[guest post by Dana]
This low-hanging fruit is an important reminder to non-MAGA Republicans: This is today’s Republican Party. MAGA Republicans know that these attacks will play well with their base. And that’s precisely the point.
As you are certainly aware by now, actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun (or perhaps real gun) on the set of his new movie after he had been told that it was a “cold gun” (no live rounds), subsequently killing the film’s director of photography and injuring the director. Pouncing on the horrific film set tragedy to score MAGA points, these t-shirts are currently being sold on Donald Trump Jr.’s website:
And then there’s this from Rep. Lauren Boebert, who tweeted just hours after the announcement of the incident:
.@AlecBaldwin are these still available?
Asking for a movie producer… pic.twitter.com/AeE5VHLhqN
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) October 22, 2021
J.D. Vance, currently an Ohio candidate for the US Senate, also jumped on the bandwagon. (The capitulation of Vance to Trumpism has been especially disappointing.)
Dear @jack let Trump back on. We need Alec Baldwin tweets.
— J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) October 22, 2021
So, you get the picture. In the name of payback and scoring political points, MAGA Republicans are roundly attacking a celebrity who accidentally shot and killed an individual all because he is fiercely anti-Trump and equally fierce in his advocacy for gun control.
Once upon a time, there would have been an outcry against those exploiting a tragedy like this for their own gain, or their tribe’s gain. Instead, such an incident would have elicited sympathy for all parties involved. But those days are long gone. Social media has made it incredibly easy to shed civility and basic good manners. In the name of politics (and vengeance on behalf of one’s tribe), compassion is now for losers. When tragedy strikes, an obligatory pounce by one or the other side of the aisle is commonplace. Does anyone even cringe at the vulgarity? Polarization and tribal allegiances have begotten a cheapened people, a crass people, and a people who believe that common decency is to be mocked. And the worst part of it all is the bleating attempt to justify such behavior. I think the word I’m looking for is reprehensible.