The Jury Talks Back

10/19/2018

Politics Today: Incendiary Rhetoric And Where It Leads

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 3:05 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Two GOP candidates running for office in Minnesota were reportedly the victims of physical assault:

…Sarah Anderson was punched in the arm after spotting a man destroying Republican yard signs. She said the attack left her scared, and her attacker only desisted when she fled to her car and threw it in reverse.

“It was just insane. He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don’t you go kill yourself?'” Anderson told the Washington Free Beacon. “To have someone physically coming after you and attacking you is just disheartening.”

The Plymouth Police Department investigation into Rep. Anderson’s alleged assault remains ongoing. A spokeswoman confirmed the department had identified a suspect, but declined further comment.

And:

First-time state representative candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after getting sucker punched while speaking with constituents at a restaurant in Benton County. Mekeland told the Free Beacon he has suffered memory loss—forgetting Rep. Anderson’s name at one point in the interview—and doctors tell him he will have a four-to-six week recovery time ahead of him. He said he was cold cocked while sitting at a high top table at a local eatery and hit his head on the floor.

“I was so overtaken by surprise and shock and if this is the new norm, this is not what I signed up for,” he said.

This comes after the Minnesota Democratic Party suspended a spokesman who posted on Facebook that Democrats would bring Republicans to the guillotine:

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has suspended communications staffer William Davis for one week without pay after making a Facebook post joking that Democrats would “bring [Republicans] to the guillotine” on Nov. 7, the day after the midterm elections. Minnesota Republican Party chairman Jennifer Carnahan said the suspension was not enough, calling for his immediate firing in the aftermath of separate attacks against Republican candidates. She said she has been subjected to numerous death threats during her tenure as the state party leader and that death threats are no laughing matter.

“The overt hatred and violence that has become prevalent from many Democrats towards Republicans in recent times is unlawful, unacceptable, and downright scary,” she said in an email. “Yes, we have free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but these words and actions by the left have gone too far. … He should have been terminated immediately.”

This also came days before a Democratic operative was arrested and charged with battery against a GOP campaign manager in Nevada:

Wilfred M. Stark III, who goes by Mike, was arrested Tuesday evening in Las Vegas, after Laxalt campaign manager Kristin Davison accused him of grabbing and yanking her arm and refusing to let go. Las Vegas City Marshals arrested Stark, who was later released.

Stark, who was a reporter for American Bridge 21st Century, was fired Wednesday night in the wake of the incident. A statement from the David Brock-founded organization said that “an incident with a member of Adam Laxalt’s campaign” had taken place, and “one of our employees” had been relieved of his duties “effective immediately.” The statement did not identify Stark or Davison.

Fox News is told that during the arrest, Stark explained to police that this was “his job” and he “does this for a living.”

Recently, Democratic notables have called on party members to be pro-active in their responses to the GOP:

*Eric Holder recently told a group of cheering Democrats that Michelle Obama was wrong with her admonition regarding Republicans, “When they go low, we go high.” Instead, said Holder, “When they go low, we kick them.”

*Rep. Maxine Waters encouraged protesters, “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. You push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”

Hillary Clinton jumped into the fray too, having said during a recent interview, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” obviously referring to the GOP.

*Sen. Cory Booker urged crowds to “get up in the face of some congresspeople.”

And so it goes.

Rep. Steve Scalise, who was one of four people shot at a baseball field in Virginia, wrote about his concerns regarding the escalating violence against GOP politicians. In the op-ed, he also listed the GOP legislators (and their spouses) who have been the recipients of aggressive and unlawful tactics:

The threats and the violence have not let up and instead of seeing my Democrat colleagues calling for an end, there have been calls for their supporters to keep going, to do even more to threaten Republicans.

In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation.

As a survivor of a politically motivated attack, it is tragic to think this is an acceptable state of political discourse in our country. I refuse to stand for this and I will continue to call for an end to it. A healthy, strong democracy is not possible if anyone lives in fear of expressing their views.

If this is going to stop, it must start with Democratic leaders, who need to condemn, rather than promote these dangerous calls to action.

In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation. While it’s clear many Democrats refuse to accept the election of President Trump, if they want change, they need to convince people with their ideas and actually win elections, rather than call for violent resistance, harassment, and mob rule.

Here is Scalise’s list:

*Ashley Kavanaugh, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s wife and his daughters received multiple credible threats.

*Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., received such a threatening phone call that the man has now been indicted.

