Thursday, December 14, 2017

It's Only Americans They Don't Like

Donald Trump isn't to blame. Sure, he did say that John McCain is considered a hero only because he was captured: that he felt like a soldier by being able to avoid venereal disease while bed-hopping in about New York City in the 1970s; and that he "loves the poorly educated." But when other conservatives disparage, or demonstrate their contempt for, Americans, they themselves should be held accountable.

Sean Hannity, perhaps the most virulent supporter of President Trump in the media, has a lot he should be held accountable for.  Talking recently to a former Navy SEAL and Federal Air Marshal about terrorist attacks, he remarked

If you have a gun pointed at your head, what you do, if you have a gun at your back, if you have a gun at your chest. If somebody pulls out a blade- which can be more deadly than a firearm in some curcumstances if somebody's (sic) trained in the use of that blade.

Hannity wanted to make the point that guns really are not all that deadly, as if Stephen Paddock had the skill to rain dozens of  knives down onto that crowd to kill those 58 persons at the country music concert in Las Vegas. Luckily, Sean further enlightens us about how victims themselves are responsible for being murdered as he continues

You're telling people that they have got to understand what this is about for them and what they need to know and how they're going to deal with evil if  it confronts them in life... The average person walking through the streets of New York City, they've got their headphones on or in their ear or they're text-walking or they're talking on their phone with zero situational awareness.

He's pretty clear here: it's not some people or some irresponsible people. It's the average person who is acting irresponsibly and begging to be attacked. Mercilessly, he adds "where do you sit in restaurants, I mean, there are certain little things that yo can do to increase your safety odds that if something happens- even a movie theatre for crying out loud."

Understandably, people may want to cry out loud listening to Hannity blaming (potential) victims for the crimes of those who would do them harm, as if the normal response to a the question of a maitre d', a waiter, or a cook of "where would you like to sit" is "where I'm least likely to get shot."

But while it's not surprising that a Trump enthusiast would get into the business of bashing Americans, it's discouraging that it's becoming more common among individuals not immersed in politics. Shortly before Lindsey Vonn injured her back while training for the Winter Olympics scheduled for St. Moritz, Switzerland in February, she had told CNN's Alpine Edge

Well I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president (because) I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony.

She aded "I want to represent our country well. I don't think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that." Responding to a question about being invited to the White House,  she stated "Absolutely not. No. But I have to win to be invited. No actually I think every US team member is invited so no I won't go."

Tweeting "Anti-Trump Olympian Lindsey Vonn Just Injured in Ski Accident," a Trump enthusiast received 189 likes and dozens of people expressing their glee.  At least 33 of the latter cited "karma," which suggests the distrust many Trumpists have for science or rationality.

Sixteen people cited "MAGA" in their hashtag, their twitter handle, or simply as a message to those who presumably don't want to make America great again. That, too, is telling:  an athlete asserts "I hope to represent the people of the United States" and "I want to represent our country well" and Trump supporters, including this Fox News host, are appalled.

In an Instagram message, Vonn herself wrote

It is hurtful to read comments where people are hoping I break my neck or that God is punishing me for being "anti-Trump." We need to find a way to put aside our differences and find common ground in communicating. 

Vonn wants to find that common ground. And most of the people somewhat on the left, including newly-elected Doug Jones, also do. However, their critics instead aim to remake America in their idealized image with a boosterish, even hucksterish, nationalism. That is the idea of America they love- even as they are not fond, not fond at all, of their fellow citizens.

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