Paul Pelosi attack: Get ready for more political violence

Forget the riot. The immediate future of political violence in America will be much more of a lone man with a hammer and a head full of fascist propaganda.

“That’s the thing we should be afraid of,” Eric K. Ward, a Western States Center extremism expert, told me Friday afternoon after a 42-year-old man attacked Paul Pelosi, who is with the spokeswoman for the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, married.

Though authorities have yet to reveal a motive, social media posts attributed to suspect David DePape are filled with the now-standard trove of right-wing nightmares, including anti-transgender screeds and references to “alien-human hybrid infiltrators.” .

More on that later, but suffice it to say, as Ward pointed out, “We are not in normal times.”

While the attack on 82-year-old Pelosi is hideous and chilling, it came as no surprise to Ward and those who have followed the rising tide of right-wing hatred that threatens to topple our democracy. For several years, well before the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, extremism trackers have been shouting from the rooftops that one-off violence by people that has seeped into the lies and propaganda of MAGA republicanism is a real one and poses a growing threat.

If this attack means anything beyond the shock of violence, it is that we cannot ignore the precarious impact of our democracy on the rule of law. We can’t write off a real threat as the unfortunate antics of a bunch of weirdos on Truth Social, or the rampage of walking headaches like infotainment star Tucker Carlson and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who proposed Jewish. possessed space lasers started wildfire in California.

This is not politics. This is not a culture war. This is how countries slide from decades of human rights into chaos, then into authoritarianism.

“It doesn’t stop there,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, told me. “It’s getting worse and the riot was just a major crossroads on this highway, not a dead end by any means.”

But Levin and Ward are quick to point out that the people actually involved in the violence are hammers themselves.

The deeper problems are the ugly untruths, racism, and anti-Semitism perpetuated by those who, for reasons of philosophy, hate, or just plain old-fashioned grifting, would like to see any form of government other than democracy. Preferably a Christian nationalist system in which religion dominates the law – at least as a method of control.

This despicable conglomerate of power-at-any-cost people is engaged in a strategic war of stochastic terrorism – essentially terrorism by proxy – spewing so much venom into the atmosphere that it inevitably infects someone who will take action.

We all know it by heart now, because we’re exposed to its contagions—and those who have its disease deep in their veins—every day. It’s the other pandemic that has never slowed down and that requires more than a mask to avoid. But unlike the coronavirus, we’ve let this one thrive without examining it and asking how to stop it, although it’s not that difficult to decipher.

Demonization, dehumanization, desensitization and denial. It’s the age-old formula for turning a normal, albeit disgruntled, Joe into a weapon and a movement for political destruction.

Demonizing is Kanye West with Jewish people smearing her for all the ills in the world. It is the campaign against transgender groomers and predators out to sexualize and abuse young children. It is the belief that “liberal elites” not only enable crime in our cities, but want it – wants freedom for the horrible, vile hordes of immigrants who are both invaders and voters.

It’s writ large on her raging hatred of Nancy Pelosi and everything she stands for and it is unbelievers who ignore that all these attacks are part of the same fabric.

As Republican Senator Josh Hawley distilled it on a recent episode of The Tucker-Carlson Show, MAGA Republicans believe, “This [Democrats] don’t like… America’s, let’s face it, Christian culture.”

Democrats “loathe the way blue-collar and middle-class people live. It’s the values ​​we represent. They don’t like any of that and want to destroy the economic basis of America’s middle and working class,” Hawley continued.

Constantly fueling fear of pain and loss turns the people in these target groups into something inhuman, a creeping evil that cannot be argued with and which, if left unchecked, will destroy all that is good and right. This is dehumanization, or as Levin describes it, “a cadre of villains portrayed in a caricatured manner.”

This otherness goes so far as to theorize that Pelosi and other Democrats are lizards.

There are an alarming number of people who believe that a reptilian alien race is masquerading as humans to enslave us in a new world order (which, by the way, appears to be largely derived from the 1980s TV show “V”) – enough that a Californian man killed his own children for believing in this Qanon fantasy. DePape had references to the theory on his social media.

Throw all this garbage in the washing machine with a big scoop of violent rhetoric — nothing too direct, all to deny — and let it sling endlessly until we’re all so sick of hearing about it, or so sure none of it’s true it is even registered as abnormal.

Like Carlson and Manhattan Institute colleague Chris Rufo, who recently spoke about drag queen stories and the “deeply disturbing sexualization of children” that LGBTQ communities engage in.

“People should trust their instincts, people should fight against them, and of course people should arm themselves with literature,” Rufo said.

“People should definitely arm themselves, I agree,” Carlson quipped, cautioning against “letting the kids out there, period.”

These systemic attacks have more victims than Paul Pelosi.

The Buffalo mass shooter promoted the replacement theory — the fear that white Americans would be outnumbered by the growing population of non-white people — before killing black people at a grocery store. The El Paso gunman did the same before targeting immigrants.

In California, earlier this year, two men pleaded guilty to federal charges that they planned to blow up John L. Burton’s Democratic headquarters in Sacramento in response to Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden. One of these men, Ian Rogers, wrote to his friend that “the Dems have to pay”.

And in Contra Costa County, Eric Traina, a U-Haul anti-vaccination worker with three children, was convicted of a felony in September for threatening Senator Scott Weiner, an openly gay politician who has championed immunization legislation.

“Vax my kids without my permission and expect a visit from me and my gun,” Traina emailed Weiner.

The madness intensifies. On Friday, a day after freedom of speech absolutist Elon Musk announced he had bought Twitter, usage of the N-word on the platform surged nearly 500%, fueled in part by posts on right-wing social, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute -Media sites like 4chan that encourage users to reinforce derogatory slurs.

“There are no guardrails,” said Levin, who shares my belief that we need to be accountable to the machine that spits out people like DePape.

Because it’s a machine, purposeful, calculated, predictable – and dangerous.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-29/column-the-attack-on-paul-pelosi-was-horrifying-but-not-surprising-get-ready-for-more-political-violence Paul Pelosi attack: Get ready for more political violence

Alley Einstein

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