Monsters Walk Among Us …

An editorial in the OpEd section of the New York Times crossed my path last night.  The author is Erick Erickson, a politically conservative American writer and radio host. I would like to share the first part of his editorial …

“A year ago my life went to hell. After I declared myself unable to support the election of Donald Trump because of my faith and conservative convictions, three protesters showed up on my front porch. They did not threaten physical harm. But they did express feelings of betrayal and declared their intention to ruin my career as a conservative talk radio host and writer. I needed to carefully reconsider, or else.

I just could not bring myself to do it. For the next three months, we had armed guards parked outside our house. People called my radio station demanding I be fired. My children came home from school in tears because other kids were wondering when I would be shot or telling them about all their family members who hated me.

A woman in my wife’s Bible study group said that she and her friends wanted to punch me in the face. For a while we stopped going to church. At the grocery store, my children were accosted by a stranger yelling that their father was destroying their lives and the country.”

Is this, then, what our nation has become? Do we somehow believe that it is alright to threaten and bully a man’s children because we may not agree with his political views?

Erickson is not the only journalist who has been on the receiving end of this abominable behaviour.  Jared Yates Sexton, a New York Times contributor and assistant professor of creative writing at Georgia Southern University has received a number of threatening messages since unveiling the internet troll who created the video clip that shows Trump beating a reporter with a CNN logo for a head. One such threat warned him of a looming “journocaust” — presumably a holocaust for journalists.

In May, Greg Gianforte, the millionaire Republican running for Montana’s open congressional seat, beat up a reporter from the Guardian. He nonetheless won his election bid.  What message does this send?  What message does it send when the man who occupies the Oval Office posts a video of himself beating up a reporter?  These people have been elected to represent this entire nation of over 300 million people, and yet they cannot act with dignity, they cannot show respect for human life?  What are we thinking?  Are we thinking?

Yes, some of our leaders and elected officials are sending the message that it is okay to exert violence on those who disagree with them, but still … it is we who bear the responsibility.  We are the adults here.  Do we not have enough good sense to act in a humanitarian manner?  Do we not have enough humanity to realize that, even if Trump & Co. imply that it is alright to threaten harm to children, we know that it is indeed not okay?  Do we no longer have consciences?

My mother had a saying when I was a child, “If so-and-so tells you to jump off a bridge, are you going to do it?”  The point, of course, was that I should think for myself rather than blindly follow any one else.  It appears that some people in this nation need to learn that lesson.  Or … even scarier … are they thinking for themselves and this horror is the result of their thought.  Donald Trump, Greg Gianforte, and others in positions of trust own this nightmare.  But so do We The People.  We own our thoughts, actions, and the results of those actions, and I thought we were better than this.

I try to be professional and not indulge in name-calling … sometimes I even succeed.  But I am going on record here and now as saying that any person … ANY PERSON … who threatens a person, or most of all that person’s family over political differences is a monster.  The lady in Erickson’s wife’s Bible group?  She is not a Christian, but she is a monster.  The stranger who accosted his children in the grocery store?  A monster.  Frankenstein was an angel compared to these monsters.

In the words of CNN commentator, Ana Navarro, Trump “is going to get somebody killed in the media. Maybe that will stop him.” I once thought it might, but that was before I came to know him and came to know that he is an empty shell of a man, filled with hot air, and lacking a conscience, lacking any sense of decency.  Now I know that the death of a reporter would not faze him.  Donald Trump is a lowlife, and apparently at least some in this country wish to lower themselves to his level and wallow in the filth with him.  I still believe in the basic goodness of mankind, but I wonder if this disease is not spreading? Are those who support Trump so afraid that they must fight even young children?  What is it they are afraid of?  Where, along the way, did these people lose their compassion, their humanity?  And the biggest question of all … how do we stop this terrible disease that is threatening to destroy our country?

30 thoughts on “Monsters Walk Among Us …

  1. I certainly have sympathy for anyone who’s threatened with violence for their beliefs, especially when their children are also threatened. But there’s a touch of irony here in that Erickson has been a huge agitator in the conservative movement and hasn’t exactly behaved with a lot of civility himself. This is the man who said of David Souter, he’s “the only goat fucking child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court.” So.

