A shoot­ing war on Repub­li­cans

Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome leads to an at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

The only per­son re­spon­si­ble for shoot­ing up a con­gres­sional base­ball prac­tice Wed­nes­day in Alexandria, wound­ing a Repub­li­can con­gress­man and sev­eral aides, is James Thomas Hodgkin­son, 66, of Belleville, Ill. He died of a gun­shot wound, but it was brought on by the rage in Demo­cratic ranks of Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome.

He was a man con­sumed by pol­i­tics. “I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were go­ing, the elec­tion re­sults and stuff,” his brother told The New York Times shortly af­ter he got the news. The news, he said, came “to­tally out of the blue.” His brother, he said, “was en­gaged in pol­i­tics but oth­er­wise led a nor­mal life.”

“En­gaged in pol­i­tics but oth­er­wise led a nor­mal life.” This is the coda for our times. Mil­lions are con­sumed by pol­i­tics, so un­happy with “the way things are go­ing” that pick­ing up a gun to make their point is re­garded as the only re­course, but they “oth­er­wise lead a nor­mal life.”

Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome leads to the ob­ses­sion that ev­ery ill and an­noy­ance of life is the work of Don­ald Trump, a traitor out to be­tray the na­tion to its en­e­mies. Mil­lions of Democrats, dis­ap­pointed with the re­sults of the 2016 elec­tions, have built their lives around de­spis­ing the pres­i­dent. It isn’t healthy for the re­pub­lic, it isn’t healthy for those af­flicted and it won’t be healthy for those who die at the hands of as­sas­sins.

The Alexandria as­sas­sin, slain at the site, seemed to have been ob­sessed with equal parts ha­tred of the pres­i­dent and devo­tion to Bernie Sanders. “He did not come off as a rad­i­cal,” a friend in his home­town says of him. “He did not come off as an un­sta­ble in­di­vid­ual. He wasn’t bel­liger­ent, he was just a kind of nor­mal guy.”

Nor­mal, but de­ranged. Mr. Hodgkin­son’s “so­cial me­dia ac­counts” — Twit­ter, Face­book and the other in­stru­ments of the life of an ob­ses­sion with trivia — showed him, ob­serves The New York Times, “as deeply com­mit­ted to lib­eral pol­i­tics and dis­trust­ful of Repub­li­can-con­trolled Wash­ing­ton. In posts, he rails against Repub­li­cans, lav­ishes praise upon [Mr.] Sanders . . . and shows a deep en­gage­ment with the churn of news com­ing out of Wash­ing­ton.”

This is nat­u­rally a deep em­bar­rass­ment for Democrats and par­tic­u­larly for the se­na­tor from Ver­mont, who is nat­u­rally against as­sas­sins and their grim work. “I am sick­ened by this de­spi­ca­ble act,” Mr. Sanders said in the wake of the in­ci­dent. “Let me be as clear as I can be. Vi­o­lence of any kind is un­ac­cept­able in our so­ci­ety and I con­demn this ac­tion in the clear­est strong­est pos­si­ble terms.”

To be equally clear, Mr. Sanders is not re­spon­si­ble for what hap­pened at the con­gres­sional base­ball prac­tice. To make that charge, as some par­ti­sans were quick to do on so­cial me­dia, is to be­tray a fun­da­men­tal con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ple, that there is no such thing as col­lec­tive guilt. Ev­ery man is re­spon­si­ble for him­self and the things he does.

But Bernie Sanders is part of those who spread the de­range­ment, of mak­ing los­ing an elec­tion, with all the pain that goes with it, both sci­ence and art. The de­range­ment he suf­fers car­ries over into how he con­ducts his Se­nate busi­ness. The se­na­tor, an athe­ist, de­clared he wouldn’t vote to con­firm a Trump nom­i­nee for a trade post be­cause he doesn’t ap­prove of the nom­i­nee’s Chris­tian faith, though the Con­sti­tu­tion ex­pressly for­bids mak­ing a re­li­gious test a qual­i­fi­ca­tion for of­fice.

Though nei­ther Mr. Sanders nor any other Demo­crat is re­spon­si­ble for the at­tack on the Repub­li­can con­gress­men, but they are re­spon­si­ble for cre­at­ing the cur­rent par­ti­san cli­mate, where any­thing goes in the cru­sade to de­stroy a duly elected and duly qual­i­fied pres­i­dent of the United States. Trump De­range­ment Syn­drome will de­stroy ev­ery­thing we all hold holy and price­less un­less po­lit­i­cal pas­sions can be brought un­der con­trol. The hour is late.

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