Yesterday, GOP candidate for the Montana At-Large House seat, Greg Gianforte, was accused of assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. Audio taken of the incident and eye witness accounts back up Jacobs' allegation. As of last night, Gianforte was cited for misdemeanor assault by the Gallatin County Sheriff.
What can you say about this? This is pure political thuggery. There's no way you can condone this, or explain it away, although Republicans can and will try. Gianforte is thriving in the thuggish atmosphere created by Donald Trump and his brownshirts. One of the signs of fascism is when the press is attacked. Trump did it all last summer with his violent rhetoric towards the press, rhetoric which bordered on the eliminationist. And now rhetoric is being transformed into actual physical violence. A once-proud political party is now nothing more than a collection of thugs. And spare me the cries of the "moderates"; by remaining in the party, by not speaking out, they aid and abet the violence. You are known by the company you keep.
Of course, there are different types of thuggery. There are the thugs with bats and knives and guns. And then there are the thugs with pens. The Trump/Mulvaney budget is an example of the latter. It's an example of thuggery towards the American commonwealth. Through budget cuts and allocations, it wishes to destroy the idea that we as a society owe anything to each other. It is a dark Randian masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged brought to life. Mick Mulvaney is no less of a thug than Greg Gianforte; he just assaults people with numbers rather than with physical force.
Our politics are broken. But they were broken specifically by one side in the divide. There is no "both sides" construction that anyone can seriously make, unless out of reflex. At this point we need to dispense with the idea that there are people of good will on the other side of the aisle. There aren't. If there are, they've left that pathology known as the Republican Party. All that are left are the thugs, or the enablers of thugs. There is no reasoning with them. The only solution is to neuter them politically, so that true liberals and conservatives who place country above party can get to the work of restoring the Republic.
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