By Jody Scott Olson, Guest Columnist
In his column about July 4, published July 2, Tom West blamed all “liberals” for Kathy Griffin’s decapitated parody, for the rantings of Johnny Depp and for the violence of the gunman who shot and wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Tom wrote, “… they themselves (liberals) bully and set the climate for the deranged to do what they dare not do themselves.”
After making such a sweeping accusation, West failed to provide any rationale behind his conclusions. That being said, let’s indulge West’s logic for a minute and use the same number of right-wingers to define the beliefs and desires of all members of the conservative party, just as West had. From this we can, in turn, conclude that all conservatives secretly want to sext photographs of their genitals, grab random women by their body parts and have illicit gay sex in airport bathrooms, but as Tom put it, conservatives “dare not do themselves.”
Of course the actions I used as examples are attributed to Republican elected officials rather than liberal celebrity artists and a random campaign worker named James Hodgkinson. So if any random liberal can be used as a reflection on the will and wishes of all liberals, according to Tom West, then one can only assume this to be more precise when the representative group used to determine values and beliefs are their own chosen, elected officials.
Additionally, if the left wing somehow inspired the Hodgkinson shooting as West suggested, then one is equally fair in concluding that serial killer Ted Bundy was the byproduct of Christian-conservatives because Bundy also worked on political campaigns. Then there is the shooting of Giffords in Arizona and Sarah Palin’s “target list,” but who’s counting homegrown right-wing terrorism — certainly not the Republican party. Mass shootings only blaze to the forefront when brown people, Muslims or liberals open fire. If the shooters are white supremacists then it’s just another day in the grand ole U.S. of A.
Kathy Griffin’s parody was a visual depiction of a statement made by Donald Trump. While both parties were quick to criticize Griffin’s parody, there has been little to no reciprocating censure from the ongoing onslaught against women, Mexicans, blacks, Muslims and even the disabled, by conservatives. I wonder how disabled children felt about Trump mocking a paraplegic? Yet a parody delivered by a comedienne qualifies as a major infraction? Please, spare me your melodrama.
Liberals need to stop apologizing.
Tom West is, however, right about one thing, there is a legitimate overlap between Depp and Hodgkinson but it isn’t liberalism — it’s violence against women. Both men have been accused of and/or charged with domestic violence. In fact, the correlation between mass shootings and a previous history of violence against women is well documented and undeniable.
Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, was previously investigated for stalking two female classmates.
Elliot Rodger killed six and wounded 13 in Isla Vista, Calif. in 2014. Before the shooting, he threw coffee on two women at a bus stop because they failed to smile at him.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who murdered two police officers in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2015, shot his ex-girlfriend in the stomach just hours earlier.
Cedric Ford, who shot 17 people in 2016 at Newton, Kan. plant where he worked, killing three, was accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend and was served with a restraining order not long before the shooting.
Robert Dear, who shot and killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in 2015, had a history of domestic violence and harassment toward women.
Omar Mateen murdered 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. He physically abused his wife for years, beating her because she had not finished the laundry or similar offenses.
The connections serve as a red flag that sadly reaches directly to the Oval Office of the United States.
Additionally, West pondered why political correctness didn’t apply to Donald Trump, which causes one to wonder if West understands the definition of the term. Political correctness describes the avoidance of language or actions that are seen as excluding, marginalizing, or insulting to groups of people who are seen as disadvantaged or discriminated against, particularly groups defined by sex or race. Since Trump is in no way “disadvantaged,” he will have to pull up his big-boy pants, in the same way the paraplegic he mocked on national television did. Trump even has complete use of all limbs to facilitate the process. In this instance, I’m afraid Trump’s small hands don’t count as a disability.
Furthermore, “liberals” never claimed to be “politically correct” as West suggested. Instead the term was applied as a pejorative to belittle people who value leveling the playing field, inclusivity, freedom from racism, sexism and discrimination, people who embrace a multi-cultural view, people who embrace human decency and yes, “civility.”
On that note, I will close my reply to Tom West’s Fourth of July column with an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Jody Scott Olson is a resident of Little Falls