President Biden is taking criticism for announcing that he will go to Buffalo to comfort the victims of the horrific supermarket shooting by a deranged racist teenager. It’s not because people don’t think it’s a serious tragedy, but that it smacks of the kind of political exploitation of tragedies that I wrote about yesterday. They accuse the Democrats of wanting to focus a lot of attention on a white racist who killed 10 people and injured three others, most of them black, because that plays into the “racist America” theme that they use to divide people and win votes. Yet this weekend’s shooting in California where a Chinese man attacked Taiwanese worshippers in church was also apparently a hate crime, but of a type that Democrats don’t like to acknowledge.
And when an alleged black nationalist drove into a parade in Waukesha, killing six people and injuring 62, most of whom were white, Biden didn’t visit. (To be fair, Jill Biden did go to Waukesha to meet victims’ families and attend a memorial.)
The reason given for Joe Biden not visiting Waukesha was that local authorities had so much to deal with that a Presidential visit would be an expensive and difficult distraction. But that would be equally true in Buffalo as well.
I don’t like questioning people’s motives for showing compassion to victims of heinous crimes. I think we should all do that. For now, I will reserve judgement and note that it’s become part of the President’s duties to comfort Americans in times of tragedy. If that’s what this trip is about, then I’m all for it. But Biden should rise above using it to cynically promote policy points and attack political opponents.
There are already too many people trying to divide Americans by firing up hatred and suspicion of anyone who’s different from them, and turning one group against another. The master of that was Adolf Hitler, and it’s not surprising that we’ve seen reports he was admired by both the white racist who wanted to kill black people and the black racist who wanted to kill white people. It’s all the same poison, just in different bottles.
For the record, here are the kinds of statements that a President of all the people should avoid when comforting the victims of a racist shooting:
Calling for restricting both the God-given First and Second Amendment rights of people who had nothing to do with it.
Blaming the shooter’s crimes on TV networks and news commentators you hate, and who, incidentally, the alleged shooter also hated.
In general, blaming the shooter’s crimes on a wide range of people that you don’t like and neither did the shooter.
Trying to use the tragedy to accuse your political opponents of believing in some racist conspiracy theory that most of them have never even heard of. This reminds me of when they were accusing Trump voters of being Q-Anon followers, and I had to Google that just to find out what the heck it was. This time, get ready to hear a lot about GRT or the “Great Replacement Theory.” Claiming that you believe in it is a convenient way to falsely brand you as a promoter of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for opposing open borders.