facebook_pixel

The First Shots Have Been Fired in the War Against Trump

Two weeks ago I warned of how the Dump Trump hysteria could easily turn violent. In How Trumphobia Could Lead to Widespread Civil Disobedience – Or Worse, I postulated that the anti-Trump movement has become so widespread and politically correct that it was already leading to civil disobedience that would ultimately manifest itself in violence. Now it appears the first shots have been fired in the war against Trump.

This is another one of those situations where I really hoped to be wrong. But the trend has been too obvious. Since November 9, the day after the 2016 election, the mainstream media has been saturated with anti-Trump hysteria. What’s both ironic and unfair is that the attacks were launched before Trump was even in the White House, and had a chance to prove his detractors’ suspicions. Whether it’s the news media, entertainers or talk show hosts, all have been doing their level best to fuel the war against Trump.

But last week the Dump Trump movement did become violent, as an apparently disgruntled man with a declared political agenda, set his sights on a charitable baseball game and quite literally went hunting for Republicans.

Given the anti-Trump media hysteria, should we have expected a different outcome? Now our best hope is that this madness doesn’t multiply and turn into something that could get much worse than any of us assume. Let’s project that possibility, and use it as a strong argument in favor of dialing back the tension. Though it may seem that this man acted alone, the truth is that he was egged on by legions of famous faces who have declared at least a verbal war against Trump.

Taking Up Arms for “the Cause”

If you’re a Democrat, or Democratic sympathizer, you’re probably dismissing the shooter as a simple nut job, the kind who perpetrate random acts of violence for who knows why. I think we all know that there’s something more going on here.

Not surprisingly, the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, had a strong Left wing orientation, or at least a pronounced anti-Republican position. He’s been described as having ”expressed fervent opposition to the Republican Party and called for higher taxes on the rich, in statements on social media and letters to a local newspaper”. He also reportedly volunteered for the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders.

Hodgkinson is also reported to have had a now defunct Facebook page that expressed serious disdain for Donald Trump. The page apparently posted “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.,” back in March, and linked to a petition calling for Trump’s impeachment “and or legal removal.”

At a minimum, there’s no question about this man’s political allegiance.

In hindsight, it’s not hard to identify Hodgkinson as an anti-Trump fanatic. It’s also not a stretch to speculate that this guy probably didn’t believe that he could get to Trump, so he started his own proxy war by going after a group of Republicans. Perhaps he even had delusions of grandeur, believing that his act of slaughter would be hailed as an act of courage against a despicable leader, that would unleash a wave of violent but noble resistance.

It may even be possible that Hodgkinson saw himself as a martyr in the war against Trump, but considered it to be a price he was willing to pay. Though we normally think of martyrdom in connection with religion, it’s at least as common when it comes to politics.

Hodgkinson is a By Product of the War on Trump

Of late, we’ve had “comedian” Kathy Griffin making a video in which she holds up the mask of Donald Trump’s bloody severed head. Implication: decapitation.

Then there’s the ongoing saga of the Public Theater presentation of Julius Caesar in New York City played by a Donald Trump lookalike. We all know what happened to Julius Caesar – assassination by a group of Roman senators. Implication: political assassination.

Of course, the news media spin on the story focuses mostly on the fact that the play has been plagued by right-wing protesters, mostly ignoring the obvious implication. To their credit, both Delta and Bank of America have withdrawn their sponsorship of the play, and perhaps the theater itself. We actually need more of that kind of reaction. After all, you can’t claim to be against violence when you’re supporting its advocacy financially.

Again, the anti-Trump crowd will refuse to make the connection. But we all know that right now there are thousands of people walking the streets, teetering on the edge of sanity. If they get too many definitive signals from the popular culture, it can push them over the edge into doing exactly what Hodgkinson did.

We have a parallel example in the recent case of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts teenager who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Her guilt was supported by text messages sent to her then boyfriend, urging him to go through with his planned suicide. No, Carter didn’t kill her boyfriend. But she did encourage him to take his own life.

The bloody head of a Donald Trump look-a-like? Donald Trump as the intended-to-be-assassinated Julius Caesar? The media will of course give themselves a pass, claiming the mantle of free speech. But as citizens, shouldn’t we connect the dots?

If we don’t, we risk getting more of the same.

What if the Right Starts Shooting Back?

This is where the situation can devolve into something infinitely uglier. One of the inherent problems with violence is that it’s usually met by violence from the opposite side. Worse, the initial act of violence is matched with an even grander display.

At some point, another would-be anti-Trump martyr, or group of martyrs, may carry out another act of violence. That will be bad enough. But if Trump supporters decide to respond in kind, a conflict can develop that can escalate.

