by Bob Cesca
Trump-Republicans have much to answer for. On top of electing this incompetent, misinformed Russian agent, Donald Trump, to the presidency, saddling us all with the responsibility of containing then cleaning up the decades worth of mess he’s making, loyalists to the president are engaged in yet another jihad against children. In this case, they’re questioning the veracity and origins of student activists who watched 17 of their classmates shot and killed in Parkland, Florida — their bodies invaded by round after round of ammunition purchased legally and fired by a 19-year-old boy with ties to a white supremacist group in Florida. It’s the 18th school shooting this year alone.
I think we all know who we’re talking about here. There’s convicted campaign finance criminal Dinesh D’ouchebag. There’s the Gateway Pundit blog, and the conspiracy theory videos posted on the True Pundit blog, retweeted by Donald Trump, Jr., by the way. There’s former Republican congressman and frequent Bill Maher guest Jack Kingston. There’s escaped mental patient Allen West. And, of course, there’s Alex Jones, who still believes Sandy Hook was a hoax.
They’re all Trump supporters, of course, but this far-right obsession with targeting children and other noncombatants (anyone who isn’t part of the national political debate) began long before Trump descending the escalator in Trump Tower to announce his candidacy. In order to trace this phenomenon, we have no choice but to start with the GOP’s unforgivable doxing and smearing of a slain teenager named Trayvon Martin.
For months, Fox News and the conservative entertainment complex dissected everything about Trayvon, labeling him a street thug who had it coming, with his sinister hoodie and his, y’know, Skittles.
Geraldo Rivera thought Trayvon’s clothing might’ve invited the shooting. Rush Limbaugh and others tried in earnest to connect Trayvon to the Black Panthers via, strangely enough, President Obama. Drudge posted sensationalistic headlines about Trayvon’s past while illustrating the links with a “grills” photo of Trayvon which was obviously meant to feed anti-black “gangsta” stereotypes. Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller released what are purported to be Trayvon’s incendiary tweets. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze posted an entire list of infractions Trayvon might have committed at his high school.
The absurd notion that somehow Trayvon’s unsubstantiated “record” might somehow justify George Zimmerman’s actions are totally indicative of the kind of kneejerk bullying and racial dog-whistles we’ve observed from these people on countless occasions. And, by the way, it’s this kind of behavior that was weaponized and sold as “modern presidential” by Donald Trump and his co-conspirators.
While Trayvon was the first deceased child to be attacked by the Republican establishment, he wasn’t the first noncombatant to face the wrath of the GOP — a party that seems to think life begins at conception and ends at birth.
Sandra Fluke, whose reputation was assassinated in the right-wing media, was an ordinary citizen who simply delivered some brief remarks to members of Congress. For her obvious crime the right-wing media, and most notably Rush Limbaugh, declared war on a woman who hadn’t ever appeared on cable news or talk radio or even maintained a blog. Easy, then, for the far-right to draw blood by means of overwhelming the so-called enemy with the full force of right-wing radio and television. How can anyone new to the scene, irrespective of age, race or gender, expect to fight back against a trained and monied right-wing attack machine? Limbaugh and others know this, so, to them, it’s an easily winnable fight.
In addition to his infamous holy war against the late Dr. George Tiller, former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and his brigade of underlings, namely Jesse Watters, made a career out of lurking in parking lots awaiting everyone from school principals to low-level nobodies. Here are some of O’Reilly’s and Watters’s noncombatant victims:
Homeless Veterans, 1/31/08: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters confronts the group outside of Fox News headquarters as they try to deliver a petition to O’Reilly.
Helen Jones-Kelley, Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, 11/6/08: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters follows Jones-Kelley — after she refused to talk to him — to a fire station, where a police chief intervenes to stop the harassment.
Jenna Kern, Member of the Unitarian Universalist Church, 8/21/08: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters confronts Kern in her driveway outside of her home.
Rev. Michael Pfleger, Catholic Priest, 4/3/08: O’Reilly producer Porter Berry confronts Pfleger outside of his church.
Dr. George Garcia, Boulder High School Superintendent, 5/29/07: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters confronts Garcia on a wooded road away from his school.
Bud Jenkins, Boulder High School Principal, 5/29/07: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters confronts Jenkins in the parking lot of his school.
Dr. Helayne Jones, Boulder High School Board Member, 5/29/07: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters confronts Jones inside of her garage as she tries to enter her home.
Pedro Irigonegaray, Attorney for Dr. George Tiller, 11/7/06: O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters confronts Irigonegaray outside of his law office.
Elsewhere on Fox News, Glenn Beck, when he used to host the 5 p.m. slot on the network, once outed an Islamic private school in Northern Virginia when the school’s sole newsworthy trespass was that an application to expand its campus was approved by the local zoning board.
But Beck went on an extended googly-eyed, sarcasmo rant (lots of “maybe it’s just me but… “) about the school being a de facto training camp for would-be terrorists, and even invoked 9/11 imagery — collapsed buildings and the like — in the process. We’re talking about a grade school where large groups of children go for seven hours-a-day. Really smart. Beck outed a “school for terrorists” on a show that was viewed by loyal conspiracy wackaloons during a time when anti-terrorist fear-mongering and militant anti-Muslim hatred was at an all-time high. Worse, the school is full of children who then became potential targets. All because the school’s zoning application was approved.
Rewind to 2009 during the health care reform debate when an 11-year-old girl asked President Obama a question during a town hall meeting about the “mean things” she observed on various protest signs outside. Michelle Malkin and other conservatives swooped into action, investigating and exposing the girl and her parents for being “Obamabots.”
For whatever reason, this topic always circles back to Malkin. The far-right blogger wasn’t the first to stalk and attack children, but she certainly popularized it during the Bush era debate over expanding the SCHIP program. You might recall how Malkin famously stalked a 12-year-old accident survivor named Graeme Frost after he appeared in a commercial supporting SCHIP, the children’s health insurance program.
The list goes on and on. World Net Daily attacked a high school play. Anti-choice activists targeted the child of a landlord who rents space to a women’s clinic. Limbaugh, once again, attacked a 13-year-old boy and called him a “Nazi stormtrooper.” The entire right-wing media Kraken was released on 11-year-old Marcelas Owens after he attended the Affordable Care Act signing ceremony. I won’t even get into the jokes about Chelsea Clinton during the 1990s.
And they engage in these tactics without shame or apology.
You will not find this kind of bullying from high profile pundits and talkers anywhere else in American politics. Why? In the absence of integrity, intelligence or empirical arguments, the last resort of a mindless posse is to target children and defenseless bystanders. We can only assume that it’s because their feckless president, their policy positions and their wafer-thin bumper sticker slogans are absolutely indefensible, so they attack those who are unable to fight back. The alternative is to take on capable and experienced opponents who can potentially disprove and debunk their crapola ideas. But they’re too cowardly for that.
Trumpers know their audience. They know the mob loves it. Think about that. Children are fair game and it’s good for ratings. These unserious thugs and their disgraceful tactics need to be banished from any and all debates of consequence, not just to provide safe passage for their hopefully-former victims, but mainly to re-bottle the sickness that’s been released into the world by Trump and his people.