For a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it minute last week, after another politically active progressive leftist opened fire on Republican Members of Congress, resulting in Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise fighting for his life, there were questions about political unity. Would this be a watershed moment in a climate of escalating political rhetoric ? Would this be the moment where Hollywood would ramp down its sudden rekindled love for assassination porn? Would Democrats be able to somehow stumble into a party message beyond “GOP are killing people” (Once again echoed by Stephen Colbert in his opening monologue two days after the shooting)
The answer has unfortunately been a resounding no, from the professional celebrity and political left. Leading the charge right out of the gate was theWashington Post declaring that “both sides are guilty” and the New York Times, once again linking Sarah Palin with Jared Lee Loughner’s attack on Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011. This is a long-ago debunked but nonetheless still whispered about false equivalence on the left, and a possibly libelous one (Palin has announced her intention to look into legal action against the Times).
Less than 24 hours after Scalise was declared by Medstar surgeons to be in critical, life threatening condition, Nancy Pelosi used her press conference to go full “They started it.” When Pelosi was asked by a reporter if she believed the coarsening political dialogue was afflicting both sides of the political aisle, Pelosi said no.
“It didn’t use to be this way. Somewhere in the 90s, Republicans decided on a politics of personal destruction as they went after the Clintons, and that is the provenance of it, and that is what has continued,” Pelosi said. Pelosi came to congress 29 years ago, so maybe she just wasn’t paying attention to her party’s treatment of Robert Bork one whole year prior but that somehow doesn’t explain her amnesia of her party’s treatment of Clarence Thomas two years later. Speak to your loved ones about Alzheimer’s.
The sentiment from the top of the party trickled down among the mainstream of progressive journalism, or at least what passes for it when Fusion published a piece regarding hero officer Crystal Griner’s sexuality. Griner, who has served as a member of Scalise’s Capitol security detail for years, according to the family, is an African American (as is David Bailey, the other officer wounded in the attack), as well as a lesbian. The Jr. hipster intern at Fusion who was assigned the hit piece wrote as follows:
Scalise has also been described as one of the most anti-LGBTQ politicians in Washington. He’s voted against LBGTQ rights over and over again. He also authored Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. Like many of his ilk, he said he was only trying to protect “traditional” marriage.
So it is a point of especially delicious irony that Scalise, who survived the attack (and is reportedly in critical condition), may owe his life to a queer black woman.
This narrative was then picked up by the fringe left’s favorite unemployed actor, George Takei, who went on to tweet, “The officer who saved bigoted, homophobic Rep. Steve Scalise during baseball practice was a black lesbian.” Takei ended up teleporting the tweets to some unknown part of the universe later that day, but not before it was also picked up by Joy Reid on MSNBC, who used Scalise’s inability to respond, to attack him as well in a tweet from her official show’s twitter feed.
The point apparently lost on Fusion, Takei and Reid is that Scalise is such a bigoted homophobe that he entrusted his life and security for years to a homosexual black woman, and a black man. Indeed, Scalise’s trust paid off as they both stepped into the line of fire to not only save his life, but the lives of several other GOP congressmen practicing that day, from the actions of a man who was a proud supporter and believer in the same progressive ideals as Reid and Takei.
Reid not only used Griner’s sexuality as a political weapon against a man in a medically induced coma, she also included Scalise’s vote on the Republican health bill, American Health Care Act.
The Sunday morning news shows barely addressed the political fallout of the shooting. Bernie Sanders appeared on Jake Tapper’s show and was pressed about political rhetoric coming from Sanders and his campaign, but Sanders was not made to account for fundraising off of the Giffords shooting in 2011 and blaming “right wing reactionaries” just as Sanders has not been made to account for a fanatical supporter of his stabbing two people on a train in Portland last month. Sanders is not responsible for these incidents, but he’s also not talking about bake sales when he stands at a podium and declares the need for a political revolution in America that requries “Push back by citizens” against Republicans.
It’s time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress, yesterday, was foreseeable, predictable and, to some degree, self-inflicted. Too many leaders, and political commentators, who set an example for us to follow, have led us into an abyss of violent rhetoric which, it should be no surprise, has led to violence.
Pelley went on to use the occasion to showcase the real heroes in all of this; the media of course, highlighting a Donald Trump tweet calling media the enemy of the American People.
Later, at a lunch for reporters, President Trump was asked whether he worried that language would incite violence. His pause indicated it had never crossed his mind. Then he said, “No, that doesn’t worry me.” Pelley declared.
It’s clear that the left has no intention of ramping things down, when they are flanked by those in the media willing to turn a blind eye to a rash of institutionalized and romanticized violence coming from their celebrity base and media outlets. As Scalise still fights for his life, the question to ponder is when will it go even further.