Salon’s Amanda Marcotte is always good for a laugh.
She doesn’t do it intentionally, you have to understand. If you tried to argue she’s a comedy writer, you’d have to make the case that it’s unintentional comedy. Over the years, she’s opined about guns and violence numerous times. In every instance, she’s shown herself to be downright hysterical.
And this latest piece from her is no different.
After the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse on Friday afternoon, right-wing trolls — many of whom are elected members of Congress — were ecstatic at this prime opportunity to trigger the liberals. Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Madison Cawthorne of North Carolina, and Paul Gosar of Arizona — all Republicans more interested in trolling than governance — made showily public offers of an internship to Rittenhouse. Cawthorne even took it to the next level, instructing his supporters to “be armed and dangerous.” Never one to be out-trolled, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia let loose with some truly unhinged tweets about “radical Marxists” who are trying to start “a race war,” proclaiming that “gun rights are the only thing holding back the Communist Revolution the Democrats are waging.” And on the Senate side, Ted Cruz of Texas attacked the “corrupt corporate media,” skillfully targeting the very people he needs to amplify his message and get that sweet trolling attention.
Right-wing pundits joined in on all the gleeful trolling, as well.
It’s not just that this behavior is tasteless. It also illustrates how violence is the logical endpoint of the right-wing obsession with trolling liberals. If your goal is provoking a reaction, then violence is surely the most efficient way to do it. Unlike mean tweets and “f*ck your feelings” T-shirts, violence simply cannot be ignored. By celebrating this violence, congressional Republicans and right-wing media are openly inviting more of it, because the reward of upsetting people on the left is just so delicious. The distinction between right-wing trolling and violence is collapsing.
Except, there’s been no actual violence from the right except, if you consider Rittenhouse part of the right, in self-defense.
But we did see a leftist activist kill a Trump supporter not that long ago. Others have been shot at in South Carolina. Still others were shot at in Utah. Then there was the Million MAGA March where supporters were attacked.
Yet Marcotte is a professional, right? She’s bound to have data to back up her assertion, right?
To be certain, the escalation of violence-as-trolling has been going on for awhile now. As Eric Boehler wrote in his Press Run newsletter, “The flashpoints of Republicans and conservatives promoting political violence have become ceaseless, to the point of frightening normalization,” to the point where polling data suggests “that as many as 21 million Americans think that the use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency.”
That’s it. She’s got that and Paul Gosar’s tweeting of an animated video made by a third party. That’s the totality of her argument.
Like I said before, comedy gold.
See, much of her argument is predicated on the idea that supporting Rittenhouse means supporting murder, which is nonsense. She doesn’t come right out and say it, but it’s clear enough. The problem is that Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. He was the one attacked; attacked by violent leftist thugs who Marcotte seems to believe simply don’t exist.
Look, I get the argument that “as many as 21 million Americans” supporting the use of force to restore a Trump presidency, but understand that “as many as 21 million” means they don’t have a firm number, but they don’t think there are more than that. Now, frame that within a nation of almost 330 million people and it’s not that high of a percentage.
Further, supporting the use of force and actually wanting to instigate force are different animals. It may not seem that way, but it is. One is passive and the other isn’t.
Yet if Marcotte’s argument is that the line between trolling the libs and killing the libs is somehow blurring, it’s an important distinction.
Not that one could expect Marcotte to recognize it. That would require her to acknowledge that maybe her ideological opponents aren’t downright evil, something I don’t think she’s capable of doing any more than she’s capable of acknowledging the bad actors on her side of the fence.