Let’s not forget that the James Hodgkinson shooting rampage isn’t actually the first violent political clash of the Trump era. We’ve already witnessed open conflict, including the clash between Trump supporters and “counter protesters” in Berkeley, California, last April. That turned violent, and involved the use of an assortment of weapons that fell just short of guns. Fortunately, no one was killed in that exchange, but several were injured, and 21 were arrested.

It’s time to face the fact that the situation in America right now is extremely tense. You may not notice it (or want to notice it) if life is treating you well and you’re comfortable. But millions of your fellow citizens are struggling to survive every day. Many of them are angry, but don’t know what they’re specifically angry about.

In that environment, politics becomes a convenient divining rod. Our society has become extremely complex, making identification of problems painfully difficult, and solutions elusive. People respond by learning to live with nagging pain at deep levels. But we all know what happens with boiling kettles – sooner or later the lid blows off. We’re at risk of that right now.

But “It Can’t Happen Here”, Right?

Don’t discount this observation. Millions of people are addicted to narcotics, both illegal and prescription, as well as alcohol. And despite the proudly proclaimed low official unemployment rate, millions are no better than marginally employed. Many are also turning to petty crime in order to survive, or perhaps even to make a statement.

Meanwhile, the criminal justice system has become a revolving door through which millions have passed. And as many have called for society to get “tough on crime” we have succeeded in creating a permanent criminal class, in which millions of ex-cons are forever cast out of the mainstream system. No one’s figured out what to do about that, nor is it even discussed in public.

In short, our society has become a powder keg. A seemingly small event may be all it will take to cause a widespread release of pent-up anger that won’t bring us to a better place.

Some have even speculated that James Hodgkinson’s violent outburst represents the first shots fired in the second American civil war. That may sound like an exaggeration today – or at least we hope – but once shots are fired, there’s no telling where it will lead.

One of the most myopic beliefs here in America is that “it can’t happen here”. That’s whatever “it” is. Invasions, civil wars, pandemics, and economic and political collapse are sad events that are widely believed to only happen in faraway places, or are safely confined to the history books. But let’s not forget that the first World War was triggered by a single assassination, that quickly brought all of the world’s major nations into a conflict that killed tens of millions of people – and ultimately solved nothing.

“It can’t happen here” – you’re hallucinating if you believe that’s true. In the end, all that we know is much more fragile than we ever believe. All human systems are delicately balanced even in the best of times. But these aren’t the best of times.

We Have to Hope Things Settle Down – and We Should Purposefully Work in that Direction

This is an excellent time for everyone to calm down. But that especially applies to the many well-known public figures in the news media and entertainment. They’re indirectly advocating open rebellion against an administration that they personally find to be detestable. So be it. But there are consequences to the no-holes-barred tactics they’re using. The Virginia shooting should be a wake-up call. If it isn’t, then things could get a lot worse than a lone shooter.

The survival of this country doesn’t rise and fall with Donald Trump, any more than it did with Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama. But we tend to see it our presidents as divining rods for the state of the nation.

In doing that, we emotionalize politics. ”Our president” can do no wrong, but “their president” is the very nexus of evil in the world. When presented that succinctly, it’s easy to see the ridiculousness in that assumption. Yet when it comes to politics, we can’t see ourselves doing exactly that.

But here’s a newsflash: Donald Trump isn’t going to destroy America, any more than Bill Clinton or Barack Obama “saved” it. Both beliefs are equally absurd.

To any in the anti-Trump camp who may be reading this post, settle down and relax. If you trust the American system, then you can be confident that Trump will be voted out of office in 2020, but not before the 2018 election puts a Democratic majority in Congress. In the meantime, your side has this president completely hogtied. The reality is that he hasn’t done any of the evil things that you’re worried he will. He hasn’t been allowed to. But in the meantime, please encourage Democratic candidates to craft and declare specific solutions to our national problems. Being anti-Trump doesn’t make you a problem solver.

This is also a good time for us all to tune out the media and the entertainment community. The best way to express our disgust with the entire dark circus is to refuse to participate. Both entertainers and the news media rely on advertising revenue. That’s generated by the number of people who tune into their broadcasts. If we stop participating, were cutting off their allowance. That’s the strongest message that we can send. And we need to because these people are subliminally advocating violence.

Survey after survey shows that people increasingly distrust the media. And yet they continue to tune into it, and even to parrot the headlines and narratives that they learn from it. But here’s another newsflash: you don’t distrust the media if you continually follow it. The influence may be subtle, but it has an effect nonetheless.

