November 19, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Latest Published Essay in CHRONICLES Magazine: Who Is Responsible for the Political Violence in Our Society?
I pass on to you my latest essay published in CHRONICLES Magazine, today November 19. It represents a slight editing of my October 29 installment in the MY CORNER series. CHRONICLES is in many ways the “grandfather” of traditional, America First conservatism (as opposed to the globalist Neoconservatism). It was founded in 1976, as an outgrowth and product of The Rockford Institute, and has heralded and presented some of the finest essayists and writers of the traditional Right, including Patrick Buchanan, Anthony Esolen, Clyde Wilson, and the late French philosopher/essayist Claude Polin. This is my fifth essay in the magazine, either in its print edition or online.
who is really responsible for political violence?
By:Boyd D. Cathey | November 19, 2018
For the past year or so—and especially since the badly constructed pipe bombs (none of which went off) that were sent to various Democratic Party leaders and to certain national leftist personalities, and then the hate-filled rampage by a crazed anti-Semite at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh—the mainstream media, including many of the supposed conservative commentators at Fox, have been all a-twitter with demands that President Trump “lower the volume.” From Ed Henry to the vaunted “Fox All Stars” that visit our television sets nightly, from Jonah Goldberg and A. B. Stoddard and others, there has been a demand that somehow the president implicitly must “do his part” to refrain from “inciting the violence.”
Of course, what the pundits have attempted is to establish an equivalence between what Donald Trump has said on the campaign trail, his colorful language and his use of playful imagery, and the far more dour and angry radical advocacy and language of those on the Left. In this way, they think, if both Right and Left are properly chastised, then the “bad language and incitements” from the “Deplorables” can be offset: thus, both Right and Left, in this narrative, need to “refrain from inflammatory language,” and specifically President Trump needs to stop using his tried-and-true and very popular images: no more “lock her up” demands.
Thus, the Fox pundits earnestly implore him to cease his counterblasts against “fake news” and against the blatant and outright misrepresentation and lies foisted off nightly not just by mainstream media but by much of the entertainment industry (e.g., just take a look at late night television), academia (hundreds of shrill calls for violence by Leftist faculty against conservatives, e.g., Berkeley and dozens of other colleges), and the vast campaign to foment violence against conservatives on the Internet. Somehow Donald Trump, simply by responding to his unhinged enemies, bears some, perhaps equal, responsibility for what has happened in recent weeks.
And for mainstream media, President Trump bears the major share of responsibility. It is almost as if he were the one who carelessly wrapped the faulty pipe bombs and placed them in the mail; it is almost as if he was standing behind the vicious and deranged shooter who invaded the Pittsburgh synagogue. (The shooter was actually a violent anti-Trumper, but you won’t hear that from most of the media.)
So goes the Leftist template: it is the president, through his language who is responsible for violence; not those hundreds of leftists who take part in “non-mobs.”
“Non-mobs”? Well, you see, CNN, MSNBC, and the mainstream have banned the use of the word “mobs”—the folks engaged in what we would call “mobs” (e.g., the takeover of streets in Portland, Oregon, by Antifa, who then assaulted elderly drivers, or the violent toppling of the Durham, NC, Confederate monument) were, to quote Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, “exercising their constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate.”
But it is far more serious. For the language and, most importantly, the intent of the forces engaged in this debate are far different. There is, in fact, no equivalence between what the Left has been spewing forth—and doing—since Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, and the president’s response to it. And the Fox—and other conservative—pundits are dead wrong, both morally and politically, to accept such an equivalence.
Almost from the beginning of the Trump presidency the forces of the Deep State, that is, the Washington-on-the-Potomac and New York establishment, have responded with a fury unequaled in American history—save, perhaps, for the critical months of late 1860 into early 1861, and we know how that ended. And it has not just been by their language but by their actions: hundreds of unhinged and unleashed “mob” actions, many of which have bordered on real violence, and not a few that were violent.
