A BOLD STATEMENT FROM JIM TREACHER: It’s Wrong To Physically Attack People For What They Say, Even If They Disagree With You.
That’s true. And Gianforte shouldn’t have body-slammed the reporter as has been reported. (And though there were some conflicting accounts, that seems to be what happened, and he’s already been charged with misdemeanor assault.) Contrary to a lot of what we’ve been hearing, it’s not okay to punch (or body-slam) your political opponents just because of what they say.
On the other hand, the sanctimonious claims that this is where “Trumpism” has led us ring rather hollow in the face of Democrats’ cheering of punching political foes, not to mention the ho-hum treatment given to more serious violence in places like Berkeley and Middlebury, where the immediate arrest and charges seen in the Gianforte case didn’t take place. (And, in Berkeley, the mayor was actually a member of the “protesters'” Facebook page, and told police to hang back during the riot).
I’d like to live in a society where people don’t punch people for what they say. But we don’t live in such a society, apparently. For noting this, I’ve been charged on Twitter with “whataboutism,” which apparently is a synonym for “pointing out hypocrisy.”
And this is a good take on the sanctimony:
But to be clear, my problem is not with people saying that body-slamming a reporter is wrong. It is. Rather it’s with the predictably hypocritical nature of the outrage. One might almost say that the political class is happy to wink at political violence, until it affects one of their own.
One of the things I really don’t like about following news and politics on a daily (hourly?) basis for so long is how cynical I’ve become about this sort of thing. I’d rather not feel this way, but it’s pretty hard to escape, given the realities.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that this mess is bad for both parties in a way. Dems have been desperate for a special-election win that will show a wave is building against Trump, but if they win here, they’ll have trouble portraying it as such given that they beat a guy who bodyslammed a reporter the day before the election. On the other hand, if the GOP wins, they’re stuck with this guy in Congress. Or they have to get him to resign, or refuse to seat him, which has problems of its own.
MORE: Although there’s been some talk of not seating him if elected I doubt that will happen. It’s pretty clearly barred by Powell v. McCormack, which says that the only thing the House can consider on seating a Representative is whether he/she meets the constitutional requirements to serve, and I doubt there are the votes in the House to do it anyway.