Another killing by an angry white guy.
Another killing by someone who claims to be a Sanders supporter.
Another killing by someone with a history of domestic violence.
Let’s dispense with the stupid arguments right away. There is nothing about the policy planks put forward by Sanders in the 2016 campaign that in any way, shape or form encourages, condones, supports or otherwise expresses sympathy for these murders.
Sanders’ policies and views are basically mainstream Democratic views with some really bad, reductionistic socialist window-dressing. There’s actually nothing very revolutionary about what St. Bernard wants to see done. The differences are mostly rhetorical.
That’s where it starts going belly up.
Like it or not, these kinds of angry white guys are intensely drawn to Sanders, on the left, and Trump, on the right. Why? What is it about the rhetoric of these demagogues that murderers find appealing? As with the warmed over policy planks, there is very little that is new with either the mode of argument or with the target audience. We’ve seen these types before, though perhaps not so individually mobile or heavily armed.
The rhetorical flourishes are what captures the attention of these raging killers, things that echo in unholy ways inside their minds, repeating and amplifying what they want to think about the world.
- There’s a conspiracy out to get them. The corrupt Dems is the target for both sides.
- There’s chicanery afoot, robbing these guys of what’s rightly theirs.
- There’s undeserving leeches and paid off lackeys sucking up the benefits that should go to the good and the just.
- There’s mindless sheep who need to be shaken out of their plantation mentality where they are trapped in self-enslaving habits.
- There’s evil women, ball-busting bitches, out to rip away their manhood and make them submit to something bad. Hillary is the ultimate in evil, a modern day Medusa or Maleficent.
- There needs to be a revolution, a rebellion, a tearing down and clearing away of the old order.
It’s also a glib rhetoric, dismissing social, economic and political complexities, insisting that you just have to do what’s right (where right equals satisfaction of your personal desires) to make things great again (Trump & Bernie both evoke a 1950s era America, with well paid white male laborers and the nation astride the world as unchallenged hegemon), and above all insisting that the aggrieved are right to be intensely angry about the current state of affairs.
It’s a recipe for violent acting out. But not everyone! No, just the Bros. Just the aggrieved white manhood and their adoring supporters.
In most cases, the acting out is limited to the comments section and the ballot box. But then there are the phone calls, the emails, the raging in people’s faces.
We end with the use of deadly force to punish those who will not submit and let them have their simple, clean, wholesome fantasy worlds where they are always the hero of the tale.
The brutal fact is the men who are aggressively threatening the world, up to and including murdering others, are men who start with the women around them and extend their violence in ever-wider circles.
Both Bernie and Trump deliberately tapped into this angry male world to power their campaigns, Trump from the start and with all pistons firing, Bernie slowly, almost accidently at first, then increasingly strong as his own anger at being denied the nomination grew. You see it most chillingly when he’s before an audience that starts hurling epithets at the imagined enemy, and Sanders leans down into the podium, smirking and nodding, his expression showing his pleasure as they say what he may not.
As I said in Political Geometry, the extremes of Left and Right are becoming indistinguishable, united in their contempt for “centrism” – a weak, feminized political stance by their way of thinking. I think the violence precedes the politics, but once joined, they feed each other, building steam.
It’s the utopia of the Bros and it is killing us.