[guest post by Dana]
Rant: I know I’ve written about this before but I’m going to say it again: One of the more disturbing demonstrations of our rapid descent into the politicization of human tragedy happens after a terror attack takes happens and before we know who is responsible. It’s as if both sides of the political aisle wait with bated breath, hoping that one of their own isn’t responsible for the devastation. It’s a sick mindset, this putting politics before humanity. Anyway, in the aftermath of Dayton and El Paso, we are seeing it happen again. Those on the Left are relieved, and yet outraged at the Right that a white nationalist was responsible for the deaths in El Paso. Those on the Right are relieved, and yet outraged at the Left that the Dayton shooter was a self-proclaimed socialist who favored Elizabeth Warren. And on top of these reactions, there is an even grosser reaction by the politicians and media: how to most effectively capitalize on the tragedies. The intentional killings are almost immediately seen as an opportunity to push policies and agendas. This as they know they will have several news cycle’s worth of material with which to work. And there’s an important election around the corner. It’s disgusting.
With that, I read these two editorials and thought I’d pass them along to you because both are worth your time.
First, “Trump Must Name The Evil” from the Washington Examiner:
You could call the killer who shot up a Walmart in El Paso evil, a madman, or a lone wolf, if you like. But it would be an intolerable omission if we did not also call him a white nationalist terrorist. This ideology is a growing sickness in America, and President Trump has a duty to thoroughly and roundly denounce it.
Trump ought to use the bully pulpit to become a leading crusader against white nationalism and racism. These mindsets are immoral and they threaten everything that makes America great. Some conservatives and Republicans have hesitated to acknowledge that this a growing scourge, but after El Paso any such reluctance is unacceptable.
The shooter is a white man from Dallas who traveled to El Paso so he could murder as many “Mexicans” as possible. He targeted Mexicans and Mexican-Americans because he held a vision of America as a white nation.
The vision, while un-American and non-conservative, is wedded to an ideology. And just as conservatives regularly call on our leaders to name and condemn the evil of radical Islamic terror when it is behind shootings and bombings, we call on Trump to name and condemn the evil of white nationalism.
A majority of domestic terrorism cases are motivated by white supremacism, according to Christopher Wray, the man Trump has put in charge of the FBI. So why hasn’t Trump spoken out against our leading source of domestic terrorism?
There are many possible explanations, but we suspect part of it is the same reason he has failed to acknowledge and condemn Russian interference in our election and other Russian misdeeds. When the media and the Democrats use some real evil as a cudgel for attacking Trump, his instinct seems to be to deny the evil rather than to dissociate himself from it.
Trump should deliver a prime-time speech as soon as possible that names the evil at play here and denounces it. He has on Twitter rightly condemned the actions in El Paso. Now he needs to face the cameras, address the nation, and condemn the motivation. Trump needs to make clear that he hates white nationalism as something un-American and evil. And he ought not dilute this attack by talking again about “many” or “both” sides, by offering up nonconstructive criticisms of liberals which (intentionally or not) stoke racial tensions, or any other such distraction.
And “Crush this evil” from National Review:
…[T]he patterns on display over the last few years have revealed that we are contending here not with another “lone wolf,” but with the fruit of a murderous and resurgent ideology — white supremacy — that deserves to be treated by the authorities in the same manner as has been the threat posed by militant Islam.
We will see a myopic focus on guns in the coming days, tied to a broader discussion of America’s “mass shooting problem.” This will be a mistake — not because America does not have such a problem, but because to focus on limiting a certain tool in a country with half a billion of those tools in circulation and a constitutional provision protecting their ownership is to set oneself up for guaranteed failure. In the last decade, we have watched in horror as devastating attacks have been carried out with the help of trucks, cars, bombs, grenades, incendiary devices, matches, and more. The task before us, to nip this grotesque insurgency in the bud, should transcend our debates over means.
Addressing the problem will require a number of different approaches, some broad, some narrow. President Trump, a man who is comfortable using his bully pulpit for the most frivolous of reasons, should take the time to condemn these actions repeatedly and unambiguously, in both general and specific terms. Simultaneously, the president should work with Congress to devote more resources to infiltrating, tracking, and foiling nascent plots (during the 1940s, the KKK was partly destroyed by a radio show that weaponized insider information against it), and he should instruct the federal government to initiate an information campaign against white-supremacist violence in much the same way as it has conducted crusades against drunk driving, human trafficking, and domestic violence. Just as the government must not react to these incidents by abridging the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment, obviously the First Amendment’s crucial protections must also remain intact. But where action is consistent with the law — there is no prohibition on monitoring hotbeds of radicalism, nor against punishing those who plan or incite violence — it must be vigorously taken.
Now, as ever, evil is evil and murder is murder, and we gain nothing by refusing to call them by their names.
Q: Given everything we know about Trump, do you think he can even name the evil and vigorously condemn it, no holds barred? And if he were to come out with unwavering condemnation directed at a specific group, would it even matter? Or would it be too little too late because the die has been cast by his own actions, and no one is buying what he’s selling?
President Trump is scheduled to make remarks from the White House tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)