Let’s hope that more people start to do just that. Maybe then, this whole living-on-the-edge-of-political-upheaval phase will finally settle down.

What are your thoughts on this shooting in Virginia? Do you agree with me that the news media and entertainment community have been feeding the anti-Trump fire? Where do you think this will all end?

( Photo by Sabbath 18 )

12 Responses to The First Shots Have Been Fired in the War Against Trump

  1. I wish I had an answer or a solution for you, Kevin, but I don’t. We do what your stated in your article, we don’t follow the media or politics other than to be generally informed of what’s happening in the world. We mind our own business and try to stay out of conversations that we sense are getting emotional or angry. I suppose that means we have our heads in the sand so to speak, but that’s not the case. We know what’s going on around us, but we choose to focus on our own lives and what we can do to improve our own selves. I agree with everything you written here and find the disrespect from the media and celebrities revolting. It’s another well-written article.

  2. Hi Bev – It’s almost as if we’re being forced into creating and occupying our own little worlds, since the big picture is such a mess, and shows all the signs of being beyond redemption. I don’t follow the mainstream media either, but it’s all over the headlines, in addition to which as a blogger I do have follow what’s going on.

    What’s frosting me is that it’s gotten so absurd that I feel compelled to write about it. The emotions are so high that it’s like watching a couple of kids squaring off on the playground. As an adult you feel the need to step in and stop it. I can’t stop this train wreck, but at least I can throw in my two cents urging restraint. But it’s weird – the older I get, the more unglued things are becoming. I have the benefit/disadvantage of having lived long enough to see the downward spiral, so it looks clear to me. But it seems a lot of people don’t have the same perspective and get more deeply involved in politics on an emotional level.

    From where I sit, politics isn’t going to destroy us any more than it’ll save us, but that’s only as long as we don’t overreact. If we do, we’ll completely wreck whatever good is left.

    I’m with you Bev, I get more involved “tending my own garden” all the time. The big picture is devolving into a certified circus act, and all we can do is take care of our own little patches of ground in the world. Saving the world has always been a delusion of grandeur anyway, and beyond us all as individuals.

  3. I tend to vote Democratic. However, once he was elected I truly wanted Pres. Trump to do some of the things he called for in his campaign speeches and State of the Union address. I was rooting for him, even if I didn’t vote for him.
    The Russian issue is not my big concern with Trump. My beef with him is the fact that he has stacked his cabinet and staff with Neo-Cons and Wall Streeters and Big Pharma and Insurance reps. He put an Oklahoma EPA man as head of EPA and for gawd’s sake, that is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Oklahoma is literally being shaken half to death from earthquakes cause by fracking.
    Trump is a New Yorker, who goes from the penthouse to his limo and private plane and to the golf course, I think Trump has no idea of the beauty and value of God’s creation, the Earth. The man never steps outside.
    I think Trump causes much of his own problem with the media. The guy has a big blustery mouth and doesn’t sound Presidential or even particularly literate.
    I also fear, in some ways, he is dragging the country backwards and into deep do-do. Why reverse the Cuba decision? The Cuban conflict is ancient history, and letting Americans trade with and visit Cuba harms no one. Iran has elected a man, that for that society, is a moderate. Don’t call for regime change and get some deranged Mullah in power! Trump is cozying up to Saudi Arabia, the only nation truly implicated in 9-11.The Saudis are Wahhabi Muslims who are drivers of extremism and terrorism worldwide. Doing a deal with the Saudis to trade arms for American infrastructure money is a tad like the Jews asking Hitler for money to shore up their baking businesses. It is a deal with the devil.
    Trump wants to bring back big coal. It ain’t gonna happen. He also seems hostile to cleaner, more efficient forms of energy. He seems stuck in the past and not very future oriented.
    Lest we forget, Trump spent years calling Obama a Muslim who condones Muslim extremism and was at the forefront of the birther movement that claimed Obama was not a US citizen. Both claims were untrue.
    I do not want an Impeachment or a trial or violence. I would like to see Trump fulfill his promises or at least try and to not drag our nation into more unneeded wars such as with Korea or Iran. But is seems to me, that is not what he is doing.

  4. Wow Mary, I can’t disagree with a single point you’ve raised! I see the same things you do. Despite that I take up for Trump, it’s isn’t because I see him as a great leader. Like you, I’d like to see him implement the reforms he promised on the campaign trail, primarily in regard to taxes and health insurance. But with all the witch hunts that have been launched he may end up being a do-nothing president. I’m also very opposed to and outraged by the tactics being used by the Left. We all need to condemn that crap. Leadership isn’t found in smearing your opponent, but in coming up with workable proposals that will improve conditions in the country. The Dems didn’t do that in 2016. Instead they told us that everything’s great, and that’s why they needed to be returned to power. Now they need to accept the election and give Trump a chance to deliver – or fail to deliver. That’s the way the system is SUPPOSED to work. The hysteria is a distraction, which is it’s precise purpose.

