Steve Scalise is watching, Don.
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 30, 2018
What was he supposed to say? He’s hosting a show on a network whose biggest fans are hardcore Democrats.
Lemon forgetting last year’s attempt at mass murder and then glossing over it and moving on after he was reminded of it (“that’s not right”) is the wider media reaction to the James Hodgkinson episode in microcosm: It’s worth noting half-heartedly but there are certainly no lessons to be learned from it that make it worth dwelling on. When a left-wing nut acts, he acts alone. When a right-wing nut acts, the right acts in concert — and not just in the Trump era, with the demagogue-in-chief hooting things that are starting to creep out even his pals at “Fox & Friends.” Gabby Giffords’s shooter wasn’t right-wing but the media wanted him to be with such passion that people at the New York Times and Washington Post are prone to mistaking his motives even now, seven years later. Their priors make it inevitable: The left’s ideology is virtuous, the right’s is vicious, therefore vicious political acts committed by members can only truly be called representative when they come from one side.
Here’s something floating around the news wires today from actor James Cromwell, a progressive activist in his spare time:
Speaking to Variety at the event, he warned of the turn that he sees America taking and cautioned there will be “blood in the streets” if Republicans remain in control.
“This is nascent fascism. We always had a turnkey, totalitarian state — all we needed was an excuse, and all the institutions were in place to turn this into pure fascism,” Cromwell said. “If we don’t stop [President Trump] now, then we will have a revolution for real. Then there will be blood in the streets.”
If and when there’s another Hodgkinson, that’s how he’ll frame his attack. Political violence is wrong under normal circumstances but we’re not in normal circumstances. At a certain point, stopping “fascism” by any means necessary become not just morally acceptable but obligatory. If that means picking off Republican congressmen with a rifle or cheering on Antifa or in due time reviving the Weather Underground to disrupt Trump’s “pure fascism” then that’s what it means. (As is always the case with violent left-wing outfits, Antifa has already acquired some intellectual apologists.) Lemon’s claim that left-wingers don’t resort to violence bothers me less than the implication that remarks like this inevitably carry, that left-wingers just aren’t capable of it the way right-wingers are. They’re too moral. The Good People don’t behave this way. Until they have to.
Karol Markowicz makes a smart, often overlooked point about assignments of collective responsibility after terrible crimes like the attack on Giffords:
It doesn’t end with just Trump or Palin or whichever Republican official. It inevitably trickles down to blaming their supporters and then just anyone who doesn’t align with one particular political side…
The message is always: You’re not part of this. We’re upset and we’re angry. You don’t have a right to be…
In the aftermath of terrible events, there are calls for unity, calls for Americans to come together. For Republicans, it’s always except you. Those on the left purposely pushing their political agenda in moments of national grief should be held accountable. Their divisiveness stops us from healing after tragedies. Political shots shouldn’t be worth it.
What better way to help America “heal,” though, than by leveraging people’s emotions to promote the left and marginalize the right? That’s how Lemon and most of the media approach this, I think. They’re trying to find a virtuous outcome from a moment of savage viciousness and that begins and ends with sidelining the people who are ruining the country. “Unity” is as vacuous and pro forma a concept as “thoughts and prayers.” If you want to make the world a better place, it starts with stopping the Bad People. And the worse they are, the more forceful you’ll need to be.
.@donlemon was so disingenuous during this segment and basically dismissed the shooting that nearly killed Scalise and several other Congressmen because nobody actually died when talking about violence on both sides. pic.twitter.com/7ABqpvOatf
— Cameron Cawthorne (@Cam_Cawthorne) October 30, 2018