This is a continuation of my rebuttal to Daniel Payne’s article in The Federalist published on 21 Feb 2017.
- Do you think threatening to commit acts of domestic terrorism is a good look for American liberalism?
No. Acts of domestic terrorism are to be refuted, and if committed I agree that it is not a “good look for American liberalism”. Seriously though, wtf are you talking about. Instead of trying to demonize liberals, look to your own party and do a little house cleaning. Trump has elevated the art of passively inciting violence to a new level. He admires dictators and strongmen, he praises despots like Putin daily. Not only does he ignore actual terrorist attacks and violence (for example – the recent attack by a Trump-supporting white supremacist on a Quebec City mosque (54)), he and his staff frequently make up acts of violence (Sweden, Atlanta, Bowling Green). Here is a short list of violence associated with Trump:
- The Secret Service investigated Donald Trump’s butler over a Facebook post saying that President Barack Obama “should be shot as an enemy agent.” (55)
- Secret Service agents also interviewed a Trump campaign adviser last month, after he said that Hillary Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” (56)
- Refrains of “hang the bitch” and “kill the bitch” have grown increasingly common at Trump rallies. (57)
- Even before Trump’s Tuesday remark that “Second Amendment people” might stop Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court appointments, his associates and supporters had repeatedly called for violence against Clinton and Obama, while right-wing leaders and militia groups that support Trump speak of an armed response to federal gun control efforts. (58)
- “…blame Trump for legitimizing talk of violence throughout the campaign, including his jokes about punching and roughing up protesters” (59)
- Another Trump associate to call for Clinton’s death is his longtime political adviser Roger Stone, who tweeted in July 2014 that Clinton “must be brought to justice — arrested, tried, and executed for murder.” (60)
- Trump said of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who had recently executed a group of alleged traitors that included his own uncle: “You’ve got to give him credit … this guy doesn’t play games.”(61)
- Trump has called the 1989 Chinese government crackdown on student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square “vicious” and “horrible,” but said it “shows you the power of strength.” (62)
- Trump – “2nd Amendment people” could stop Hillary Clinton from making judicial nominations sparked outrage from opponents (63)
- Trump advisor, Representative Al Baldasaro – “Clinton should be shot in a firing squad for treason” (64)
You of course are already well aware of the violence associated with Right-wing politics (65). In fact, your point with this question/accusation is to demonize and downplay protest; making peaceful demonstrations seem like gangs of roving anarcho-fascist thugs. This is a narrative the Right is oh-so-willing to believe, and Republican lawmakers across the country are on board as well, sponsoring legislation in at least ten states to criminalize peaceful protests and demonstrations (66).
Summary – Of course no sane person believes in committing acts of terrorism. But that’s not really what you are asking. You are trying to equate opposition to terrorism. You are trying to downplay the massive, worldwide protests against Trump as being little more than isolated acts of violence created by what Former Mayor Giuliani calls “…a bunch of crybabies”. (67)
- Do you think screaming at and obstructing the secretary of Education as she tries to perform her job is a good look for American liberalism?
I begin my response to this by stating the official mission of the Department of Education – “To promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” (68).
Keep that in mind as I move into the next part of my rebuttal which is a review of just how unqualified DeVos is for the job she now holds.
DeVos is a life long Republican who has never held an elected office. (Think about the challenges inherent in running a department that has a budget of $70 billion (69) and 4,400 employees (70)). She has no prior experience working in the education field, and her family has a history of supporting anti-gay causes including donating hundreds of thousands to groups that push “conversion therapy” (71). Additionally, DeVos and her husband have given hundreds of thousands to Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group whose founder called the battle against LGBT rights a “second civil war” (72). But those terrorist liberals, amirite?
I feel like her utter lack of qualifications have been well discussed in the media and in Congress, but here is a quick overview of DeVos from an article in Cosmo that seems germane: she is a billionaire, she is a devout Christian conservative, her primary cause of activism has been school choice, her education reform record in Michigan is seen as poor, she is a powerful Republican donor, she has been open about expecting influence in exchange for campaign donations, and she may have plagiarized language on her Senate questionnaire. (73) She is also against teachers unions.
One of the most disturbing details about DeVos is her fervent Christian agenda. At a 2001 gathering of conservative Christian philanthropists, she singled out education reform as a way to “advance God’s kingdom.” (74). In an interview, she and her husband, Richard DeVos Jr., said that school choice would lead to “greater kingdom gain.” (75)
Furthermore, her father-in-law is the co-founder of Amway, a multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme. Her brother is the notorious mercenary and founder of Blackwater, who I had the misfortune of coming across in Iraq. You may remember Blackwater from the Nisour Square massacre where they killed 17 civilians. I mention these facts in an attempt to fully describe what she is bringing to the table. But I digress.
Summary – There are many reasons to protest DeVos. The biggest among them are her demonstrated anti-student philosophies, incompetence, and inability to discharge the mission of the Department of Education. Specifically I accuse her of not being able to prepare students for “…global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence” based on her track record and lack of qualifications, and furthermore I question her ability to “ensure equal access” for LGBTQ and non-Christian students. In light of this I believe that resistance to her is a moral imperative.
- Do you think Democrats freaking out about a judge they nominated a decade ago is a good look for American liberalism?
I don’t know what you mean by “freaking out”. Honestly, every time I read one of these questions I feel like you are hyperventilating as you write them. If you are referring to how Democrats are accurately representing their base by resisting decisions made by Trump, I guess I will concede this to you. There is a difference though. Ten years ago Gorsuch was nominated for a U.S. Court of Appeals position, not the Supreme Court. When Democrats previously nominated him the circumstances were different. As reported in your own paper, The Federalist, Sen. Schumer has previously blocked Republican nominees to the Supreme Court because he felt that they were too far away from mainstream public opinion. (76) This seems like a very smart decision and one that Republicans would favor as well given their proclivity for screaming about “reactionist judges”. (I would put some citations here but Google wanted to take me to a bunch of white supremacist pages and I couldn’t do it).
Summary – Someone who does something contrary to your beliefs, or someone who takes a principled stand is not “freaking out”. These types of questions you are asking are not a good way to engage folks in dialogue. Of course, as we have previously seen you have no interest in dialogue. No. In fact, you and other Trump supporters are reveling in an orgy of “winning” and instead of celebrating and getting onto the business of unifying the country and moving forward, you continue to lash out. Your anger and hatred combine with feelings of being oppressed by liberals; you want to punish us.
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS(AOM), NCCAOM Dipl. Acupuncture