    That said, I agree with your take on Trump. Having come up in the NYC area, I’m very familiar with Trump. He has a massive ego, uses bluster over reason, smears his opponents, and is very comfortable living and flaunting the lifestyles of the rich and famous. I have nothing in common with him, and would probably detest being on a long car ride with him.

    But as you’ve written, we owe it to ourselves to give him a chance. That’s my main conflict with the Left (I’m actually Libertarian, though I admit my articles on Trump make me appear to be a died-in-the-wool Republican).

    As much as half the population despise Trump, he very much seems to be reflective of the nation at large. TV programming makes that obvious. Maybe that’s what’s so troubling about him. It’s been said that nations get the leaders they deserve, and I have a feeling that’s what we’re seeing right now. We need to spend more time looking in the mirror to see what we’ve become as a nation, before looking at Trump. To quote Jesus Christ, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3,5. But then I always forget, religion is dead in America, and its teachings discredited.

    My bigger fear is what awaits us on the other side of Trump. As bad as he may be, the next would-be savior could be a real disaster. We’re short of reformers these days, which helps to explain why Trump has continued the policies of his predecessors. That’s been the pattern of presidents in recent decades. I don’t know if they sell out to the system, or if they get in and get taken into a dark back room where they’re given their marching orders. Either scenario is possible, and more than little bit likely. The pattern has been too pronounced to ignore any more.

    As usual, your observations are right on point. It’s good to know that we still have plenty of people in this country who aren’t following the herd. It gives us all a ray of hope.

  5. In regards to getting the government we deserve:
    A woman in this area left a pretty scathing post-mortem message on her tombstone:
    She said something to the effect that she was glad she passed on before she had to make a choice of voting for either Trump or Clinton!

  6. Believe it or not, it is true! Whether she actually put it on her tombstone or just said she would be glad to be gone before the election and wanted to put it one her tombstone, I’m not sure. But it was a local VA woman who said it.

  7. Interesting. Similar situation, I had a good friend of mine who in 1991 – on the heels of the stunning Gulf War victory – predicted that we would never have another Democratic president in his lifetime (he was a lifelong Democrat). He died in the spring of 1992, just 6 months before Bill Clinton was elected. How could he have known?

  8. I don’t like Trump, didn’t vote for him. He has such an opportunity to take on reforms such as medical costs. I’m rooting for him, but it’s getting difficult. Your points are right on.

  9. Hi Jeanne – I’m on the same page with you. I’m rooting for Trump’s reforms, esp healthcare and taxes, but I’m not emotionally tied to him in any way. If he’s run off, I won’t go postal or anything like that. But at the same time, I will “weep for the nation”, since it will be declaring itself ungovernable, and subject to tantrums. It won’t bode well for the future, particularly if we enter a time of political upheaval. There’s no telling where that will go.

  10. Hi Kevin,

    Another great article! There are a number of key takeaways from your article and the responses to it that resonated with us. We’ll mention a few of them.

    1. This too shall pass.

    2. People are not deplorable, but their behavior can be.

    3. Politics IS deplorable because it is divisive in nature. Politics (left or right) specializes in creating multiple and competing victim classes, and usurps the concept of individual responsibility.

    4. Be responsible, be the change, and be grateful for the capacity to change. If our personal example is so stellar, others will perhaps join us…or not.
    5. Personal responsibility is the bridge to freedom.

    6. Be situationally aware. Others may fail to recognize and some may even shun the idea of personal responsibility and the corresponding liberty it breeds. From their perspective, the world, as they know it, is coming to an end and they are not emotionally equipped to deal with it. Those in such a fearful and powerless state can be unpleasant or dangerous to be around.

    Steven & Debra

  11. S&D – I agree with all points, but #6 is especially profound. It explains why people elevate politics they way they do. If you’re dependent on the system, then you’re hyper-sensitive to changes in that system, even minor ones. And yes, such people can become dangerous. But then, that’ why governments get involved in the provision game. It’s not because government is inherently benevolent, which it isn’t, but more to placate the disenfranchised masses in an effort to prevent revolt. It’s the “bread and circuses” game played by the Roman Empire, and repeated by nearly every government/ruler since.

Leave a reply