I read news reports of mass shootings, and commentary about them, selectively. Few tell me anything vital I didn’t already know. The new twist is the 8chan angle, so I read a little about that.
I’m not saying “there’s nothing we can do about them.” Once seen, it’s hard to unsee that white nationalist terrorism has surpassed jihadi terrorism as a threat on our shores, and we should treat it as we treat jihad in law enforcement strategy.
[L]aw enforcement isn’t enough. Targeted gun control isn’t enough. Culture matters …
Members of a radicalized underground often work diligently to introduce their themes and ideas into public discourse. They want to kill, yes, but they also want to change the culture. When national leaders use their rhetoric or adopt their themes, it is thrilling. It is energizing. It is inspiring to the movement. It tells them that they just might win.
Think of the thrills, energy, and inspiration they’ve experienced from the highest office in the land — and from parts of the most popular cable network in the land — since Trump came down the escalator in 2015.
Alt-right support for Trump wasn’t random. It wasn’t arbitrary. It was directly related to his rhetoric, and it was cultivated by his allies, and it was cultivated in part because it was a new way to fight, to punch back against the hated Left.
… [W]hen a nation experiences the wave of mass killings, threats, harassment, and radicalization we see now, it’s time for American leaders to respond with unequivocal, relentless messages not just of condemnation for racists but also with their own words of reconciliation and national unity …
… It’s worth saying 10,000 times: Fighting for your political values does not ever require you to abandon decency and respect. In fact, given the magnitude of the issues at stake, decency is even more urgent. It helps keep emotions under control.
… [O]ur nation’s leaders need to focus on reconciliation and unity, and if they are not up to that most basic and fundamental aspect of their job, then they must be replaced.
David French, Declare War on White-Nationalist Terrorism (emphasis added).
You know full well that Donald J. Trump is not up to that aspect of the job. He cannot convincingly utter conciliatory words.
But — and this is not a throw-away line — it remains to be decided whether his Democrat opponent next year will also be divisive. There are several prominent in the twenty-plus hopefuls who are licking their chops in anticipation of meting out pay-backs, though they may try to conceal it. I won’t name names, because I haven’t kept a scorecard to prove my case, but I form pretty accurate impressions.
It may come down to a matter of degree. Less divisive is better. Less blatantly divisive is better, too (I’ll bet Democrats are wistful about the days of “dog whistles”). The Democrat field offers a few candidates who can convincingly play the role of Reconciler-in-Chief.
But when it comes to degrees of divisiveness, platforms and policy agendas start to weigh more, too, as does the placement of the pale. I’m more than okay with white nationalists being beyond. I’m more than okay with Connor Betts being beyond. I’m not okay with orthodox Christians being beyond.
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I highly recommend blot.im as a crazy-easy alternative to Twitter (if you’re just looking to get your stuff “out there” and not pick fights).