One of the enduring ironies of the right's constant fear-mongering for the last 16 years is that it's built up our national immunity to terrorism. Yes, we still feel anger and fear when a religious fanatic kills 8 people on a crowded street in New York City, but it doesn't trigger the mass hysteria we would have seen in, say, 2003.
This is why Trump's obvious (and painfully desperate) hope that blaming Tuesday's terrorist attack in Manhattan on the Democrats will distract the country from Robert Mueller's investigation is not a sound plan. At best, he'll get a few days of relief before the news cycle moves on. At worst, he'll over-tweet, as he is wont to do, and fatally undermine his case for a travel ban by making it clear how much it's unconstitutionally motivated by animus against Islam.
He's already started:
On a side note: It sure was nice of Fox News to feed talking points to the President of the United States. That is surely what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they enshrined a free press in the Constitution: A propaganda outlet owned by oligarchs controlling a puppet president too stupid to think for himself.
Still, it's not difficult to imagine the relief Trump felt last night upon hearing the news of the attack. Anything to get the press to stop talking about the arrest of Manafort, Gates and that little traitor Papadopoulos. It's even less difficult to imagine Trump gleefully typing out his attack on Schumer the "Globalist" (read as: "Jew") this morning, knowing his white nationalist followers would hang on every tweet.
But while Fox New, AM Hate Radio, Republicans and right wing websites will conspicuously rend their garments over this just as conspicuously as they were silent over Las Vegas, it's simply not going to rattle the country all that much. First, this happened in New York City, site of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Eight people dead is terrible but it's not the same degree of trauma and that's speaking as someone who lived in NYC on 9/11 and saw the smoke from Ground Zero.
To put it in perspective, the terrorist attack in Las Vegas was just one month ago, had 6 times as many fatalities, hundreds more injured and we hardly talk about it already. Our tolerance for violence is set fairly high these days. Whether that's good or bad is up for debate but it is what it is for now.
Second, Republicans really have numbed us to fear to a large extent. The Bush administration used a color coded threat level chart to manipulate the public for years, including right before the 2004 election:
At the same time, the right has been constantly bleating that terrorists are everywhere, all the time, just waiting to jump into a van and speed off to strike. Or rob your house in broad daylight. Or...something.
Yeah, don't think too hard about what the point of that campaign ad is, just be afraid. Be afraid, damn you!
But that's the problem, isn't it? If you're afraid all the time, and if you're a conservative, you probably are, it's difficult to be more afraid when terrorists attack. Angry? Yes. More afraid? Eh, not so much. For everyone else, it's just a part of our lives now, like school shootings. Not for nothing, we've been conditioned to passively accept that we cannot prevent tragedies like Las Vegas and Sandy Hook, how are we supposed to believe we can stop all terrorist attacks?
That's not a very good argument for doing nothing but it is the dynamic the right has forced the country to accept in all instances where government regulations would effect positive change. The silver lining is that relatively small scale events like the Manhattan attack are worthless to Trump as a political tool. Not that he won't try, of course, but it won't gain any traction outside of the right wing bubble. Maybe the GOP will shut down the diversity visa program started under George H.W. Bush and claim it as a victory but no one will remember that for more than two seconds after the next bit of information in Mueller's investigation is revealed.
Then Trump will be right back where he was: Flailing about, looking for a way to escape the walls slowly closing in on him and his criminal presidency.
UPDATE: Trump is painfully predictable - Trump calls on Congress to end immigration lottery program following terror attack in New York
There are 5 days left to the the 2017 elections.
There are 370 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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