*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
As most Americans are aware, elections can be dirty affairs, but they can also be quite entertaining. It is really no surprise, or at least it shouldn’t be, that a reality television and “big-time” wrestling celebrity is providing all the entertainment during this peculiar election cycle. Trump has been relatively regular at providing the media with steady headlines throughout this desperately long and tedious election cycle, and as if meeting a rigid schedule provided yet another round of headlines and outrage that should take up the lion’s share of news reporting and political commenting until his next act.
No-one in America, unless they’ve been comatose for the past six or seven years, should have been shocked that Trump entertained his acolytes with a suggestion that as a last-ditch prophylactic against the abolition of the Second Amendment, deadly force against his rival may be the only alternative. What Trump proffered was that an imaginary action committed by an imaginary president who appoints an imaginary Supreme Court Justice may qualify for, as a Nevada senatorial candidate said, a “second amendment remedy.”
What this latest headline-grabbing blowup over a Trump comment about taking up arms against a political rival proves beyond a shadow of a doubt is that he is not a political outsider, an independent or original thinker, or a maverick; he is an archetypal and predictably mind-numbing establishment Republican. That being the case, he followed directions and embraced the Koch’s tea party mindset that gun violence is the solution to every problem related to a political opponent, real or imagined.
Trump’s “second amendment remedy” remark was not his campaign’s first incursion into the GOP-land of gun violence as the answer to an unfavorable election outcome. As Sarah Jones reminded Americans yesterday, one of Trump’s trusted advisors, Roger Stone, promised “a bloodbath if Trump loses and widespread resistance.” Even Roger Stone failed to come up with an original idea like his boss Donald Trump.
Stone plagiarized a “promise” Virginia Republicans made during the run up to the 2012 general election. Those typical Virginia establishment Republicans called for an armed rebellion if President Obama won re-election. About two years later another establishment Republican warned that if Congress failed to impeach President Obama, it would be time to stockpile weapons, join a militia, and become a soldier in the armed rebellion against the federal government. Those remarks, and calls for armed rebellion, didn’t incite outrage, or get reported to the FBI, or garner the outrage being witnessed during this news cycle despite they were just as atrocious as what Trump said.
In 2010, a clueless Nevada teabagger who won the right to challenge then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for a Senate seat, Sharron Angle, proposed that Americans would need to administer a 2nd Amendment remedy to deal with “the Harry Reid problem;” a problem she naturally extended to encompass the U.S. Congress that failed to produce everything the Koch brothers convinced gullible tea party fanatics was patriotic.
Also in 2010, American humiliation Sarah Palin and her PAC created a map, replete with decidedly militant rhetoric, of House Democrats she was “targeting” with gun sight crosshairs because they voted for the Affordable Care Act. Don’t believe it was effective? One of the Democrats in Palin’s crosshairs was Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who was shot and critically injured. To emphasize the purpose of using gun sight markers, three of those crosshairs were colored red to symbolize a “kill shot;” the three “targeted” Democrats had already announced their retirement.
Palin’s battlefield vernacular was also evident in writing, “We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington.” Although Palin did not specifically call for armed violence against Democrats, her rhetoric, coupled with crosshairs over “targeted” House Democrats certainly provides an incitement to violence. At least with Palin’s cutesy crosshairs, there was a tepid debate about whether driving gun-fanatics to take action resulted in Gabby Giffords being shot, but that tepid debate didn’t slow the calls for armed violence against Democrats or the federal government to solve political disputes.
Another Republican that rivaled Palin’s representation of America’s stupid sector, Michele Bachmann (R-MN), did what had become a teabagger-Republican policy and summoned armed opposition to federal laws and officials. Bachmann had been steadily increasing her referrals to Democratic elected officials as “the enemy” of the people, and in 2009 she said:
“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax, because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing. And the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”
Remember, at the time bizarre Bachmann was a sitting U.S. Congressional representative and her comments didn’t incite rage despite calling for armed revolution against the federal government over President Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade policy. Her remarks certainly didn’t take up an entire news cycle or earn a contact with the FBI.
This Trump comment was beyond the pale and atypical of a candidate for the presidency, but it was very typical of establishment Republicans. In fact, it was less than a month ago that another Republican politician, this time from the great state of West Virginia named Michael Folk posted a tweet stating:
“@HillaryClinton You should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution…then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
Mr. Folk’s comments follow the ravings of mad-man and NRA leader Ted Nugent, another Republican that regularly calls for the murder or assassination of President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The point of this piece is that yes, Donald Trump needs to be severely punished for his abhorrent remarks, but so does every other Republican that either condones or calls for armed violence against Democrats or the federal government. That includes the rash of Republicans who rushed to defend treasonous armed militia members in the Cliven Bundy standoff. The other point is that Trump is a typical Republican and he likely observed over six years of other establishment Republicans leveling death threats and calls for the assassination of the President, armed rebellion against the federal government and the killing of Hillary Clinton and anticipated that it was no big deal and simply part and parcel of GOP campaign rhetoric. He is right that it is typically Republican and was likely stunned at the atypical reaction none of his Republican cohorts have received.
It is conceivable that if any one of the Republicans, no matter their political office or affiliation with the Kochs, the NRA or tea party movement had been taken to task for calling for violence against any politician or federal government, Donald Trump may have framed his lie about Clinton abolishing the 2nd Amendment more carefully. Because one thing is clear, Donald Trump is a poser and if Americans know anything about the con man other than he is a misogynist, bigot, fascist, and failed businessman, they know he has never had an original thought in his life. If he didn’t learn to call for the death of his rival through observation, then some establishment Republican informed him that the typical Republican ploy to incite the base is calling for armed conflict against the government or the killing of Democrats.