The eight quotes attributed to Trump in Duquette’s cartoon are accurate, vetted by Snopes. We have a President who really does endorse and approve violence, who convenes rallies where he encourages his followers to use violence. This has never happened before in all of American history. The President’s spokespersons deny it. But the quotes are accurate and speak for themselves.
The United States has just experienced three violent crimes in 72 hours: a mass shooting by racist at a grocery store, an attempted mass assassination of fourteen public figures and a mass shooting by another anti-semitic in a synagogue.
WC lays the blame for this appalling sequence of events squarely at the feet of Donald Trump. WC isn’t suggesting that Trump directed the perps to commit these crimes. But WC is suggesting that Trump made it acceptable, in the minds of the perps, for them to act as they have. Enabling violence is a three-step process. First make any opponent an enemy. Second, make your enemies the target of your rage. Third, sanction violence against those you hate. Trump has repeatedly taken each of those three steps.
In Trump’s world there are loyalists and there are enemies and there is precious little room in between. Trump demanded loyalty from FBI Director James Comey and, when he didn’t get it, he made Comey his enemy who had to be removed. Hillary Clinton isn’t Trump’s unsuccessful opponent; she is an enemy who must be locked up. And the mainstream media (except Fox News, of course), guilty of reporting exactly what Trump says, is disloyal, and so is an enemy.
It’s not enough for Trump to make his opponents his enemies, he has to belittle them, hate them and call them names. Enemies must be destroyed. If there are laws that forbid destruction – if the First amendment prevents you from restraining the press – then the laws are wrong and must be changed. No American President, ever, has led foot stomping chants of “lock her up” about a political opponent.
And lastly, sanction violence against those hated enemies. Praise a follower who sucker punches a protestor. A few days after an American reporter is brutally murdered, praise a candidate who was convicted of assaulting a reporter asking an inoffensive question: “Any guy who can do a body slam … he’s my guy.” Jesse Duquette’s cartoon is only a partial catalog of Trump expressly sanctioning violence against “enemies.”
There are Americans who are the psychological equivalent of open tanks of gasoline. Trump is pitching burning matches into those open containers of explosive fuel. WC submits that the events of the last weeks, the racist violence, anti-Semitism, the MAGAbomber, are specific examples. WC fears, to the marrow of his bones, they will not be the last.
If you aren’t concerned, if you aren’t frightened by the damages to our social mores, then you are either a Trump follower or not paying attention. Because this is the scariest Hallowe’en ever.