This is an important rule:
• It is not always fair to blame a politician for the actions of supporters.
And this is the flip side:
• Sometimes it is exactly fair to blame a politician for actions of supporters.
But there is also this:
• This is the quality of mind that supports Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.
Or, as Ryan J. Reilly explained yesterday for Huffington Post:
A fanatical Donald Trump supporter, who was arrested by the FBI in Oregon this week after repeatedly threatening to kill President Barack Obama and federal agents, had multiple pipe bombs in his home, authorities alleged in court on Friday.
In one Jan. 31 Facebook post cited by the FBI, [John Martin] Roos referred to agents as “pussies” and wrote he would “snipe them with hunting rifles everywhere.” (Despite his threats to kill members of law enforcement, he also complained on Facebook earlier this month about the “liberal media … slamming police.”) In a post in November that was also cited by the FBI, Roos spoke out against accepting refugees and threatened to kill Obama.
“Obama you goat fffing fudgepacker, the refugees are men of fighting age. Black lives matter! Sure we need someone to pick cotton and wash cars. Paris, burn diseased muslim neighborhoods to the ground and start over with human beings. Obama you are on a hit list,” he wrote in a post that appears to have been removed.
Beyond what was mentioned in the affidavit, Roos regularly posted on both Facebook and Twitter about his support for Trump and his hatred for Obama, who he called a “muslim faggot” and other derogatory terms. He indicated he wanted to kill Obama’s family and made other racist and sexist statements about Michelle Obama. He also made negative references to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, singer Beyonce, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and reporter Michelle Fields, and said he believed that the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was killed by Obama. He praised Ann Coulter and Stacey Dash, and posted several links to posts on Breitbart.com.
A couple notes go here:
• No, really, why is “pussy” an insult? Is Mr. Roos a queer with serious mother issues? Let’s try it this way: Starting today, how many more years must I live before anyone can actually answer the question?
• These people aren’t new. Their determined, smoldering hatred in pursuit of self-gratification isn’t new. But as the twenty-first century grows toward maturity the old bigotries find themselves isolated like never before; Donald Trump skips past any pretense of “dog whistle” or “codespeak” to stir these elements to frenzy. This is not some unsettled psyche threatening to cut out a congressman’s tongue over a political endorsement. Rather, this is exactly what Donald Trump hopes to foment. The pipe-bomb building, delusional bigot cult is exactly who Donald Trump targets.
For many it is enough to take comfort in the easy assurance that the megalomanical game show host will not be president, but it would behoove us to remember that these are the United States of America, and our hatred is never supposed to go this far.
It’s more than just a few bad seeds. It’s more than just sad, festering pockets here and there. Generations have come up learning that we are supposed to be better than this carnival of hatred stamping and shouting and menacing its way around the country. This spectre of fear and loathing is never supposed to be so influential.
Yeah. Cryin’ shame about that.
Because this is the American heritage. For all we tell ourselves we are better than this, it always seems just too much to ask, too complicated or expensive or dramatic. To wit, Donald Trump will not become president, we will pat ourselves on the back, and then we will try to forget about it so that we might pretend surprise yet again when this hateful spirit next prowls the land.
Image notes: Top ― Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC], 6 March 2014, at National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Right ―
Pulkkinen, Levi. “Threatened, Rep. Jim McDermott armed himself – with a shovel”. SeattlePI.com. 28 April 2016.
Reilly, Ryan J. “Racist Trump Fan Arrested With Stockpile Of Pipe Bombs After Threatening Obama”. The Huffington Post. 29 April 2016.