Despite the fact that my blogs seems to always be about how I don’t like this president and, like Rush Limbaugh said about Obama, I hope he fails…I still think violence in the name of politics is, to quote Trump, “so sad”. The shooting of Republican Representative Steve Scalise, the wounding of 3 others and the attempted shootings of countless other GOP members in Alexandria was deplorable and reprehensible. The shooter got what he deserved (dead) and also jump-started a discussion about the lack of civil discourse in this country.
The shooter in this case hated the president and also took every opportunity to let the GOP in his home area in Illinois know how much he disliked them and their policies as well. He was also well-known to local authorities after a few run-ins for weapons and violence incidents. But what was it that caused this man that some described as quiet and well-meaning (although some call him an angry little man) to cross the line from posting mean blogs on Facebook and holding protest signs outside council meetings, into a person intent on killing as many of ‘them’ as possible? How did it cross the line from a political disagreement into attempted murder?
The amount of vitriol against the president may be unprecedented (or ‘unpresidented’ as Trump once tweeted…I can’t resist it, sorry) but we have a tendancy to forget history. Lincoln was reviled by half of the country and was eventually asassinated. The hatred for him and his policies led to The South leaving the Union. That’s a little more extreme than what we’re seeing today. Does anyone remember the extreme protests against LBJ and Nixon for Civil Rights and Vietnan or the asassination attempts against Reagan and Ford? Violence in the name of politics has been and all-too-common theme in American history. Luckily the examples of such extreme violence like we saw in Alexandria are few and far between.
The calls for more civility between the 2 sides will be swift. You’ll see the GOP and Democrats call for more unity and less violent rhetoric. Speaker Paul Ryan said “an attack against any one of us is an attack against all of us.” That got applause from both sides of the aisle as it should have. That harmony will last a couple of days until the finger pointing begins in earnest. Actually the blame game has already started. Newt Gingrich and one of the president’s sons blamed the Democrats and recent violent imagery for stoking the fire. It may have stoked the fire, but as Billy Joel said, we didn’t start the fire. For the Virginia shooter, his fire had been stoked long before Madonna said she thought about blowing up the White House or Kathy Griffin held up a beheaded Donald Trump doll or a theatre-in-the-park production pulled a Julius Caesar on a Trump-like character and stabbed him in the back. Don’t get me wrong, I think the first 2 examples deserve a visit from the Secret Service and a harsh rebuke from people on their own side, but I’ll give a pass to the Caesar parody as satire.
I’ll admit the anti-Trump forces are being more vocal and demonstrative than I can remember any other political group being. Maybe because it’s not just people from one race or one ideology or one issue that are keeping the demonstrations fresh. It’s people of all races. It’s men and women…as well as people who are somewhere in between. It’s mainly young, but not exclusively. It’s people who care about women’s rights, healthcare for all, LGBT rights, immigration, climate science or science in general. So unlike Vietnam protesters or even Civil Rights activists, Donald Trump has brought out the protestor in many diverse groups who feel this president doesn’t care about anything except Twitter wars and trying to make himself look good.
Again, the anti-Trump rhetoric is extremely high right now, but please don’t forget the hundreds…yes hundreds of stories we’ve heard about hatred BY Trump supporters in just the past handfull of months. The individuals who’ve been berated or beaten by people just because of their color or religion. Why? The usual answer is ‘this is Trump’s America now’ or ‘this is what Trump wants’. They feel like they can do or say anything because their leader has and does.
The Alexandria shooting should have never happened, and I hope it never happens again. Just because I disagree with you politically, by no means does it mean I want any physical harm come to you or your family. I just want everyone who’s blaming Liberals for the everything to remember again….we didn’t start the fire. I also know that using the 4th grade excuse of ‘Billy hit me first’ shouldn’t work in an adult world…so even though Obama has been hung in effigy and hatred towards him was at an all-time high, that doesn’t mean the Left has the right to hate Trump, just because. But even if you really do dislike the man and his policies, it doesn’t give anyone the right to turn to violence.
to contact Dave, write: firstname.lastname@example.org