    I’ve never been able to read RedState because of the vitriol there. And other conservative blogs I’ve tried to read are usually just as scary. Populated by monsters.

    It’s sad when something comes back to bite us. On the other hand, I would have thought that Christianity would keep believers from threatening or frightening children in the name of political goals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I obviously should have researched Mr. Erickson a bit more. But, even so, I probably would have written the same piece, for I still see threats of violence toward his family as a crime that should be punishable by … guillotine? Stoning? But you have enlightened me regarding Erickson, and I will look a bit deeper into his commentary. There are many conservative journalists who I respect, though I may not often agree with them. Obviously, Erickson might not be one of those. :/ Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

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  2. It is a real study in human nature to see the polarising dynamics here. We can all be equally ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ but it is dependent on perspective as to whether you really are on the ‘good’ side. The winners of battles in history typically promote themselves as ‘good’ fighting off the evils of a foe. This thread of righteousness exists everywhere in every group. Even Isis sees its actions as taking the moral high ground. Truth be told, humanity has taken on the shroud of a monster and very few can fight it off for long. We capitulate when it threatens our family, our existence and our life. We can only declare our outrage when those that would hurt us are not watching. Erik Erickson has taken a very brave step into the spotlight, but it comes at a huge price to his family and life!😖

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    • Sigh. Your view, while not inaccurate, makes everything seem meaningless. So why keep fighting for what we think of as humanitarian causes, if everyone will abandon ship when the battle hits too close to home? Might as well go play a game of Mario and forget the problems of the world. Only thing is … I cannot. First, i always lose at Mario, and second, the issues of the day consume me, occupy about 97% of whatever mind I have left. Sigh. If it’s a losing battle, then so be it. Sigh.

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      • There is a series of programmes on TV here in UK called ‘Tunes for Tyrants’ by Suzy Klein. The premise of the series is that music itself is so powerful that it hypnotises and cajoles people into thinking ‘wrong is right’ and even seems to justify book burning, piano smashing, and all sorts of otherwise unacceptable behaviour. Even the most complacent and reasonable person can be conned into believing that another person is dangerous, and must be eliminated in the name of justice and honour!

        The program explores the rapid transition from singing a few songs in peaceful defiance to the violent and dangerous thinking that brings on human holocausts.

        Standing up to unfair discrimination is what we remember in hindsight, but not before we have allowed hatreds to get out of hand.
        Is it meaningless to fight against inhumanity? No, of course not, but the method should not refect the methods of the instigator. Mud slinging only results in bigger mud pies to throw at each other. The problem lies within the human psyche…we are capable of so much vehemence as to be detrimental to our own existence. This is usually a sign that our species will not last very long on the earth…we have built in obsolescence!

        ‘Tunes for Tyrants: Music and Power with Suzy Klein (BBC4) is a new three-part series that explores the role of music in 20th-century politics and how the medium has been both celebrated and exploited by those in authority. The first episode takes us to the aftermath of the first world war and shows how music can carry the potential for change, and the dangers of that power. ‘

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        • Definitely an interesting premise … though not one that inspires much hope for the future of mankind. You are definitely right, that lowering oneself to the standards of the evil we are fighting, ie, mud-slinging, is not the answer and only leads to greater problems. Sigh. I think I’ll play that game of Mario after all … 🙃

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  3. These people are afraid and are acting it out by threatening others. I used to wonder how the Nazis got such a foothold in Germany. I now understand and it’s frightening to see the same thing happening in the U.S. Thank goodness we still have free speech and a free press. It seems sometimes that DT supporters are brainwashed. I heard one of his supporters on a panel on CNN. He was asked if something DT did was presidential. His scary answer was that if DT did it he’s the President so it’s presidential. Of course, some of these DT people are white supremacists who would still hang black people and bring back segregation if they thought they could get away with it. The KKK burned crosses in people’s yards. Civilized people have to keep pushing back using the courts, free press, and free speech.—- Suzanne

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    • It is frightening, and I, too, see comparisons to 1930s Germany. My history guru friends assure me that the circumstances are different and there is no way the people would lie down and let it happen here. And I agree to a large extent, but … the people are getting worn down, and the ‘man’ hasn’t even been in office for 9 months yet! There is only so long that many are willing and able to fight, and the divisiveness here is a constant assault on our senses and sensibilities. I think it’s about time for more of the clear thinkers, the humanists, to stand up and start speaking as loudly as the trumpeters.

