Monday, June 19, 2017

My Two Cents: The Call For Unity After Last Week's Shooting

Six years ago, Jared Lee Loughner, a lunatic with a gun—because this is America and lunatics can have guns—tried to kill Representative Gabby Giffords; he failed, but did manage to kill six other people.

Last Wednesday, James Hodgkinson, another lunatic with a gun—because ... America and guns—shot at several members of Congress who were playing baseball; Representative Steve Scalise was seriously injured, as were several others.

After each event both sides of Congress called for unity, though not for stricter gun laws—because ... America ... guns—and, well, it didn’t last long either time.

See, rather than unity, rather than trying to get along, rather than trying to keep Americans safe on the streets, in the mall, in the movie theaters, in the schools, on a baseball field, many in the Republican party, many on the Right, began talking about the “dangerous” rhetoric that led Hodgkinson to start shooting last week.

Conservatives were quick to point out that James Hodgkinson was :::gasp::: a liberal and so that is clearly why he began shooting; they reveled in the news that Hodgkinson posted about his hatred Republicans on social media; they smiled and talked about how he was a Bernie supporter, as though Bernie Sanders were somehow responsible for the fact that a man who’d been accused of domestic violence still had a gun, about how a man stood in his yard firing round after round into the sky until police arrived and told him to stop, but never had his gun taken from him. It wasn’t the weapon and the fact that this man had access to more than one gun and assault rifle, it was the fact that he was a liberal.

And yet after Gabby Giffords, a Democrat, was shot those same conservatives begged for the right to Free Speech, the right to dissent, the right to speak up, and yet now they seem to be on the verge of using this latest shooting as a means for stifling legitimate political dissent, of attacking any speech critical of President _____.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, a man who wouldn’t know the truth if he married it, watched it get cancer, then cheated on it and asked for a divorce, immediately claimed that the attack was part of a “pattern” of hostility from the Left toward the president; he ranted about Kathy Griffin’s moronic severed head stunt, and the fact that there’s a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that depicts a Caesar who looks like a _____ and who is stabbed to death in the play.

Yes, it’s Kathy Griffin and Shakespeare who caused this.

Even Little Donny Jr. took to Twitter to spew the same lunacy about the Shakespeare production, though he never raised his voice one single time when people called the Obama’s apes ... or sent emails about watermelons growing on the White House lawn, or when his own father pushed his racist birther agenda.

See, that’s okay, because it comes from the conservative side, the tribal hypocrites like Newt and the spoiled little boy sucking up to his distant daddy who likes his daughter better.

Naturally, Rush Limbaugh, clearly high on prescription meds, bleated that Hodgkinson was the “personification” of the “deranged base” of the Democratic Party and suggested that the media, federal and Congressional investigations of _____ and his administration were somehow to blame for this violence.

Yes, _____ has ties to Russia; members of his inner circle have ties to Russia; members of his family have ties to Russia; Russia hacked the election; _____ tried to halt the FBI investigation of the hack. But somehow, this is the Democrat’s fault.

Unity? Hardly. And the blood was even dry on the ball field yet.

But it isn’t just wingnuts like Gingrich and Limbaugh, or Little Donny Jr., it was many in the GOP, after calling for unity, who swiftly switched the topic toward “tamping down” rhetoric; you know, that anti-_____ rhetoric. Stop calling for his impeachment; stop saying he’s a Fake President because someone with a gun will come out and start shooting.

Funny, but I don’t think being concerned about a foreign entity interfering in an American election is dangerous; realizing that foreign entities interfered with our elections, and are great friends, allies and business partners with the President, members of his cabinet, members of family, is a real danger.

Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican from Illinois, the day of the shooting:
“We’ve got to ratchet down the rhetoric that we’ve seen, not only on social media, but in the media in our 24-hour news cycle. These are the things that have to stop. This is a result of political rhetorical terrorism.”
It’s terrorism; the go-to word the GOP uses to strike fear in their base.

Rep. Dave Brat, Republican from Virginia, criticized Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for saying, of _____:
"Has he kept his promises? No. F--- no."
But he hasn’t kept his promises. Has he? And since he hasn’t, shouldn’t we be allowed to be pissed off, say we’re pissed off, drop and f-bomb about it? Brat said:
“They’re free to attack his policy, but they should not be attacking him personally, or as a party and raising the verbage.”
But that is exactly what Gillibrand did when she questioned _____’s promises.
Rep. Jack Bergman, Michigan Republican, blamed the media for the shooting:
“I think the media is complicit if they keep inciting as opposed to informing. You need to make sure that you think twice about how your words and inflections and phrases might affect all the people who might see it.”
He told that to Fox News ... and I’ll just let that lie there.

