% still blindly support someone like this?