Mar
12

Tinder Boxes

By

Rachel Maddow chronicles Trump rally rhetoric in the wake of the Chicago Trump protest last night.

This account of a Trump rally from Facebook is illuminating:

Now, let’s talk about the protesters. There were many. I think throughout the hour long rally, there were roughly 15-20 groups of protesters. Some of them were individuals and some were in groups. They popped up throughout the rally here and there. And some of them were yelling and causing a raucous but some of them were just standing there with their anti-Trump shirts or their pro-whoever else shirts. They were all removed. Peaceful or violent. One man had a shirt that said “Love is the answer,” and he was thrown out. Trump’s comment on this man was, “And love is very important but I mean, who’s making love to that guy?” And my stomach churned. A few minutes later, a woman stood up not far from where the other man was and starting protesting. She was removed. Trump’s comment was, “She was with the other guy. They’re actually a couple. A *clears throat* beautiful *gagging noises* couple.” And the crowd laughed and cheered. It was horrifying.

But out of everything I saw, the crowd was the worst part. I have never seen more hateful people in my life. Everyone was just filled with so much hatred. If a protester had a sign, even the peaceful ones, they would take the sign from them, rip it up, and throw it back at the protesters. Whenever a protester would get removed, the crowd would yell horrible things. Once, after a protester was removed, Trump said, “Where are these people coming from? Who are they?” A lady, sitting not 5 feet from me, said, “Well hopefully when you’re president, you’ll get rid of em all!” Get rid of them? Get rid of anyone who opposes Trump? It was sickening. I felt truly nauseous. And these people loved the protesters. They loved the drama and the chaos. And Trump fed upon it. It was easily one of the strangest and uncomfortable things I’ve ever witnessed. I could just hear the horrible things being spoken around me and it made my skin crawl.

My friend David Neiwert of Orcinus is an expert on the fringe right:

Of course, while it was fairly clear that the protesters were peaceful until attacked by the Trump rally-goers, the reality also was that fighting eventually broke out on all sides and there was violence all around. Naturally, that meant that the media were already out there flogging their favorite “both sides do it” narrative.

Never mind, of course, that Trump has specifically encouraged the violence, telling reporters at a press conference that “we need a little bit more of that.”

The story we’ll be fed as at least “the other side” will be Trump’s: that the leftist “thugs” were responsible for the violence. And we all can see where this is going: As justification for further and more intense violence.

Pay attention. This is going to get intense.

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