But what should be done? Are these folks on the Right, um, right? Should the press step back and stop publishing stories about the congressional investigations into _____? Should the press debate the credibility gap between _____ and former FBI director James Comey? Should the investigations just stop because the idea of hacking, the idea of collusion, the idea that the president is guilty of obstruction of justice might anger some folks to the point of violence?

Before I go on ... a quick side-rant:
Yes, let’s stop all this and allow the crimes to happen, rather than realize that the main issue is guns, access to guns, and people like shooting victim Steve Scalise, who believe that even people who might have a mental illness have a right to own guns. And let’s tone down the rhetoric because it might give someone who’s a little bent the idea to take their legally purchased gun down to a ball field and open fire. Ban speech to save guns? Is that where this is headed?
And now I’ll return to the scheduled topic ... speech, free speech. Slate columnist Jack Shafer wrote this after the Giffords shooting six years ago:
"Any call to cool 'inflammatory' speech is a call to police all speech, and I can't think of anybody in government, politics, business, or the press that I would trust with that power."
And yet those on the Right want to give the man at the top—who has the loosest, most vicious tongue of all—the power to police speech. And if the idea that someone like Donald _____, who has said things like ...
“I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
“Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife.”
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
“I cherish women. I want to help women. I’m going to be able to do things for women that no other candidate would be able to do.”
Look at that face! Would anyone vote for [Carly Fiorina]? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!”
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
“Donald J. _____ is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of ’em, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell—I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”
“The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment [for women who have abortions].”
“Many of the thugs that attacked the peaceful Trump supporters in San Jose were illegals. They burned the American flag and laughed at police.”
“[Judge Curiel] is a member of a club or society, very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine. But I say he’s got bias. … This judge has treated me very unfairly; he’s treated me in a hostile manner. And there’s something going on.”
“That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack.”
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”
“[Hillary Clinton]’s being so protected. She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching, right smack in the middle of the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted, OK?”
“I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically.”
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything. Grab them by the p***y, you can do anything.”
“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course—not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
“And when [Hillary Clinton] walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.”
... should police speech doesn’t frighten you, nothing ever will.

Look, I agree with the idea of toning down the rhetoric, but demanding the truth when we are faced with the fact that Russia interfered with our election, is not rhetoric; it’s what We The People have a right to know.

And to try and silence those that are sharing the news, the news, not fake news, is a way to silence this country. And the Right seems to want to do that. I mean, how else do we explain the Republican desire to punish those who leak stories about collusion and corruption in the First Family, rather than investigate whether the leaks are true or not?

It is time to stop to flow of ignorance, like what a Kathy Griffin does just to get attention for herself, or what those who staged a Shakespeare play and dressed a character like the President, only to have him brutally stabbed in the piece. That kind of “talk” gets us nowhere; it feeds the base of _____ and the Rightwingnuts; it builds them up, it gets them out to vote, and we end up with election results that are stunning, to say the least.

So, yeah, stop the Hate Speech. There are enough other things this president has done, his family has done, his team has done, to ruin this country, so let’s focus on that.

Let’s talk about that.

At least on the one side, because I truly believe that the GOP’s Tribal Hypocrisy Mentality will never waver and they will cheer _____ while this country burns.

So we shouldn’t let them.



the dogs' mother said...

That's a post and a half, Bob! :-)

anne marie in philly said...


John Gray said...

I dont always understand the nuances of your political blogs but i enjoy reading the

Dave R said...

Bravo!! So well said!!

Professor Chaos said...

After 8 years of their vicious vile slandering of Barack Obama and a quarter-century of smearing Hillary Clinton, to hear them clutching their pearls and asking for a bit of civility is pretty fucking rich. Especially when it comes from the disgusting sewer mouth of Ted Nugent.

Jan B said...

I am really impressed with this post. So well researched and well written. I am a new follower!!

Bob Slatten said...

Thanks Jan! Welcome aboard.

Helen Lashbrook said...

As I understand it people were calling for explanations as to why the shooter hadn't had background checks? Excuse me, but vote against background checks (and opposing 95% of Americans while you are doing it) and you can't expect background checks to magically be retroactive just because someone on your side got shot. I doubt very much that the Repubs were as supportive of Gabby Gifford as they are of Steve Scalise, for whom I do feel sorry as I would for anyone wounded or killed.