Violence From the Winning Side

A man has been arrested by the FBI for threatening journalists at the Boston Globe. Robert Chain called the newsroom of the Globe and threatened to shoot staff members in the head, as he repeated phrases such as “enemy of the people” and “fake news”.

The Boston Globe has an excellent reputation on factual reporting, according to numerous independent studies and polls, as well as only holding a slightly left-leaning bias on political issues. This man was willing to kill other people, who’re just trying to report the news and inform their country to the best of their ability.

Something, or someone, radicalised this man to the point of wanting to commit a domestic terrorist attack. I know that people will have their opinions on news outlets, but I think we can all agree that acts of violence like this aren’t the answer.

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At the start of the week, host of NBC’s The Apprentice and President of the United States Donald J. Trump, gathered evangelical leaders into a meeting to discuss the upcoming midterm elections.

I’m going to avoid using the term ‘Christian’ to describe this group of people — and simply refer to them as evangelicals — as these religious leaders enable and glorify a man who stands against the pillars of the teachings of Jesus. You know, love, respect, peace, sharing, caring for others? Just the big things he seemed to be about.

In this meeting Trump called upon them to get “their people” to vote for Republicans come November. He asked religious leaders to preach a message of Republican ideology to their congregations. He makes them feel important, and like they’re being heard by someone, and in exchange they sell their souls to him by campaigning on his behalf to thousands of people.

This is nothing new, of course, every Republican President digs in with the evangelicals. There’s clearly something about a group of people who believe what someone at the front of the room says, without consulting the facts of their ideology on a regular basis, that appeals to Republicans. I can’t think what that might be…

In the meeting on Monday night, Trump also warned of “violence from the left” if the Republicans don’t hold onto the house in November, citing Antifa as a source for this violence.

Now, as usual with Trump, there’s a lot wrong with this statement.

First of all, there’s the logic. Violence typically occurs from an ideological group when they don’t get what they want. If there’s a blue-wave in November, violence won’t come from people who got the outcome they wanted, but from those who didn’t. For example, Robert Chain threatened the Boston Globe because he perceived that they were reporting bias stories — he didn’t threaten to kill journalists because they were saying what he wanted them to say. The tragic shooting in Florida this week didn’t happen because that kid won a Madden tournament.

Trump’s victory was the biggest win for right-wing politics in America since Reagan, so if we were to see violence from the left, it would’ve happened in the last eighteen months. However, the only violence we’ve seen from Antifa, has been when they’ve attacked people who’ve been attacking others.

This is your weekly reminder that Antifa stands for anti-fascist, a principle that we should all be able to get behind. Nobody likes fascists, they’re the ones who put people in concentration camps and march through the streets carrying torches as they yell racial slurs at the top of their voices.

Did I just describe Nazi Germany, or the active voice of the modern Republican party?

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The second problematic element of Trump’s statement is that it normalises the idea of using violence when something doesn’t go your way. Now, I know that these suit-wearing, million-dollar, mega-church, prosperity-gospel, evangelicals wouldn’t turn violent overnight — but some of the people they preach to may do just that.

See, that’s the thing about ideological language — the same words can mean one thing to you and an entirely different thing to someone else. Reagan thought that “Born in the USA” was a pro-America song, when in reality it was anti-war. The evangelical leader might preach “treat others as you would want to be treated”, but some of the congregation might hear “I don’t want to be a liberal, and I’d kill myself if I were liberal, so I’m going to kill a liberal”.

My worry is that we’re seeing violence from Trump supporters now, at the highest possible peak of his success. What’re they going to be like when he leaves office, or when Republican’s lose the house? With the Mueller report coming together, who knows how they’re going to react when revelations come out — denial, sure, but hopefully no violence.

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I’ll close with some anecdotal evidence on a Trump supporter. My definition of a Trump supporter is not just someone who voted for him, but someone who would attend rallies for him and fly a MAGA flag — a real fanboy for the guy.

There’s only one car in the parking lot of our apartment complex with *Trump* and MAGA bumper-stickers, and that car belongs to our upstairs neighbour.

The rest of our neighbours are polite people, mostly young couples or young families — but he’s something else. He’s the guy who I wrote about a couple of months ago, who stabbed a raccoon to death and laughed whilst doing it. He’s the guy who screams at his presumed girlfriend and kicks her out of the apartment at 2am whilst throwing her belongings off the balcony. He’s the guy who shoots at squirrels with his BB gun. He’s also the only open and avid Trump supporter in the building.

Now, I’m not saying he’s going to turn violent on the general public when Trump loses power. I’m just saying that people who behave like that don’t usually get behind a political candidate the way they have with Trump. We’ve seen it with the alt-right and we saw it with Robert Chain yesterday — Domestic terrorists are being groomed under the MAGA ideology.

I know this post was a bit of a ramble, connecting a few political events from the week, (in truth, I’m eager to rush through this warmup and finish my novel) but as an eternally anxious individual, I’m concerned about the sorts of people who’re being radicalised by this administration. And even more concerned by how violent they are when they’re in a winning position.


Today is Friday, August 31st and I’ve now lived in Colorado for a whole year!

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