There were police officers holding the doors at the synagogue yesterday when I dropped off the kids for Hebrew school — they were nice. They held the door open. It was comforting, actually. What happened on Saturday wasn’t really a topic of conversation, however, because there were kids all around, so there were big smiles and heavy hearts in the synagogue. But also that feeling of, like, this is exactly where you want to be after something like that. My wife, she’s the director of a large Jewish organization here in the state, and it’s been pretty remarkable the outpouring of support she’s told me about, both from inside and outside the Jewish community. Horrific tragedies like the one on Saturday have a way of bringing communities together even during the most divisive of political times.
Someone, unfortunately, didn’t get the memo:
The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country. Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame…— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
….of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018
As is always the case with Trump, the strategy is to redirect blame away from himself and cast blame on the media, which — in part — is exactly what led to Saturday’s tragedy, and more directly, to the explosive devices Cesar Sayoc sent last week in an attempt to assassinate two Presidents, a number of Democratic leaders, and CNN reporters.
And how dare the media talk about these tragic events, instead of focusing on “politics,” i.e. the very thing that is dividing the country.
Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2018
When Trump leads chants of “CNN Sucks,” at his rallies, what can we expect? Here, for instance, is unedited footage, provided by Michael Moore, of Cesar Sayoc participating in those “CNN SUCKS” chants during a Trump rally.
There is a direct line from that to what happened last week. Trump is radicalizing his supporters, and while not all obviously turn to violence, they are all hostile to the media and in particularly those outlets, like CNN and the NYTimes that report facts that do not align with Trump’s alternative reality, one where — for instance — the stock exchange opened the morning after 9/11 and where George Soros funds caravans and pays protestors.
The president, explaining why he is keeping his schedule, said the NYSE re-opened the day after 9/11 attacks. It was actually six days later. https://t.co/LCLxFAZ6Xx— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 27, 2018
Anti-media/elite animus is arguably the ideological glue that holds together contemporary conservatism. This was true before Donald Trump, and he exploited it far more aggressively and crudely than his competitors. There's no way he's not always going to act this way. https://t.co/lm4Nk7rzox— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) October 29, 2018
A lot of Republicans repeat the lies about Soros paying protestors, and I think that a lot of them do it because they’re anti-Semitic and they’re trying to stoke anti-Semitic sentiment, but I think others actually believe it.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted and later deleted a tweet last week that suggested three Jewish, billionaire Democratic donors were attempting to "buy" the 2018 midterm elections https://t.co/PPECky86dm pic.twitter.com/X47wshxFiH— CNN (@CNN) October 29, 2018
“I tend to believe it,” Chuck Grassley said when asked if he believed Soros was paying the Kavanaugh protesters. “I believe it fits into his attack mode that he has and how he uses his billions and billions of resources.” https://t.co/13PUbYsW86 via @LissandraVilla— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) October 28, 2018
I guess I just don’t know why anyone would think that we needed a financial incentive to oppose Trump. Have you seen what’s been happening over the last two years? Do they actually think that the hundreds of thousands of people who have attended protests in the last two years needed to be paid to show up?
No. A big part of the reason why we protest, why we march, why thousands will show up to vigils to honor the 11 people murdered in a Pittsburgh synagogue, and why we wade into the toxic horror show that is Twitter is to remind ourselves that we are not alone, and more importantly, to show those communities being attacked by this Administration that we got their backs. At this point, that’s pretty much every community that is not white, male, or evangelical. We got their backs. We got each others’ backs. We’re here for each other — and for the country — without ribbons, without tags, without packages, boxes or bags.
Democracy doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Democracy, perhaps, means a little bit more.
Header Image Source: Getty