SAN DIEGO – Here are some “offenses” that can get you killed by a hate crime these days in America the Broken:
– Driving while black.
– Clubbing while LBGTQ.
– Working while immigrant.
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– Protecting and serving while cop.
– Playing baseball while Republican.
And you know the national mood has taken a turn toward the surreal when MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski – who helped make fellow New Yorker Donald Trump the GOP nominee and now constantly ratchet up the hate by insulting, attacking and mocking Trump and his supporters – call on the country to bring down the temperature.
While I consider myself center-right, due largely to an upbringing in the farmland of Central California and the fact that I’m part of a community of Mexican-Americans who are less liberal than you might think, my relationship with the GOP is not good.
When writing about immigration, I hammer Republicans for either being racist, pandering to racists, or tolerating racism in their ranks. I was “Never Trump” before it was cool – in fact, from the moment two years ago this week, when Donald Trump declared his candidacy and then declared people like my Mexican grandfather “rapists” and “criminals” in order to scare up votes from white people. In the last 24 months, I’ve called Trump every name in the book – even if, after he was elected, I caught grief from hardcore lefties for acknowledging reality and calling him “president.”
But my low opinion of the GOP doesn’t prevent me from recognizing evil when it rears its head on the left and condemning the liberals who stoke it.
After this week’s ghastly attack on Republican members of Congress while they were practicing for a charity baseball game – a cowardly hate crime that wounded five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. – we must hold liberals and Democrats accountable for the times they go too far.
And, in the era of Trump, they often go too far. It’s as if the lefties feel that Trump supporters are such a subhuman life form that they can be attacked without mercy. Whether these sanctimonious bullies are in Congress, the media, Hollywood or academia, they’re much too comfortable with demonizing conservatives, pandering to those who demonize conservatives, or tolerating those in their ranks who demonize conservatives.
When Ivanka Trump casually said recently that she was shocked at the level of viciousness encountered by her father and her family, the left responded, well, viciously by attacking the first daughter for daring to even raise the issue.
On late-night talk shows or Sunday morning television or star-studded awards ceremonies, this modus operandi has become a shorthand way for condescending liberals and Democrats – many of whom are coastal elites – to show the folks in flyover country, and those of us who were raised on farms and ranches, that they’re better, smarter, more enlightened and sophisticated than we are.
Just like Republicans resist claiming the racists among them, Democrats refuse to take responsibility for a wayward disciple like James T. Hodgkinson. The gunman – who was shot to death by heroic Capitol Police officers assigned to Scalise’s security detail – was a left-wing extremist who volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, harshly criticized Trump and other Republicans, and parroted Democratic Party talking points. He frequently wrote angry letters to newspapers and posted anti-Republican rants on social media and left behind a paper trail longer and wider than a three-lane-highway.
When asked to contemplate the possibility that their vitriolic rhetoric against Republicans inspired this terrible and bigoted act of violence – in the same way that liberals insisted, in 1995, that conservative talk radio had inspired the Oklahoma City bombing – Democrats parse words and split hairs, make excuses and change the subject. It wasn’t their hate speech that caused this, they say. But guns. Or mental illness.
I even heard a few sickos on Facebook say how poetic it was that Republican members of Congress would find themselves sprayed with bullets, and ducking for cover, given their support for the National Rifle Association.
And let’s not forget the bighearted humanitarian who, after the shooting, sent Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., a threatening email with the charming subject line: “One down, 216 to go.”
This nightmare is not over. Our society is made up of different political views that have been delicately stitched together over many decades. And now it is coming apart at the seams.
Ruben Navarrette’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.