Robert Bowers, who frequently posted anti-Semitic threats online, burst into a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27 and opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring six others. Cesar Sayoc, a DJ and former stripper, stands accused of sending 13 pipe bombs through the mail to a range of Democrats and critics of President Trump. These are vile, reprehensible acts.
Trump condemned the shooting in Pittsburgh saying, “This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe, and frankly, something that is unimaginable. Our nation and the world are shocked and stunned by the grief.” He also repudiated Sayoc after his arrest saying, “these terrorizing acts are despicable and have no place in our country.”
These comments from Trump are appropriate and express the sentiment that every American ought to possess. Those who commit unspeakable atrocities ought to be held accountable for those acts. They are responsible for what they do.
In June of 2017, James Hodgkinson opened fire on Republican members of Congress practicing for a charity baseball game. Investigators discovered that Hodgkinson had raged against Trump on his social media sites, and once singled out House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was severely wounded in the attack. Hodgkinson’s act was condemned and, even though he was a supporter of Bernie Sanders, Sanders, himself, was not held responsible.
Ryan Cooper, in a June 14, 2017, article in The Week, summed it up accurately. “Disturbed people with rage problems lash out. There is only one person to blame for the actions of James Hodgkinson, and his name is not Bernie Sanders.”
Now, the Democrats and their media accomplices have abandoned this idea. Rep. Maxine Waters said, “President Donald Trump should take responsibility for the kinds of ‘violence we’re seeing.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, attempting to link Trump to the bomb threat and the murder of a reporter, tweeted, “The unrelenting hatred churned up by Donald Trump for the two years following 2016 is dangerous. A Washington Post columnist is dead and progressive icons are targets of bombs.”
The hypocrisy and outright double standard are evident. What was true with the horrific shooting in June of 2017 is still true today. Those who commit unspeakable acts are responsible for what they do. Period. They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The Democrats and their media allies, driven by their hatred of the president and those who voted for him, want to use these tragic acts as a political tool. It’s possible that this political calculation will backfire in November’s midterm election. The American people, I believe, can distinguish between what is confronting political opponents in the arena of ideas and deciding to commit acts of violence.
There is more to it than just this wrong-headed political calculation. The Democrats and their media cohorts wrongly accuse the president of creating a hostile environment. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post, writes, “It’s not both sides that have taken to encouraging violence; it’s the Republican Party.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Rubin confuses fighting back in the arena of ideas with violence. Trump and his voters overwhelmingly condemn acts of violence. Contrary to what she and her left-wing allies want to believe, we are not racists, xenophobes or murderous people.
She also fails to realize that the hostile political atmosphere that surrounds us originated on the left. Days after the election in November 2016, rioters took the streets of our country protesting a duly elected president. The headline of a USA Today article describes it accurately, “Anti-Trump protests, some violent, erupt for 3rd night nationwide.”
Riots in the streets were not the only thing that greeted the new president. The left and the establishment, with the full-throated support of some in the media, began a dubious investigation of Russian collusion in the election. The first year of the Trump presidency was dogged with this pernicious “investigation.” It has been nearly two years and no evidence has been shown to support this accusation. Investors Business Daily summarizes it well, “it’s pretty clear to anyone being even a little bit honest that this whole thing is a political stink bomb set off by progressive Democrats and their far-left allies in the mainstream media.”
The hostility escalated with the “in your face” confrontations the left employed to intimidate Republican lawmakers or members of the Trump administration. Rude confrontations in restaurants, movie theaters and other public places became common. The furnace of political animosity was stoked even further by the mobs that descended on Washington, D.C. during the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Images of screaming protesters following senators and an angry group of young people pounding of the door of the Supreme Court are vivid reminders of the left’s rage.
Let’s be clear. None of this compares to actual violence. It isn’t violence, and no one should assert that it is. Acts of violence, tragically, are committed by all kinds of people. The Democrats and their media allies are not responsible for the attacks committed by nut cases on the left. However, the same is true for the Republicans. None of them are responsible for the actions of the nuts on the right.
The fact is, contrary to the media’s attempt to rewrite history, the climate of confrontation began on the left. The “resistance” gave birth to the toxic political climate today. President Trump, at his rallies and on social media, confronts the resistance. Unlike others, he doesn’t just take it. In the arena of ideas and words, he fights back.
In a few days the country will have another opportunity to weigh in on the direction of our country. The Democrats have no platform other than opposing President Trump. They employ any means necessary, including wrongly linking tragedy to the president, to accomplish their goal of regaining power. Voters will accept or reject that disingenuous approach.
Bill Thomas is an adjunct instructor in history, Bible and education for two different Christian colleges. He’s authored two novellas, “From the Ashes” and “The Sixty-first Minute” published by White Feather Press of Michigan.
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