'Political violence' has become much too normalized in America — including MAGA violence: conservative

'Political violence' has become much too normalized in America — including MAGA violence: conservative

On Thursday night, June 9, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection launched a series of public hearings — describing, in graphic detail, the violence that supporters of then-President Donald Trump committed in the hope of overturning now-President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

The hearing was simultaneously carried by a long list of networks and cable news channels, including MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, C-SPAN and CNBC. Conspicuously absent from that list was Fox News, although its sister channel Fox Business carried the event. Fox News is among the many right-wing media outlets that has downplayed the violence of January 6, 2021 — and downplayed or ignored MAGA violence in general.

But one person on the right who hasn’t been glossing over MAGA violence and White nationalist terrorism is conservative Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis. In his June 10 column, in fact, the Never Trumper emphasizes that political violence has become much too normalized in the United States — including violence from the MAGA movement.

“America is losing its mind,” Lewis warns. “A man accused of killing a former Wisconsin judge reportedly had a hit list that included Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Meanwhile, an armed California man traveled to Washington, D.C. with the goal of killing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And that’s just this week.… Talk all you want about guns, but America also has some deep-seated spiritual, psychological and cultural problems.”

Lewis adds, “And while senseless violence is one of them, we are increasingly seeing the rise of political violence where the perpetrators' motives are clear and coherent.”

The Beast columnist views the Capitol insurrection not as an isolated incident, but as part of a trend of “political violence” plaguing the United States. And the Beast published his column with a photo of the hangman’s noose that MAGA extremists had set up for then-Vice President Mike Pence outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

“The January 6 assault on the Capitol was about stopping the certification of the 2020 election,” Lewis writes. “Rioters chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence!’ to intimidate the vice president into not certifying the election. They might have been delusional, but they had a plan. Similarly, the foiled threat on Kavanaugh’s life was aimed at derailing democracy — at preempting and reversing the Supreme Court’s pending Dobbs decision on abortion. It’s not absurd to think it might have worked.”

Looking back on the Capitol riot, the conservative columnist notes, “Donald Trump’s involvement in assembling and inciting the mob is obvious and well-documented.”

Lewis calls out both the left and the right in his column, slamming the Republican National Committee (RNC) for describing the January 6, 2021 insurrection as “legitimate political discourse” but also criticizing New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones for telling CBS News — after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 — “Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.”

“In recent years, there has also been a lot of talk about America possibly having another civil war,” Lewis observes. “One wonders how a modern civil war might look. Red America and Blue America are not evenly divided along state lines. But as the writer Matt Yglesias suggests, ‘A wave of political assassinations would be pretty bad and seems much more plausible than a ‘civil war’ or what have you.’ What is amazing is how close we have already come to this…. January 6 could have turned out much worse. Mike Pence and/or other elected officials — might well have been harmed or killed. Likewise, there’s no telling how close we came to having a Supreme Court justice assassinated this week.”

Lewis wraps up his op-ed on a sobering note, fearing that more political violence is on the way.

“Between the access to weapons, the irresponsible rhetoric bandied about by our elites, and the sense that our adversaries are irredeemable enemies, what is amazing is that we have dodged these bullets for this long,” Lewis writes. “It can’t last forever. If we’re not careful, our luck will eventually run out. I don’t want to think about what happens next.”

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