I wish I could say that this was going to be short and sweet. Unfortunately — because humanity is becoming more and more adept at proving itself a sentient, real-world Mos Eisley, “a wretched hive of scum and villainy” — all I can say is that this is going to be short. Not “deadline looms and I have to bang out a few hundred words on my fifth glass of Malbec” short; brevity, in this case, owes to the sheer inability of myself, or anyone else, to sufficiently offer commentary on what has gone down over the past several days with Donald Trump and his supporters.
Just read this BS (courtesy Business Insider):
“During a Sunday morning interview, real estate mogul Donald Trump expressed support for his fans who… punched and kicked a heckler the day before at a presidential campaign rally.”
“CNN reported that at a Saturday Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, a [black] man wearing a Black Lives Matter T-Shirt was punched and kicked by attendees as he was ejected for heckling the candidate.”
Okay, time out. Heckling, jeering and subsequent removal from the premises is pretty par for the course at political events; it’s part and parcel for the protesters themselves; in fact, they count on the visibility to bring more attention to their cause. And not often, but occasionally, supporters of the candidate whom the protester was targeting get way, way out of hand, but the candidate at least deigns to act like a decent human being and denounce the violence. Nope, not #trump2016:
“After his ‘Fox and Friends’ interview referred to the incident as the man being ‘roughed up,’ Trump said ‘Roughed up? I don’t know, maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
Even if what the man was doing was disgusting — and it wasn’t; Trump has repeatedly made derogatory, inflammatory and flat-out untrue remarks about African-Americans, Hispanics and, as of late, Muslims — this is no way to respond. Freedom of speech — something that far-right nuts like the Westboro Baptist Church love to toss about when they vomit up their hateful, fascist rhetoric — is so valuable in this country because not only are we guaranteed, by law, the right to protest, but we are guaranteed protection from physical harm if the protest is peaceful. Was this protest perhaps annoying to the candidate and those in attendance? Sure. But peaceful? Yes.
But wait, there’s more (courtesy Think Progress):
“A pair of siblings in Boston, Massachusetts targeted and ambushed a 58-year-old homeless Latino man because one brother was ‘inspired in part’ by 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
“The victim told police that “he was awakened by two men urinating on his face. He said they ripped away his sleeping bag and blankets, hit him in the face and head, and punched him several times.”
So, okay, but Trump wasn’t there. He didn’t actually attack the guy. And you’d think that, given the volatile nature of race relations in this country and, let’s be real, the fact that whoever wins the actual race next year has got to appeal, at least in part, to the Hispanic, African-American and Muslim communities, Trump would automatically denounce the attacks. You’d think that. Per Trump:
“I would say that people who are following me are very passionate.”
Sweet buggering hell. That’s like saying the 9/11 terrorists were “motivated,” or that the Nazis were “thorough.”
Let’s be clear: the people who actually committed these violent crimes should be locked up for the appropriate amount of time and read the riot act. But scarier aspect of this is that Trump, a man who, for whatever reason, a large portion of the GOP base takes seriously as a politician and presidential candidate, sees this horrific BS happen in his name, and can only muster up a “Meh.”
I realize that, at this point in the last election cycle, we were all wringing our hands about what a Bachmann, Cain or Santorum nomination might mean for the future of our country, and those lunatics got bounced from the primaries with the quickness. But with every passing election, the GOP side of things just feels meaner, and more enabled in its outlandish rhetoric, thinly veiled bigotry and tacit enabling of its more militant factions.
Someone like Cruz, Rubio or Bush will probably swoop in in a few months and put this thing to rest; probably. Regardless, in looking at the state of our country, we are confronted with, if the elections were held now, the possibility of a racist, grandstanding, fascist, 100 percent unqualified individual to nab the nomination for one of America’s two dominant parties. And, because people are so politically stubborn, many, many, many voters would back him by default.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: when half-assed political bloggers have to point out that maybe it’s not okay for presidential candidates to enable people who go around beating up the homeless for kicks, maybe we should just let the machines kill us already.