Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Political shenanigans and crimes dominate political landscape

When it comes to which political party has received the most serious bad treatment, last week’s mail bomb threat targeting Democrats definitely ranks high. Even though it appears the “bombs” were built so that they wouldn’t explode, the idea of someone mailing bombs to people for political purposes is quite unsettling.

Among the targets of the devices were former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and 11 others.

One of the many honest-to-goodness experts on bombs appearing on TV analyzed the situation this way: The person who did that was either not trying to hurt anyone, or was the world’s worst bomb-maker.

Another important factor is that most of the bombs actually never made it to their recipient. Bad addresses, discovery by postal employees and Secret Service agents before delivery prevented recipients from actually getting delivery, although one made it to the home of Democrat funder George Soros, and another made it to the mailroom of CNN’s New York offices. That one was addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, though Brennan is a NBC News contributor and has no public ties to CNN. Some of CNN’s offices were evacuated s a result.

Had these “bombs” detonated, this would be the most serious on the list of political crimes and persecutions. But since they did not, far and away the most serious is the shooting at a House Republican baseball practice last June where a lone gunman, a Bernie Sanders devotee, opened fire on the team. Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise nearly died from gunshot wounds, and is still recovering from them. Three other people were wounded.

While several republicans were harassed while trying to merely have a meal in a restaurant, and Senate Republicans were harassed as they walked the Halls of Congress, these things happened to a Democrat only once that made the news.

Certain media outlets and politicians like to lay blame for this hostility and violent behavior at the feet of our overly frank Commander-In-Chief, President Donald Trump. His attitude and language much too frequently stir the ire of people, especially Democrats.

But we must not overlook the sterling performances in unacceptable comments coming from angry Democrats, as well. They include Hillary Clinton, California Rep. Maxine Waters, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and former Attorney General Eric Holder. All of them have issued statements that fire up the anti-Trumpers, and anger Republicans. Waters leads the pack with her encouragement to confront administration officials in restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, and where ever they are seen.

Democrat activists have hassled Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and his wife, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her spouse and children, Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Neilson and a friend, all while they were minding their business enjoying a meal at a restaurant. Not content to harass Neilson at dinner, the mob appeared at her home later, blasting loud noises from the street.

To date, the only Democrat in the news to have endured this treatment is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who was harassed at a campaign event in Florida by what was described as a “mob” that called her a communist, among other things.

And then earlier this month we have the letters containing a “white powdery substance,” a couple of them identified as containing deadly ricin, targeting President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, and Sen. Ted Cruz’s Houston campaign headquarters. Two Cruz staffers were hospitalized. 

Two weeks later, and following her wonderful comments as she announced her support for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Maine Sen. Susan Collins received a suspicious letter at her home. Police were notified. In tweets, the letter writer claimed the letter was contaminated with ricin, but no harm was reported. Why so little news coverage of these events?

Naturally, those who support the victims of these acts blame the other side. Trump is the most common alleged perpetrator. However, as disturbing as all of these aggressive comments are, the blame needs to fall on those that actually carry out the harassment, mail letter bombs or ricin letters, or shoot up a baseball practice.

While the wild and crazy comments of the president and Congressional Democrats may affect their followers’ attitudes and thinking, their comments are just words. They are not orders that must be followed. And so long as they do not actually encourage violent acts are merely ill-advised speech.

Therefore, the responsibility for these acts is the sole responsibility of the person who committed the act. Bernie Sanders is not responsible for the near killing of Steve Scalise; the guy who decided to commit an illegal act is responsible. 

And Donald Trump is not responsible for a crazy ne’er-do-well sending phony bombs to Democrats; the ne’er-do-well is. And, Donald Trump is also not responsible for the nut-job who shot up the Jewish synagogue in Pittsburg killing 11 innocent people and wounding four others.

We must learn to assign responsibility where it belongs, not where it feels good.

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