*Jamie Gardner, wife of Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., wife, received a text of a beheading after the vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh.

*Several Republican Senators had their personal information, including home addresses, posted to Wikipedia for threatening purposes by a Democrat House staffer.

*Congressman Clay Higgins (R-La.) received threatening phone calls that led to a man’s arrest.

*Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kent., and his wife Kelly Paul have both received credible threats that have led to arrests.

*Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife, as well as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, were chased out of restaurants.

*Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted by protesters and harassed out of a DC restaurant.

*Rudy Peters, a Republican California Congressional candidate, was nearly stabbed while campaigning.

Obviously, this is wrong. Nobody should be threatening harm to anyone, and certainly elected officials should not be encouraging it in any way, shape or form. All of which makes it even more ridiculous that instead of a hands-down, non-stop condemnation of the overheated rhetoric fueling the fires of violence, there is a moronic “national conversation” currently taking place about what constitutes a “mob”. Seriously. When people are having their lives threatened with harm, or worse, have had those threats come to pass, shouldn’t insipid gasbags with a mic and a national platform be emphatically condemning the behavior rather than arguing over whether “mob” is a Republican talking point? Stop wasting my time quibbling about such absurdities. We have already suffered through the even more asinine accusation of Big Media that some targets on a political map were linked to the shooting of a congresswoman. All this sort of crap does is reinforce the pathetic state of partisan politics in 2018 and demonstrates a lack of seriousness about the putrid mess in which we currently find ourselves wading.

Protest, fine. Let your voice be heard, great. Call yourself a mob or a protester or whatever it is that floats your boat. But threatening your political opponents, physically assaulting or harassing them, doxxing or “getting in the face” of an individual is just wrong. Always. We all used to know that. We all used to believe that. We all used to agree with that. It’s what separated the civilized from the uncivilized. It was a commonly shared belief based on common values – in spite of our political differences. What has to be so broken with our political system a people that a clear consensus about this can can no longer be had? While Clinton, Holder, Booker and Waters might defend their comments, walk them back, make efforts to clarify, etc., the problem is, they already uttered the instructive words out loud. And there are simply too many frustrated, angry nutjobs just waiting for that nudge, that permission to do harm. Words matter. Especially if they come from political leaders.

But. Lest one believe that this encouragement of violence only comes from the left side of the aisle, let’s keep it real and be honest as we remember what the current occupant of the White House said in his efforts to become the next President of the United States, as well as remember his failure to immediately and forcefully condemn those whose behavior obviously demanded it . Moreover, just last night, before a cheering crowd, the same leader of the free world intentionally praised GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte in light of his assault on reporter Ben Jacobs as a rallying cry:

“Never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type! … I shouldn’t say that. You know, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” I had heard that he bodyslammed a reporter. And he was way up. And he was way up, and I said, oh this is the day of the election or just before, and I said, “Oh this is terrible, he’s going to lose the election.”

Surprisingly – or unsurprisingly, depending where you land on the cynic’s scale – the same Steve Scalise, whose words I just quoted above, “In America, we win battles at the ballot box, not through mob rule or intimidation. As a survivor of a politically motivated attack, it is tragic to think this is an acceptable state of political discourse in our country,” defended the president’s positive take on Gianforte:

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(I’m torn here. Because Scalise suffered a very serious injury at the hands of a deranged Bernie supporter with a gun, it was pretty clear that the media wasn’t terribly interested in it, so that makes me think he deserves a pass on this. And yet….)

Bottom line: no one has clean hands in this age of incivility. But the tribe you belong to or identify with should not determine your response to it. You do not need any of these professional idiots condescendingly telling you what is and isn’t acceptable, or what is and isn’t justified. You already know. Good and decent people simply condemn the behavior, loudly, and without hesitation. No matter from which side of the aisle it comes. The worst thing any of us could do would be to laugh away, or deny the incendiary rhetoric and unacceptable behavior because we believe that party loyalty supersedes everything else. Even our principles. All of it needs to be condemned, from beginning to end, no matter from whose mouth the words come, no matter at whose hands the violence occurs. And most importantly, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office.

[Pre-emptive strike: Proud Boys and Antifa are despicable groups and should be universally condemned. There should be no quarter given. That’s true even if these fringe dwellers are part of your tribe. This is a no-brainer. ]

–Dana

1 Comment »

  1. It wasn’t a funny joke and it makes it hard to take Scalise seriously that he does not see the similarity.

    Comment by DRJ — 10/19/2018 @ 5:35 pm

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