Trick or treat: It’s the “angry liberal mob”
How times have changed:
“Democratic town halls all around the country turned rowdy as Tea Party protesters shouted down lawmakers and expressed anger over ObamaCare.
“Nearly 1 million conservatives marched to the Capitol building armed with signs and derogatory chants about the “parasite in chief,” while a number of Democrats received violent threats and harassment, including a picture of a noose being faxed to Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and a brick being thrown through the window of the district office of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).
“I was there then, and I remember Republicans going out to the balcony of the Capitol and egging on groups of angry protesters, some of whom were chanting racial epithets,” [U.S. Rep. Gerry] Connolly [D-VA] said.”
— The Hill newspaper, recently recounting the 2010 rise of the Tea Party movement in response to Barack Obama’s presidency and the Affordable Care Act
Like an idiot, I got into a Facebook fight over incendiary posts by some Trump supporters.
They were declaring as fact — without citing credible evidence — that angry mobs of liberal protesters, incited to violence by powerful liberal puppet-masters led by Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, Robert DeNiro, comedian Bill Maher and “Broadway celebrity” Carole Cook, are sweeping the nation and coming to endanger a neighborhood near you.
In case they’re right, on Halloween night, if any trick-or-treaters show up to your home dressed like Antifa or Guy Fawkes and demanding equal justice for the people, don’t give them any of the homemade healthy snacks you hand out!
It’ll only fuel their violent behavior, even more than Starburst and bite-sized Snickers do.
We all know it’s pointless anymore to argue with irrational true believers of any stripe.
Constructive debate demands putting reason over emotion, and basing argument on accepted and verifiable facts — not wild claims “proven” by more wild claims citing internet “sources” that fail the basic sniff test.
But in today’s fake-news, internet-fueled breakdown in public engagement on the issues of the day, only a fool believes the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s oft-quoted dictum that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Now, no matter how sketchy the facts or the source, they’re my facts, they support my opinion, and I’m sticking to them. When President Ronald Reagan said, “trust but verify,” he was talking about the Soviets in nuclear disarmament talks, not me. Your facts are wrong because I choose not to believe them. I trust my fringe media that succors my beliefs more than your mainstream media that challenges me.
Also, Fox and Hannity are fair and balanced; MSNBC and Maddow are not. My Infowars tells the truth nobody else will; your failing New York Times lies. My 4Chan and Qanon can beat your Pulitzer Prize-winning exposés any day. And on and on.
Worse is when people say they don’t care about facts. My beliefs are all I need.
Well, farewell to Thomas Paine’s free rational inquiry — debate resting on reason — which our nation, democracy, rule of law, education and progress were founded on and grounded in. Not to mention orderly society and Western civilization. The enlightened Age of Reason is over; we’re back in the Dark Ages when people were tortured for having the wrong beliefs.
What frightened me most about this Facebook exchange were some of the responses to the liberal mob scare-mongering.
Especially these: It’s time to get out the guns, lock and load, and get ready to shoot.
Maybe the posters were just acting keyboard-tough. But my worry is, fear leads to misunderstanding, which leads to confrontation. There will be nuts that take things too far. Then there will be blood.
All because alt-right media and internet bottom-feeders scrounging for a buck are suckering and scaring the vulnerable and naive.
Far more dangerous and disgraceful, so is President Trump and his lapdog Republican Party as they scrounge for votes.
As we all know, the “angry liberal mob” is the GOP’s last-ditch, poll-tested campaign theme and strategy to stem the Blue Wave of voters sick of Trump’s mayhem, ugliness and fueling of division instead of healing it.
“It’s aimed at firing up Fox viewers and the more strident elements of Trump’s base; it’s fear-mongering,” John Weaver, the rare Republican strategist who dares to be quoted criticizing Trump, told the Washington Post.
“I’m sure there is some little old lady in Iowa who now keeps her doors locked because she thinks there’s going to be some anarchist mob coming through Davenport,” Weaver said.
The Chicago Tribune captured the Trump/GOP strategy well:
“President Donald Trump used to attack Democrats as mere obstructionists determined to block his agenda. But with the opposition poised to seize control of the House, he’s painting them in far darker strokes — as dangerous socialists hell-bent on turning the country into a poverty-stricken crime scene.
“’You don’t hand matches to an arsonist and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob and that’s what the Democrats have become,’ Trump said Tuesday during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa.”
