A terrible tragedy occurred at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park last week. Apparently acting out of political rage, a deranged gunman shot and wounded a number of Republican politicians along with a few of their ever-present lobbyists. And it was shocking to learn that this gunman was not only a liberal, but a Bernie Sanders supporter (and quite possibly Walter Sobchak’s doppelganger).
Why shocking, given that an average of 650 Americans are killed every single week by guns? Because it’s rare to find a gun enthusiast who also embraces liberal politics, though I suppose I could count myself in that category as well. And even rarer to find someone engaging in mass murder in the name of liberal politics, as that’s typically been the realm of both religious and political conservatives throughout the 21st century.
I was also surprised by some of the reactions to the shooting, with a number of Republican politicians and conservative pundits seemingly perplexed by the political vitriol that’s foaming throughout our society – with a few shameless hypocrites actually trying to blame Democrats for all the anger, hatred, and violence. Especially when it has been the Republicans and their conservative attack dogs who have been the ones billowing an endless stream of bellicose rhetoric throughout the presidential campaign – and through all eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, for that matter.
For example, when faced with hecklers at his campaign rallies, Sanders quietly let them air their views, offering to listen to his opponents rather than attempt to brutally silence them. In contrast, when asked how he would handle such a situation, Donald Trump took great pride in pointing out that he would immediately and unequivocally resort to violence: “I don’t know if I will do the fighting myself or if other people will.”
And what’s even more shocking, and downright ridiculous, is Trump’s daughter’s claim that she was surprised by the anger and hatred towards her father in Washington. Add to that one of her brother’s claim that those who disparaged his father were “not even human.”
Did they not hear Trump when he encouraged fans of the Second Amendment (aka, gun enthusiasts) to take action against his political opponents? Did they not hear him when he encouraged his supporters to “knock the crap out” of anyone who disagreed with them? Did they not hear him when he told his supporters that he’d pay their legal fees if they committed violence against protesters? Did they not hear him when he said he could kill a man and not lose any votes? Have they ever even glanced at their father’s Twitter feed, for shit’s sake? Gimme a break!
Given Old Man Trump’s world-class mastery of lying and hypocrisy, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the ridiculous, duplicitous rubbish being spewed forth by his children. His daughter is trying to position her father as some sort of innocent, angelic victim at the very same time as his son is echoing his brutish method of trying to demean and insult anyone who dares to question or criticize his father.
Let’s face it, Ivanka and Eric, when it comes to mean, Daddy Donald is the reigning queen. On the campaign trail, he mocked Marco Rubio’s physical stature – repeatedly calling him “Little Marco” – and then had the audacity to claim that Rubio was “a very nasty guy.” With Carly Fiorina, he also attacked her physical appearance, saying: “‘Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” Of Lindsey Graham, he said: “He’s one of the dumbest human beings I have ever seen.” He repeatedly called Ted Cruz a liar, which is pretty ironic considering Trump’s chronic disengagement from the truth. He said that Rand Paul “reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain” (again, quite ironic coming from Trump). He compared Ben Carson, who he appointed as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to a child molester. And for John Kasich, who I thought was the strongest candidate of the bunch, the best he could come up with was: “I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion.”
Classy, huh? Certainly not a mean guy, right? And all this after publicly heckling President Obama for nearly a decade.
So please drop the “daddy’s a victim” crap and your whining routine about the rough and tumble of political rhetoric in Washington, DC. Trump and his band of bullies have bulldozed the competition in that category. And that goes for the rest of you right-wing hypocrites as well. It’s as disingenuous as all these nonsensical claims from Republican politicians and conservative pundits who, after eight year of obstruction, insults, and threats during the Obama administration, suddenly want the other side to keep their mouths shuts and let them do whatever they want while they’re in the White House, with no questions – let alone opposition – allowed.
It’s right to condemn this senseless act of violence. But if you want to figure out where all the anger and hatred comes from, Trump, his children, and his political minions across the country need to look no further than the mirror.