Counterpoint: West’s logic doesn’t pass muster

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

  • newpolitiq7

    Thanks for this excellent Counterpoint, Jody! I’ve been thrilled with your growing success as a painter/artist, but have missed your blog and writing like this!! (Deb L.)

    • J Scott

      Thank you Deb! Coming from such a politically savvy and talented writer that really means a lot. I’m still surprised by how many readers Blowback reached.

  • John Snell

    Hate crimes have increased over 500% since Trump was elected. Republicans could have been more concerned about the consequences of electing someone like Trump but they are more interested in getting a win. Hate crimes have not been lost in Morrison county, some that have been reported and those that have not. Tom is probably more toward the middle but sometimes his bias seeps through. You forgot David Kresha in Waco and Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. Your more likely to be killed by these right wing neo nazi white supremacy groups than anyone else.

    • J Scott

      We both know that we can create a very long list of right-wing terrorists which makes it even more perplexing that Tom West would make such an effort to highlight the actions of three “liberals” and use it to sling mud at ALL democrats, when his own party is littered with mass shootings! My major disagreement with your comment is suggesting that Tom West is “toward the middle”. In my experience I’d place Tom among the Breitbart radical right. Tom’s column is often nostalgic about the days when women were in the kitchen, gays were in the closet and white men were privileged. Now that Tom’s role with the paper has changed, I think West Words might make a sharper turn toward the radical right.

      As I see it, we have the George W. Bush Republicans but in the last decade we’ve seen the emergence of the Alt-Right – which I view as a radical insurgency or the American Taliban.

      In my experience Tom West’s newspaper legacy is that he spent his career at the Record literally writing and culling “fake news”. During the 9 months I worked for the Record, if a counsel person used a racial slur or behaved badly during a public meetings Tom and his editors would make certain the public never knew. It was Joyce Moran who would go to bat to try and get a story presented accurately but she’s been long gone from the Record. Similarly, for almost a year I followed the reporting on Little Falls City Counsel where Robin Hensel was routinely highlighted by the paper as a spectacle which I thought nothing of. Of course, when I attended counsel meetings myself the antics and antagonist actions of the counsel toward Hensel left me in utter shock. And it all went completely unreported!

      In one instance Robin was reading during her 3 minutes of public comment period and Don Klinker talked over her, interrupted to the point that no one heard the ending of what she was reading. Then said her time was up. He and the counsel refused to let her finish without their disruption.What was reported by the Record was that Robin demanded more time, not that counsel had disrupted her allotted time, then refused to allow her to finish.

      Everyone in the community is entitled to speak during public comment. Counsel cannot legally censor commenters out based on their personal or political viewpoint, which was exactly what happened. Mayor Cathy VR allowed the disruption, the city attorney ignored the violations to Hensel’s constitutional right as did members of the counsel. Yet if you read the Record it sounded like the disruption was Hensel exclusively, not that Hensel was responding to disruptions coming from it elected officials.

      This kind of behavior gets city governments sued and yet the paper only reported that Robin Hensel argued for more time not that the argument was due to Klinkers interruptions.This happened repeatedly which is partially why Hensel videotaped counsel meetings . Because counsel’s behavior was being kept under radar by the Record the bad behavior by counsel continued. Also, under Tom’s leadership the Federal raid of the credit union was presented as an “acquisition”. In fact the paper never covered that story in a way that was meaningful…and there are a million more examples of how he slanted the news.

      I think the significance of a small local paper is to provide a window for the community to see what is transpiring in government and local business. If the person in charge is manipulating the information and controlling the flow then they’ve hijacked democracy. Tom hijacked democracy to keep is right-wing friends in positions of power and the community has voted accordingly.

      Shortly thereafter, I started a blog which attracted a stunning number of readers and followers thanks to the advertising done by Hensel. 7 months after its launch city counsel members up for re election and its incumbent mayor all lost. Tom West was surprised by the losses and wrote about it in West Words. For me, it exemplified precisely how significant transparency is to democracy. Voters can’t make competent decisions without it. It also proved that what wasn’t being reported under Tom’s leadership mattered to voters.

      Now that West is gone, take away his bullhorn.

      • John Snell

        We live in a red district so your going to have much more right leaning behavior ie Robin Hensel. Republicans are more likely to take away your rights , voter rights, social rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights ect. The list goes on and on. Look at the present healthcare bill how utterly non caring and masked as a tax cut for the wealthy. By the way Obama care is doing well for 3000 districts. Its the 33 Republican districts that dont. So this is all political . It’s clear our elected officials don’t understand heathcare policy since they have never read the ACA law. They clearly don’t understand what single payer is also. But, I usually email Tom after an article and unlike most conservatives he also thinks has never been in the free market. He understands supply and demand principles and how it relates to pricing.
        Always good to have input.

  • John Snell

    Correction to my opinion. Should have been David Koresh not Kresha.