My Sunday print column was about an African woman who died in rural Minnesota apparently trying to get across the border into Canada.
Our northern neighbors have seen a spike in the number of people trying to cross the border from our country to theirs illegally, and the political narrative which has formed around that reality is one which blames President Donald Trump and his policies for it.
While that may be fair to a point, I pointed out in my column that #TheResistance and their hysterical exaggerations about Trump are partly to blame as well.
I used Kathy Griffin’s gruesome beheading stunt as one example to illustrate my point, but a better example emerged over the weekend as the international press reacted to new attacks in Great Britain. MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts speculated that President Trump may be trying to invite similar attacks here in the United States to bolster his political agenda.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]That’s where America’s political discourse is today. A media professional feels comfortable broadcasting glib speculation about whether the President of the United States might be trying to invite a terror attack in our borders for political reasons.[/mks_pullquote]
“[S]eems like the president is trying to provoke something that he can politicize more for his own gain in America,” Roberts said (video at the link).
I’m not sure what’s scarier: That Roberts would say something inflammatory like this for ratings or that he might actually believe it.
That’s where America’s political discourse is today. A media professional feels comfortable broadcasting glib speculation about whether the President of the United States might be trying to invite a terror attack in our borders for political reasons.
Should it surprise us, then, that people are scared? That some people are so frightened they’re literally running for their lives?
I’m not excusing Trump. The President “is often cavalier with his pronouncements,” I wrote in my column. “It’s absolutely fair to blame him for fomenting fear and confusion.”
But if Trump can be held accountable for his often inflammatory and irresponsible statements on Twitter and elsewhere, so can his critics.
I’m not calling for anyone to be silenced. I don’t want a heckler’s veto. People can say and believe whatever dumb things they want.
I’m also not saying Trump is beyond criticism. He earns a great deal of it every single day.
But words do mean things, and when influential people speak irresponsibly it can have real world consequences.
It would serve us all better if we cooled down the debate a bit and cut out some of the hyperbole.