And So Continues the Shameful Legacy of “Both Sides”

Senator Larry Crowder published an op-ed in the La Junta Tribune-Democrat calling for “both sides” to tone down political rhetoric. The message comes after revelations that apparent pipe bombs had been anonymously sent to prominent members of the Democratic Party, CNN’s New York headquarters, and former Director of the CIA John Brennan. Every package was intercepted.

“Now is the time to tone the rhetoric down,” wrote Crowder. “When pipe bombs show up in anyone’s mailbox, the wake up call has been sent. Politics is a rough game when vying for votes from the public, but should be done in a very civil manner. Both left and right have taken this rhetoric to a new level of incitement and it’s showing in communiques I receive.”

Crowder is so on point to say that mail bombs are frankly insane. He’s right to say that violence and hate have no place in America and its politics. He is unquestionably correct when he denounces mail bombs, white supremacist hate rallies, and the indefinite internment of the children of immigrants and refugees.

Except, he didn’t say any of that. He said that this most recent near-atrocity in a long line of real atrocities is a “wake-up call.”

It appears that Senator Crowder was asleep at the wheel when Donald Trump famously (or infamously, depending on which “side” you’re on) said on his campaign, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

President Trump more recently said at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, “You don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob.” Senator Crowder must have snoozed through coverage of that one. Although to be fair, the president’s held 45 rallies now, and that’s just since the 2016 election. I don’t blame anyone for being tired of them.

But let’s not forget when the president tweeted, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

I guess that the state senator had his twitter feed on mute then. Presumably so those loud “ding” notifications wouldn’t wake him from his nap.

Now is the time to wake up? We are wide awake, senator. We haven’t been able to sleep. This should not be a partisan issue — except the president keeps making it one.

Just last night President Trump attended yet another rally in Wisconsin. “Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective.”

Crowder and the president are trying to assign equal blame to “both sides,” the political left and the political right. Like some sort of freaky, abstract ethics socialists, they’ve each taken a single very tangible source of ugliness and hatred and assigned vague notions of equal blame to everyone that is effected by it.

A Republican Colorado state senator essentially chided “the left’s” rhetoric after prominent democratic figures and critics of Donald Trump were threatened by ten separate acts of terrorism in the span of approximately four days, as of Thursday, October 25.

Crowder has divied up blame between these nondescript, unspecific notions of “the left,” and “the right,” when he should be directing it squarely where it belongs: with “the president.”

Now, Crowder did say that the president should tone down his rhetoric in addition to “both sides” of the political aisle. But it was more of a slap on the wrist than a firm defense of his constituency’s freedom to not be mail bombed by anonymous senders or ran over by one of the president’s “fine” white supremacists.

It’s insulting how Republicans the nation over shift the weight of responsibility for the president’s own divisive, inciteful language onto those who suffer the consequences of it. It is similar to a common tactic an abusive spouse uses to pressure their partner into staying in line after they are tossed down a flight of stairs.

“You made me do it. You know I love you, but you made me hurt you.”

“Both left and right have taken this rhetoric to a new level of incitement.”

No, senator. “The left” is not responsible for mail bombs sent to Democratic President Barack Obama. “The left” is not responsible for racist hate rallies endorsed by the president over a year ago. The Republican President Donald Trump, who so recently demonized democrats across the country as an “angry left-wing mob,” is responsible. The Republican Party, that has for so long now ignored, diminished and normalized the president’s dangerous and violent rhetoric, is responsible for that rhetoric’s outcome.

If Senator Crowder truly cared about the division and hatred amplified by this president, then he would use his stature as a state representative to demand that the federal Congress censor the president to neutralize his power to propagate hate while a more permanent solution (impeachment, cough, cough) is worked out.

Let it be said that there is merit in calling for “both sides” to not escalate from here. There is nothing wrong with reminding everyone that pipe bombs are a bigly no-no. But it is insultingly wrong to claim that left-minded Americans, who all but for an underwhelmingly minute minority have peacefully resisted this dark coming of Trumpism, are just as responsible for extreme right-wing dog whistles, bullhorns and hate-mongering rhetoric as the president that spews it from his own mouth.

The Republican Party that has majority control over every branch of the federal government could at any time end this pitiful charade once and for all, if it weren’t for the hateful minority of citizens that said party pandered shamelessly to in order to usurp that majority control in the very first place.

So, rather than ineffectively asking for everyone, particularly the president, to “tone down political rhetoric,” I ask you, Senator Crowder, to step up and condemn President Donald J. Trump for his stochastic terrorism that your party has ignored and played down since before the man had been elected.

There is a divide in this county, there is a divide in this state, and there is a divide in this country. What there is not — what is utterly lacking — is a unifying leader capable of putting party interests aside for the best interests of the nation at large. The president is a wedge between the cracks and fissures that compose that divide, that the Republican Party and foreign entities have used to further fracture the American people.

I want everyone to come together as much as you do, senator. But we both know that won’t happen as long as your party continues to drive that wedge through the heart of this nation.

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