In their typical inverted-world fashion, the media have blamed Donald Trump for the actions of Florida “bomber” Cesar Sayoc (shown). But he really may represent what the Left has called “blowback.”
Remember that this is how many Democrats (among others) characterized Muslim terrorism. As progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies put it during the G.W. Bush administration in 2005, “Blowback from Iraq War Is Global, and Growing.” (Curiously, blowback talk diminished after Obama took office.)
The idea is that if you push someone enough, he pushes back; getting in a person’s face can lead to a faceoff.
And what has been happening these last years? There has been an endless stream of violent actions and rhetoric — virtually all originating with the Left. This includes more than 600 “acts of media approved violence and harassment against Trump supporters,” according to Breitbart (that could be a low-end figure, too).
Democrat politicians, far from trying to calm the savage leftist breast, have instead inflamed it. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) called on supporters to confront and “harass” Trump administration officials in public; sure enough, this has happened (video below). Hillary Clinton proclaimed that “you cannot be civil” with Republicans, while former Democrat attorney general Eric Holder said of conservatives, “When they go low, we kick them.”
The media are also complicit. MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace said earlier this month that Jeb Bush would have been “a hero” if he physically assaulted Trump during the campaign. Does it not follow, then, that you can become a hero now by attacking him or maybe even his supporters?
More significantly, the media, Democrat Party, and leftist activists have continually and zealously tagged Trump and his voters with pejoratives such as “Nazis,” “fascists,” “racists,” “misogynists,” and even “Hitler.” What does this yield? As Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has pointed out, if you thought Nazis were taking over your country, might you not think that anything — even violence — was justifiable to stop them? Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Note, too, that these are what they call “fightin’ words,” and fighting words eventually lead to fighting. Early American figures such as Andrew Jackson engaged in dueling over far less.
This brings us to blowback. Try habitually hurling fighting words at people in the street; a violent response will not long follow. Cesar Sayoc is probably not a difficult man to provoke, either. Going back more than 20 years, his rap sheet includes a 2002 bomb threat and a record in the Broward County court system listing “numerous criminal charges including theft, possession of drugs that appear to be steroids, and battery over a period of multiple decades,” reports CNBC.
Moreover, former lawyer Ron Lowy describes Sayoc as mentally ill and as “14 years old living in an adult body.” Sayoc also has been a failure at everything he has done (including bombing, it seems) and an apparent steroid user — a potent recipe for rage.
Given this and to be fair, it’s entirely possible Sayoc would have snapped regardless; we’ll never know. It’s also true that “blowback” occurs whether your violent endeavors, or calls to them, are just or not. There certainly, for example, was German blowback in response to our prosecution of WWII and Confederate blowback resulting from Union actions. It also can’t be said that taking up arms is never justified. As philosopher G.K. Chesterton put it, “War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.”
But is there any justification for the Left’s unhinged response to Trump’s anti-establishment rise? Leftists and even some conservatives — such as Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) recently — claim there’s violence on “both sides.” But, question, where are the conservative analogs to Antifa or Black Lives Matter? Some will point to “white supremacists.” But, first, they’re relatively few in number and haven’t done much outside of Charlottesville, where, do note, Antifa’s confronting of them led to clashes. Moreover, “white supremacists” is a general category; Antifa and BLM are well-defined, organized groups.
Other leftist provocations include:
• harassing conservative officials in public to the point where they must leave restaurants;
• the continual violence and harassment (again, more than 600 cases) against Trump supporters;
• the 2017 congressional baseball shooting mass-assassination attempt by leftist James Hodgkinson;
• calls to harassment and incivility of the kind issued by Hillary Clinton and Maxine Waters;
• the continual fighting-words demonization of the “other side” by the leftist mainstream media;
• the leftist Trump-opposing “Resistance” — which exists even within government (no such thing occurred during Obama’s tenure); and
• the New York Times’ recently published, outrageous President Trump assassination fantasy.
There are no conservative analogs.
Once again, Sayoc might have sent his bombs, anyway, just perhaps. Regardless, we can expect more violence from the Left — and eventually some blowback from those identifying with conservatives — if leftists won’t tone down their rhetoric and tame their actions.
After all, following the unprovoked attack on Richard B. Spencer, a self-described white “identitarian” who has given the Nazi salute, a debate actually arose on whether it’s “O.K. to punch a Nazi,” with a great number of leftists enthusiastically answering in the affirmative. Consider the implications. With many liberals branding most or all Trump supporters Nazis, don’t you think this could lead to some real problems?
Photo of Cesar Sayoc: Broward County Sheriff's Office