Monday, October 29, 2018

Who's Really To Blame?

According to The Washington Post, on Friday, authorities arrested Cesar Sayoc Jr, alleging in a criminal complaint that he was responsible for sending at least 15 potential explosive devices to prominent Democratic and media figures across the country in recent days.   Among the recipients of defunct bombs were George Soros, Barack Obama, the Clintons, Joe Biden, former CIA Director John Brennan, former national intelligence chief James Clapper, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Maxine Waters, and Robert De Niro.

Just as the dust began to settle on the country wide bombing scare, Robert Bowers, age 46, stormed into the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in the affluent Squirrel Hill neighborhood shouting hate for Jews and killing eleven worshipers in a 20-minute attack.

Society has has always had its share of disturbed citizens who, for one reason or another, were willing to hurt and kill other people.  However, I can't remember a time when such actions were sanctioned with a wink and a nod from the powers that be.

Granted, our president never published a hit list for Sayoc to follow.  And yes, he has read public statements condemning these crimes.  Yet, when the president reads something off a teleprompter, then makes fun of the fact that that he's supposed to "tone down the rhetoric," it becomes clear where his sympathies lay.

Publicly commanding a US Representative for body slamming a reporter, saying that there are "good people" in a pro-Nazi demonstration, and promising to pay the legal fees for anyone who assaults demonstrators are all ways of condoning violence, bigotry, and intolerance.

It's perfectly possible, even likely, that Cesar Sayoc Jr. and Robert Bowers had emotional problems long before Donald Trump moved into the White House.  Yet, it's a fact that these men acted within a divisive atmosphere created by the president.

It's true that there will always be a portion of the population that doesn't like the president, no matter who holds the office.  Nevertheless I can't think of another president who worked hard to pit citizens against each other.

When Sgt James Crowley mistakenly arrested Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr for burglary outside Gates' own Cambridge home, President Obama invited both parties to the White House for a beer in order to ease racial tensions.  When you compare such an act of diplomacy to a president tweeting a video of himself tackling a man with a CNN logo superimposed across his face,  the difference in leadership styles becomes apparent.

He didn't make Cesar Sayoc Jr and Robert Bowers commit their crimes, but his example didn't discourage them either.

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