People who refuse to acknowledge the damage that Donald Trump did to this country need look no further than the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of speaker Nancy Pelosi. Republicans have mercilessly attacked Nancy Pelosi for doing her job. People might have felt one way or another about Pelosi, but it was not until Donald Trump was elected to office that people found the nerve to act like barbarians and attack without regard to consequences. Trump also fired up other so-called politicians to make public, violent verbal attacks against those with whom they disagree. Thanks to this breed of politician, it is now acceptable to be rude and in some cases, violent.
The Washington Post outlined a series of bad acts by Republicans that have made extremists act out. In 2010, Republicans used their “Fire Pelosi” campaign, which included photos of Pelosi surrounded by flames. Just last year, Kevin McCarthy said that when (if) he takes over the speakership: “It will be hard not to hit Pelosi with the speaker’s gavel.” He called it a “joke,” but we know better, as some of their followers take that statement as gospel and go out and act upon it, just like the rioters at the Capitol on January 6. They went in there looking for Nancy Pelosi because of the demonization of her by Republicans. In fact, AdImpact revealed that Pelosi is the most maligned by Republicans, and they have spent $40 million on ads that speak negatively about her.
This constant, outright attacks against Pelosi is what led to the assault of her husband. According to reports, David DePape, the attacker, searched the couple’s home, shouting: “Where is Nancy?” DePape’s weapon of choice was a hammer, and a charge of attempted murder is being considered. Not surprisingly, DePape’s blog has been uncovered, and the Post reported that it is “filled with deeply racist and antisemitic writings,” and also not surprisingly, he is a Trump supporter. As Eric Swalwell pointed out in a comment: “Sadly, this attack was inevitable. Political violence is on the rise and instead of GOP leaders condemning it, they condone it with silence or, even worse, glorification.” While Mitch McConnell may publicly pretend to show support for Pelosi via Twitter, he refuses to stand up and denounce the negative, violent rhetoric that makes these unstable people act. It is one thing to disagree with another’s opinion, but it is something else altogether when that disagreement goes beyond words written on a blog to breaking into someone’s home, armed with a weapon.
This type of behavior must end. When President Barack Obama brought the issue up during his speech in Michigan, he was heckled. He was trying to make the point that the rhetoric is completely out of control, but they don’t want to hear that; they want to light fires and burn people in the process. President Obama was rudely interrupted by a heckler, even as he tried to speak about being tolerant of each other and allowing people to voice opinions. The heckler was eventually escorted out, but he makes the point that this behavior is out of control.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years