Donald Trump was forced to back down last night. Trump was scheduled to have a rally in Chicago when more protesters than supporters (or at least an equal amount) showed up for it. Because of the chaotic nature of the crowd, Trump cancelled the event.
The morning after I still have mixed feeling about the cancellation. I am a big proponent of the marketplace of ideas. Everyone should be able to speak freely– people will listen and either accept or reject those ideas. A part of me thinks that was stifled last night.
That doesn’t mean Donald Trump’s First Amendment rights were trampled on last night. So Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., citing the First Amendment, let me give a quick civics lesson that these rich kids didn’t get in prep school: the First Amendment forbids the government from suppressing speech. That didn’t happen last night.
What happened last night was a community stood up and said: We don’t want you here. Chicago stood up to the bully and said: Not here.
And for that, I’m proud. Last night, Chicago clearly said that Trump’s brand of hate will not be tolerated. For weeks, Trump could choose to tone it down and tell his supporters not to suckerpunch people at his rallies (and tell them not to threaten their lives if they come back), but Donald Trump made a choice not to. Donald Trump is smart and understands what he's doing. Trump embraces and encourages the violent atmosphere of his rallies. Last night Chicago said: not here.
But in so doing, does Trump become the martyr? I saw him on Sean Hannity last night where he claimed his First Amendment rights were violated. Hannity, a sympathetic “journalist,” made Trump out to be the victim. Hannity said that he had actively looked for instances of violence at Trump rallies and could not find any prior to Chicago.
Sean Hannity is drunk with his head up his ass. Donald Trump has said about protestors: “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Or this: “Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell– I promise you, I will pay for your legal fees. I promise. I promise.”
This is a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America.
This is embarrassing.
What is worse is that he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and his words. When a presidential candidate tells his supporters to punch people– and they do!— that’s a problem. Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the tone and message at his rallies.
Apparently hell was a cold place last night because Ted Cruz and I agree on this. Ted said:
I think a campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment when the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence and punch people in the face. The predictable consequence of that is that it escalates and today is unlikely to be the last such instance. We saw earlier today in St. Louis over 30 arrested; that’s not how our politics should occur.
Violence does not erupt at Ted Cruz events. Violence does not erupt at Marco Rubio events. Violence does not erupt at John Kasich events. Violence does not erupt at Hillary Clinton events. Violence does not erupt at Bernie Sanders events. This didn’t happen at events held by Barack Obama, Mittt Romney, John McCain, George Bush, John Kerry or Al Gore.
This has to be acknowledged. Our politics was broken before the arrival of Donald Trump. We allowed that to happen. We allowed political discourse to become a powderkeg. Trump has taken a flamethrower to it.
But he needs to take responsibility. And that’s the irony. In Donald Trump’s world, everyone else bears responsibility but him. He’s great; everyone else is bad. His campaign manager didn’t touch that Breitbart reporter– that was clearly made up. When video shows his assertion to be false– he ignores it.
I hope last night forces us to reevaluate. We are better than this. Watching cable news last night, with the exception of the drunk and hopelessly ignorant Sean Hannity, I think maybe we’ve reached a tipping point. A lot of Republicans were looking at Trump’s message and agree that he bears responsibility. Republicans were troubled by Trump before, now they are embarrassed.
I hope after the violence of the last few weeks at Trump rallies we come together and seek a leader to pull us together rather than apart. Should the President of the United States tell supporters to “knock the crap out of” people who disagree and then offer to pay legal bills– because that conduct is clearly illegal?? Can we tolerate that behavior? Is that what the United States of America is all about? Kicking the shit out of other Americans that disagree?
Is that why our military spills blood? So we can kick the shit out of each other?
That is not what America is about.
Let’s find a leader who understands what we’re about. Donald Trump clearly is not that person.
Filed under: National Politics