We are learning more about James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who has reportedly died of his wounds after opening fire on Congressional Republicans at a practice for a charity baseball game. His social media posts make it clear that he was a dedicated “progressive” who fed incessantly on the daily partisan venom and hateful, violent rhetoric against Republicans that the media have been churning out 24/7 at least since Election Day.
I never like to blame the actions of one person on what someone else said. You can’t revoke the First Amendment because words might be interpreted the wrong way by unstable people. But lately, the calls for violence against those of non-leftist political beliefs have become overt, unmistakable and constant, and are amplified by the 24/7 echo chamber of the Internet and partisan media outlets. And the excuses for it as "art" or "satire" are as pathetic as they are transparent. In terms of irresponsible, incendiary speech, we are now well past the point of yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater.
To see the erosion it's causing to the souls and humanity of the people feeding on it, just look at some of the horrifically ugly reactions on Twitter and Facebook, from leftwing posters celebrating that innocent people are in the hospital from a would-be assassin’s bullets just because of political disagreements, and calling for even more violence. It’s enough to make any decent person feel sick, and it should prompt anyone who has allowed him/herself to fall victim to that level of mindless partisan hatred to take a good, long look in the mirror and ask, “How did I become like this?”
If you refuse to listen to me because I’m one of those evil Republicans, then how about listening to Bernie Sanders? He quite rightly said this after discovering one of his own supporters committed this heinous attack:
“I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values. I know I speak for the entire country when in saying that my hopes and prayers are that Rep. Scalise, congressional staff and the Capitol police officers that were wounded make a quick and full recovery.”
If everyone currently drinking the poisoned Kool-Aid would listen to Sen. Sanders, set it down and back away, that would represent genuine “progress” for America.