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The Damage Trump’s Words Do

A couple years back, shortly before some Trumped-up online acquaintance broke with me, or I with her, and good riddance either way, she sent me a message about my latest broadside against him, in which she said something like, “lol, why do you pay such close attention to every single thing he says?” It was a telling moment with regard to the way some of his followers function, deliberately tuning out the stuff that might make them uncomfortable in their devotion to the Very Stable Genius. The answer to her question is that I am a member of multiple groups Trump has targeted, as a Jew who voted against him (“disloyal”), the father of an adopted child from Latin America (“shithole countries”), and a journalist (“enemy of the people”), and here we have a man who openly boasts of his plans to put millions of homeless Americans in concentration camps. The lesson that I and every other Jew with a modicum of sense has taken from the Holocaust is, it’s never “just words,” and you gamble with your life if you disregard those who say they want to kill you. Being considered oversensitive and maybe a little paranoid is a part of the price we pay for being, as the not-exactly-covert Nazi actor Mel Gibson said to the Jewish actress Winona Ryder, “an oven dodger.”

These nervous thoughts occur to me thanks to the VSG’s broadside against Biden’s anti-MAGA speech. Speaking to his mob in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania the other night, the Orange Menace referred to the president inter alia as “an enemy of the state.” Strange wording, one might think, from the leader of the opposition. But as I observed just recently in this space, in his own eyes, Trump IS the state. That’s why he’s demanding immediate restoration to power. With millions or tens of millions of devoted followers, depending on how one measures their fanaticism, we would do well not to laugh this off. What acts might not be justified to restore a rightful ruler to the throne? Surely red-blooded, all-American violence must be an option. Surely some “patriotic” veteran of the military or the police is readying his bullets right now to assassinate Biden, Vice President Harris, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, et al., so that Trump can become the Great Helmsman once again. This time, perhaps, it will be a gunman who is not quite as big of an idiot as the MAGA martyr in Ohio who thought he had figured out how to break the bulletproof glass at the FBI field office.

Reader, I lived in Israel throughout 1995, in the runup to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish right-wing extremist who hated him as a “traitor” for negotiating the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians and being ready to give up the occupied territories for peace. I have vivid memories of the open public discussion about the possibility that some right-wing “patriot” would take a shot at Rabin, and of how Benjamin Netanyahu and other right-wing politicians fumed that the entire “nationalist camp” was being smeared. The difference in Israel in 1995 was that, when it actually happened, most right-wing Israelis were horrified and mourned Rabin, despite their vehement disagreement with his policies. Can anyone doubt that if a similar event happens now in America, millions of those “Let’s Go Brandons” will erupt in cheers?


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