In my last blog, I wrote about liberal mob attacks on conservatives speaking at college campuses and eating in cafes and simply being conservative. In response, a reader asked for my thoughts on the murderer who killed 11 Jewish worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue and the Trump supporter who sent mail bombs to Democratic leaders and critics of Trump.
The synagogue shooting was horrific, and the mail bombings were outrageous. Unfortunately, there are crazy people out there – and neither left nor right has a monopoly on lunatics who do awful things. Lone-wolf crazies come from both sides.
The liberal mobs, in contrast, are a sad phenomenon unique to the left. The mobs, with the support of the media, academia and Democratic politicians, are a concerted effort by many liberals to intimidate conservatives, to harass them into silence. As I asked in my blog, where are the conservative mobs doing that to liberals? (Eventually, I am sure, there will be retaliatory conservative mob actions. That is how these sorts of things escalate.)
But, as I say, lone-wolf crazies emerge from both the left and the right. And neither side should be blamed for their actions. Trump and Republicans are no more to blame for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter than Barack Obama and Democrats were to blame for the murderous attacks on a synagogue in Overland, Kansas, in 2014. Jews have experienced horrific anti-Semitic attacks, pogroms, genocidal policies and discrimination for thousands of years; this latest attack did not spring out of Donald Trump’s 20-month-old presidency. The synagogue shooter wasn’t even a Trump fan, condemning Trump as a “globalist.”
And Republicans are no more responsible for Cesar Sayoc’s mail-bomb attacks than Democrats are responsible for James Hodgkinson, the Bernie Sanders supporter who opened fire on Republican congressmen warming up for a softball game in a park in Alexandria, Virginia, wounding Republican Congressman Steve Scalise and 3 others.
I have to point out that while the media largely downplayed any connection between Hodgkinson’s support for Democratic policies and his attack on Republicans, it is treating Sayoc’s support of Trump as integral to his violence. “[T]he fact that the alleged bomber Cesar Sayoc had a strong identification with Trump and his partisan message is not a coincidence,” according to an article in New York Magazine. “The Republican Party encompasses an extremist fringe that nurtures violence in a way the Democratic Party does not.” (Hodgkinson’s attack was not mentioned in the article.)
It is amazing that both sides can be so adamant that “partisan” language motivates the nut-cases on the other side, but never the nut-cases on their own side. The truth is that both parties go too far in trying to “fire up” their base, and both do it by scare tactics and exaggeration.
So it would not hurt if both sides toned it down. While Democrats are not responsible for James Hodgkinson . . . Hodgkinson seems to have believed he was shooting at racist, homophobic, anti-women white supremacists. And while Republicans are not to blame for Cesar Sayoc . . . Sayoc seems to have believed he was sending bombs to freedom-stealing, dependency-creating subversives who hate America.
Democrats and Republicans should both try harder to talk about the issues rather than impugn the motives of the other side. Both sides need to stop appealing to emotion. Both need to speak and act more responsibly.