The list now amounts to hundreds of violent assaults by the minions of Leftist ideology. Just consider these recent instances and statistics (most not reported by mainstream media):
—“Rap Sheet: ***70*** Acts of Media-Approved Violence and Harassment Against Trump Supporters,” July 5, 2018:
—“Violence Against Right Escalates as Media Amp up Hate-Rhetoric Against Trump,” September 12, 2018:
—“Resistance Makes Rape Threat to Susan Collins Staffer over Kavanaugh Vote,” September 12, 2018:
—“Leftist Vandals Smash Windows, Deface Doors of Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan, Threaten More Violence and Revolution,” October 12, 2018:
Yet all through 2017 and most of 2018 the mainstream media has either ignored these provocations, or, at best, given them short shrift, passing them off on page 37 in a small, insignificant column in The Washington Post or The New York Times, or simply not reporting on them at all. But now the MSM literally spends weeks with blaring “news alerts,” screaming headlines 24/7, and accusations comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler (see in particular, The Washington Post, “Don’t Compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It Belittles Hitler,” September 13, 2018), and informing us in ominous and frightening tones that our president is directly responsible for the “climate of hate” and for an “environment that foments violence” and for “threatening our democracy.”
And all the while, for nearly two years, it has been those mavens of the media, those overpaid and woefully under-talented Hollywood icons, those mentally corrupted academics, those fanatical mobs of #Resistance and #MeToo demonstrators, and those sexless and brain-dead feminists, who are the responsible ones, those who have initiated a violence-prone and violence-producing condition in this nation.
What Donald Trump has done is reply; and he has done so with humor and ridicule. No, he has not asked the Deplorables to—quoting Maxine Waters and other leading Democrats—“get in the face” of his opponents, to follow them home, to bang on their doors, to follow them into restaurants and shout them down. . . . He has not asked his supporters to take over entire streets in Portland and assault passersby. And when a Leftist attempted to assassinate Republican congressmen at a baseball game, it was not Donald Trump who was responsible; nor was he responsible for sending highly poisonous ricin in the mail to prominent Republicans, nor for the violent attacks and trashing of the GOP headquarters in Manhattan or Orange County, North Carolina, nor for a re-enactment of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, in which the role of Caesar is played by a Donald Trump look-a-like who is brutally murdered.
Yet the response of those new paragons and arbiters of moral rectitude at CNN and MSNBC, at the Times and the Post, is—in their most insufferable pose—to pronounce an anathema on the president and his supporters, as if it came down as a voice from Mount Olympus.
And at the very same time, in the middle of the coverage of the pipe-bombs, came this: The New York Times ran an article fantasizing about the assassination of the president [October 25, 2018].
Apparently, the editors at the “old grey lady” see no inconsistency between their withering attacks on Donald Trump as a provocateur and responsible for violence, and their own blatant incitements to assassination.
There is, of course, a larger issue here. President Trump’s attacks on the media and his leftist opponents are always laced with his unique brand of humor, that New Yorker “you’se guys are idiots!” style of over-the-top braggadocio and insults that make us smile and laugh. We get that. Even his recent aside about “body-slamming” a reporter (while he was in Montana) was uttered humorously, metaphorically, with a broad smile on his face . . . and was understood by his supporters that way.
Of course, there are always a few nuts out there; but those few deranged folks are always out there, and nothing Donald Trump says in his rollicking campaign rallies will either dissuade them from committing what they hope to commit, or convince them to be law-abiding citizens.
The difference is this: those folks who have supported the president, those “Deplorables,” are mostly average hard-working, God-fearing, go-to-church-on-Sunday, “normal” people. By nature they are “conservative” in the way they live. They do not get out in the streets; they do not gather in mobs. Even when pleaded with to demonstrate for some truly worthy cause (e.g, pro-life), most of our folks do not. Such action—demonstrations, marches—are not inbred in our DNA. We were not raised that way; we usually have too much going on in our own families, in our work, in our lives. And the idea of spending time ranting and raving or beating on innocent drivers, or gathering to scream profanity and pull down historic monuments, is foreign to us.
When Donald Trump uses colorful language, we laugh and we smile. It’s imagery we can identify with. We’ve been frustrated for years that the establishment takes us for granted, abuses us, manipulates us. But our revenge was at the ballot box back in 2016; it is not in sending lethal ricin to our enemies or attempting to assassinate Democrats or fantasizing about killing Obama.
That is the difference, and it is what distinguishes us from the unleashed lunatics on the Left and who now dominate the Democratic Party. And we don’t need pundits, including those on Fox, who show up nightly to lecture us (and the president) that we are responsible for the violence.
No. What has happened is not Donald Trump’s fault; he did not cause it, he is not responsible for it. Two years of Leftist over-top-madness are.