Ignoring the rich irony that Trump loves to incite his own angry mob at his rallies, the right-wing media and internet trolls, like good soldiers, quickly picked up the “angry liberal mob” message, amped up the volume and spread the word.
“Have you ever wondered why liberals, particularly activist liberals, are so angry all the time?” Townhall.com writer Derek Hunter, a conservative political strategist, asked in a column titled, you guessed it, “The Angry Liberal Mob.”
“It’s not that they’re angry people, or at least it’s not just that they’re angry people, it’s for a different, very important reason — anger overrides logic,” Hunter carefully explained. “Anger is kryptonite to logic, and for liberalism to work, to attract a large audience, logic has to be overridden.”
Inconveniently, however, the Trump/GOP “liberal angry mob” campaign meme has been undermined by the recent “conservative angry mob” street violence of the white nationalist hate group Proud Boys and their skinhead compatriots in Portland, OR, and New York City.
Naturally, Fox’s Sean Hannity was quick to defend the Proud Boy violence, claiming the angry liberal mob started it.
Way to go Sean! Using your three-million viewership and special influence with the president to fuel mayhem instead of calming it, like respectable leaders do! How are you different from your hated Maxine Waters?
It’s interesting how Democrats are not running on fear-mongering that “angry neo-Nazi mobs” are coming soon to a neighborhood near you.
Whatever the cherry-picking claims of the right-wing media to rile the base and lick Trump/GOP boots, the vast majority of 2018 Dem candidates are running on boring, middle-of-the-road kitchen-table issues including healthcare, job training and infrastructure. Many are not even mentioning Trump’s destruction of basic American decency.
There is one more critical, possibly mortal difference between right- and left-wing “mobs”: The conservatives have the guns, and they’re ready to use them.
With roughly 40 percent of Republicans owning a gun, but only 16 percent of Democrats, it’s fair to assume few liberal protesters are carrying more than signs, iPhones, protein bars and re-useable BPA-free water bottles.
Obsess about Antifa, but liberals didn’t show up to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville as a self-appointed militia nobody invited, dressed in military surplus combat fatigue, acting without authority, and bristling with very real military-grade semiautomatic assault weapons and ammo belts. All to “keep the peace.”
“These were not law enforcement officers or soldiers,” DefenseOne.com, a widely respected national security media site, reported. “They were self-appointed militia who, public officials say, without proper training or legal authorities to act as a security force only make a situation more dangerous. And their participation in ‘alt-right’ events is on the rise.
“One member, whom one militia leader later said was known to have mental health concerns, even drew a weapon and came very close to firing on the crowd.
“That’s exactly what police officials say they’re worried about — one shot that could spark even further tragedy — and why they are calling on militia considering attending future events to stand down.”
Talk about anarchists. Imagine if Antifa showed up as an armed fake militia.
To the contrary, the “liberal mob” protests against guns.
It would be ironic to show up with guns. “The liberals” want to make it harder for angry disturbed people to get battlefield weapons to slaughter innocent people, including children in their schools.
Liberals also want to curb the flood of cheap illegal guns that fall into criminal hands and overwhelm law enforcement.
Conservatives instead would prefer few gun laws or none. First it was to misread the Second Amendment and arm untrained, unauthorized citizen militias to “protect” America from tyranny. Then it was to protect against hordes of liberal-coddled criminals, most of them non-white. Then they needed guns to keep Hillary’s liberal fascist government storm troopers from taking their guns. Now unlimited guns are needed to protect against the angry liberal mobs.
You can see the NRA angle here. Clever as usual, stoking and appealing to fear because it works.
But I would bet the odds of an angry liberal mob endangering that little old lady in Davenport, Iowa, are far lower than anyone’s chance of being killed or wounded by a misused gun.
Last year, 500 Americans were killed in mass shootings. The latest data analysis shows that an estimated 0.00 were killed by militant feminist mobs in pink hats, or even Antifa.
So Mr. Trump, the GOP and Mr. Hannity: Let’s drop the despicable “angry liberal mob” stuff before more innocent people get hurt or killed.
Like the three dead and 33 injured in the white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville two summers ago. Including Heather Heyer, killed when disturbed white supremacist James Alex Fields rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, also injuring 19 others.
If you want to fight the Blue Wave, do it on the kitchen table issues that matter to our nation and actually, unite us. Not a desperate appeal to fear.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer