Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller says the New York truck attacker had been planning it for weeks, and had “multiple knives” in addition to imitation guns. (Nov. 1) AP
Trump also tweeted: “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”
He also said he wanted to end the Diversity Lottery Program, which CNN reported, “distributes around 50,000 visas to countries where there is a low rate of immigration to the U.S.” Trump also blamed U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, the Senate minority leader, who helped fashion the 1990 legislation that created the program. (Trump later tweeted that the American justice system is a “joke” and a “laughingstock” where terrorists are concerned, and also said the terrorism suspect should get the death penalty. This ensured Trump’s return to the center of all attention, exactly where he likes to live).
Democrats – among them New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Schumer, in rapid-fire succession spoke from a seemingly similar set of talking points as they decried Trump’s “politicizing,” or “politicization,” of the attack.
What many politicians and pundits can’t grasp is that their reflexive responses are being tuned out, screened out, and shut out by many millions of Americans who just don’t care to listen anymore to the familiar refrains.
Americans were told – yet again – that all Muslims can’t be blamed for such attacks. And, that’s true, yet again. All Muslims can’t, and shouldn’t, be blamed for such attacks. Doing so is dishonest, unjust, and even dangerous, and plays into terrorists’ purposes.
But many millions of Americans know that when a single racist act is committed by a white supremacist, news programs or articles bubble up that blame whites generally (particularly southerners) for racism. It’s said such acts are fostered by latent white racism. Even if a white person isn’t of such a mind, they’re complicit if they don’t “do more” to stop racism. Or their racism is supposedly revealed when they say they’re not racists.
Millions of Americans wonder how come it’s wrong to speak negatively about Muslims, but right to speak negatively about all white Americans.
Many millions of Americans also know that as surely as the call will go out to not blame all Muslims for acts of terror (and again, they shouldn’t be blamed), within moments of a shooting tragedy many on the left and in the media will blame the National Rifle Association and all its members for the actions of a single gunman. Gun owners en masse (an estimated 42 percent of American households, about 50 million households) are targeted as well, and are told that there must be more gun laws, requirements, and restrictions because someone who’s not them might do something bad. Opposition is said to make gun rights advocates complicit in future tragedies.
Millions of Americans wonder how it’s wrong to generalize negatively about Muslims but right to generalize negatively about all gun-owning Americans.
The “politicization” issue is a moving target: whether someone is politicizing a situation depends on the ideology of who’s speaking and who’s listening. For example, in 2009, President Barack Obama, in a statement on abortion, said “It is time that we end the politicization of this issue.” Obama is a supporter of abortion rights, so politicizing the issue was wrong.
On Oct. 1, 2015, speaking after a shooting on an Oregon community college campus, Obama said that such incidents were “something we should politicize.” Obama wanted more gun control legislation passed; politicization was right.
Last Tuesday’s terror attack in New York had Gov. Andrew Cuomo arguing against himself. On one hand he condemned Trump for politicizing the terror attack, but in a press conference the day after the killings Cuomo said this: “…I hope one day we will have a federal policy that actually brings sanity to the gun policy laws in this country.”
Many millions of Americans repeatedly saw the images of the bashed-up truck – not a gun – used to kill eight people. But New York’s governor talked about gun control when the only gun used was when a police officer shot the terrorism suspect. What happened to Cuomo’s concern about politicizing the attack? He favors increased gun control; politicization, therefore, was right.
Democrats are in their worst position in about a century as Republicans have majorities, in some cases overwhelming, of governor’s offices, state legislatures, the U.S. House, and the U.S. Senate. Oh, and also the White House. This is in part because many millions of Americans aren’t buying the worn-out political lyrics so often used to negatively label them.
Americans are politicizing such issues for themselves. And it’s not working out well for the self-anointed – and tuned-out – “enlightened.”