If you haven’t already heard, one of Trump’s white male followers was arrested in Michigan for repeatedly calling CNN and promising to kill them for being “fake news”:
“Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down. F‑‑‑ you, f‑‑‑ing n‑‑‑‑‑s.” The caller then clicked off.
Three minutes later, the same caller, dialing from the same number, again rang the CNN line. “I am on my way right now to gun the f‑‑‑in’ CNN cast down. F‑‑‑ you,” the caller said. The operator asked the caller his name. “F‑‑‑ you,” he responded. “I am coming to kill you.”
The would-be assassin also made a series of antisemitic remarks during the 22 different phones calls made over two days. He also called an Islamic Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan and made anti-Muslim remarks (but no death threats that we are aware of). And while there is no mention of anti-Latino or misogynistic language, will anyone be surprised to find out that was part of the threats? This is, after all, Trump-inspired terrorism.
The white male Trump supporter is out on bail (a courtesy that would never have been extended to a Muslim) and the question now becomes: Will Trump supporters care that their violent rhetoric is inspiring terrorism? Will they care when the next time the caller follows through on his threats?
All signs point to no and that’s dangerous.
After the murder of Heather Heyer at Charlottesville, much of the nation was outraged. Not so much among Trump supporters. The hardcore white nationalists, of course, were giddy at the prospect of their long-dreamt of race war finally beginning and practically orgasmic when Trump called them “very fine people” but the ostensibly “good” white Republican voters (because that’s who we’re talking about) shrugged their shoulders and went about their business:
…a new CBS poll released Thursday morning showed a large majority of GOP members even back the president’s response to and handling of the Charlottesville, Virginia, protest, which resulted in the death of one woman and reignited racial tensions throughout the country.
The poll showed 67 percent of Republicans approved of Trump’s response, compared with 82 percent of Democrats disapproving and 55 percent of respondents overall claiming disapproval.
Mind you, this was the President of the United States tacitly endorsing rioting neo-Nazis that resulted in the murder of a young woman.
They just didn’t care.
Sooner or later, Trump’s (along with Fox News, AM Hate Radio and right wing hate sites) constant attacks on the media as an enemy of the people will result in actual violence. This kind of stochastic terrorism is a mainstay of right wing rhetoric and a precursor to the autocratic oppression Trump so clearly desires. Nothing keeps the hands of a dictator clean like having the people silence your political enemies for you.
One of my teachers at Columbia was Joseph Brodsky, who’s a Russian poet, wonderful, amazing poet, who was exiled from the Soviet Union for being a poet. And he said look, he said, you Americans, you are so naïve. You think evil is going to come into your houses wearing big black boots. It doesn’t come like that. Look at the language. It begins in the language.
– Marie Howe, Poet
We’re a ways off from Brown Shirts in the streets because Trump just isn’t that smart but the total indifference of the white Republican voter to the growing violence of their movement means that when a smarter monster comes along, they’ll be more than happy to just follow orders.
Our best hope for stopping that from happening is to strip them of their power and keep them out of office until they learn how to behave like human beings again.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.