Monday, December 12, 2016

On Retaliation

Both Hedges and Reich are writing about Trump's frightening behaviour. It's not just the weird tweets, but the follow-up from him and from supporters.  Reich discusses Chuck Jones' experience: "I’m getting threats and everything else from some of his supporters.” And he talks about Trump's tweet proposing cancelling a fictitious Boeing order, which resulted in a nosedive for Boeing shares. And then he got to 18-year-old Lauren Batchelder who was brave enough to share some concerns about Trump:
"Almost immediately, Batchelder’s phone began receiving threatening messages. “I didn’t really know what anyone was going to do,” Batchelder told the Washington Post. “He was only going to tweet about it and that was it, but I didn’t really know what his supporters were going to do, and that to me was the scariest part.”
Hedges' recent column focuses on the media:
He will seek to domesticate the press and critics first through the awarding of special privileges, flattery, gifts and access. Those who cannot be bought off will be destroyed. His petulant, childish taunts, given authority by the machinery of the security and surveillance state, will be dangerous.

And then describes Megyn Kelly's experience:
Kelly said that for months Trump attempted “to woo me—not romantically, but just, you know, into favorable coverage.” Trump demanded that she phone him, Kelly said, and she did so. There was a moment in that telephone conversation when he realized he had failed to persuade her, she said. “He became very angry. He told me I was a disgrace, that I ought to be ashamed of myself, and that’s when he said, ‘I almost unleashed my beautiful twitter account against you and I still may.’ ” 
The conflict between the two exploded after the first Republican primary debate, in August of 2015, in which Kelly asked Trump about his derogatory comments about women. Kelly was savagely attacked by Trump for nine months after the debate, including repeatedly on Trump’s “beautiful twitter account.”... 
Kelly told Gross that the attacks by Trump “unleashed a chaos in my life unlike any I have ever experienced.” 
“I was receiving death threats regularly, serious death threat against me, against my family,” she said. “Strange men showed up at my apartment building demanding to see me in a threatening manner. People started casing my home. Photographers were found on my property. I don’t know if they were private investigators or what they were, but people started digging into my past, bothering my mother, bothering my closest friends, bothering my high school friends, trying to dig up dirt on me.” 
“The c-word was in thousands of tweets directed at me,” she said. “Lots of threats to beat the hell out of me, to rape me, honestly the ugliest things you can imagine. The thing I was most worried about—I have a seven, a five and a three-year-old—and I was worried I would be walking down the street with my kids and somebody would do something to me in front of them, that they would see me get punched in the face, or get hurt.”
Reich adds:
The President-elect’s tendency to go after people who criticize him by sending false and provocative statements to his 17 million twitter followers (he had 5 million when he went after Lauren Batchelder) not only imperils these individuals. It also poses a clear and present danger to our democracy. Democracy depends on the freedom to criticize those in power without fear of retribution.
Reich's solution is for us to "join together to condemn these acts. Has Trump no decency?"

Nope. He doesn't.

Hedges compares Trump to Saddam Hussein and warns that he could be the end of us.
The story of demagogues is as old as civilization. They have risen and fallen like the tides, always leaving in their wake misery, destruction and death. They exploit the frustrations and anger generated by a decayed society. They make fantastic promises they never keep. They demonize the vulnerable as scapegoats. They preach hatred and violence. They demand godlike worship. They consume those they rule.
It's truly frightening. But if we were to join together to condemn these act, if it doesn't happen en masse, then the few who begin will be hung out to dry. It could happen successfully if enough people act in solidarity, and that would be exciting. Except it's not just Trump orchestrating the backlash. It's a certain number of his supporters as well. So if there's any retaliation, it could start a counter-retaliation, and things could escalate towards violence.

This can't be left to just the people to solve through mass movements. There has to be established rule of law that enables this terrorizing behaviour to be put to an end. Free speech is most vital and necessary when it's freedom to criticize people in power.


Owen Gray said...

Trump is a dangerous man, Marie. Those who try to normalize him are fools.

Marie Snyder said...

Yes, there needs to be some measure to stop this kind of terrorizing behaviour. Do people who criticize him need to immediately get a restraining order on all supporters?? It's really messed up. That Michael Harris article on Trudeau working with Trump was enlightening - made me see Trudeau in a slightly more favourable light.