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  4. A tragic story showing the worst side of human nature. They have been reading the old testament too long ; ‘ do good to those who despitefully use you that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. ‘ Erik is to be greatly admired in allowing himself to be emotionally sacrificed to bring truth to those around him. Incidentally Frankenstein is a wonderful story of a poor creature created by science and who yearned for love being made in our image. He was not a monster until he was forced into desperation. In the same way these poor men and women drawn into ISIS become Frankenstein monsters.

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    • True … one might say ‘otherwise good, but perhaps weak people coerced and led by the forces of evil’. But let me ask you something. Do you think people actually change, or merely react according to different circumstances? Is a person who is basically a humanitarian capable of becoming evil, or vice versa? I once thought people never really changed ‘who’ they were, but simply adapted to circumstances, to their environment. Now I’m not so sure.

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      • Intelligence quota and talents or gifts do not change but they can be developed or ignored. The moral nature of people is always present except in psychopaths who appear to have a different brain scan , Robert Hare is one of the experts in this field . You are asking the great question is redemption possible and I am bound to answer yes we see it quite often in people and sadly it’s opposite where they sink into evil
        ways. Every kindness and thoughtful act is redemptive so they are the most important things we ever do in our lives. Groups like ISIS are evil beached they cause moral degeneration and lead to terror and violence. I’m not an afterlife believer but such prayers as ‘ forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ‘ is self redemptive if it is taken to heart.
        Morality is totally inescapable in every avenue of human endeavour and great art is nearly always about redemption. Nancy lost her life trying to redeem Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist. Bill had gone to far and murdered her it was the passage that made audiences weep when Dickens read it.
        Bill had a faithful dog he kicked around who sought his kindness it is a dreadful tale. The albatross he wickedly shot hung around the ancient mariners neck until he understood the immorality of his deed. It’s a moral truth not a scientific one.
        ‘ He prayeth best , who loveth best
        All things both great and small;
        For the dear God who loveth us,
        He made and loveth all.’

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  5. Jill, this is disturbing on so many levels, but mainly the right vs wrong question. We must treat others like we want to be treated. Then, you have folks who have thrown in their lot with a man truly unworthy of their blind faith. But, even if that man had veracity, it does not enable his followers to harm or threaten his critics. They are following the personality of their so called leader. Keith

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    • I agree with you, Keith. Now here is my question to you, because I respect your opinion and know you to be a clear thinker and a man of deep convictions: Does the number of people who blindly accept and follow the personality of the MITWH continue to grow until they are the majority?

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  6. Dear Jill,

    Where does it say that all conservatives have to think and act alike. This would make for a cult, and not a country that values people’s right to their independence. Erik Erickson is a true conservative. Frankly, I do not see how a true conservative could support President Trump.As a Christian, I definitely don’t get it.

    There a list of other conservatives who are “never Trumpers.” There is Bill Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Joe Scarborough. David Brooks, Michael Steele, Ana Navarro are all republicans who are highly critical of the president.

    For those who treated Erik Erickson and his family with cruelty, they are indeed acting like monsters they’ve become which has nothing to do with being a true Christian or conservative.

    Hugs, Gronda

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    • I don’t know, my friend. This whole thing is beyond me. Why is it that Congress, in rejecting Trump’s signature ‘repeal and replace’, which was an abomination, is being told that they are disloyal to their party? When did the ‘party’ become more important than the citizenry? And when did it become okay to hurt children in order to attempt to manipulate the parents? This term comes frighteningly to mind: “The end justifies the means”

      Hugs!

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  7. A great post/editorial, Jill. It is very frustrating to know what to do to stop this monstrous hate disease in our country. It seems incomprehensible. I look at my own neighbors and fellow church members (boatloads of FL Conservatives) — who will drive anyone to the doctor and sit with them, who volunteer hours at the community food bank, who would readily inconvenience themselves to lend someone a helping hand. And yet… so many of them cannot extend that self-sacrificing love beyond their safe little circle to the “others,” whether the “others” are across town or overseas. I think they are afraid, their fear is hugely out of proportion to any real danger, and that the fear is instilled in them… by design (which sounds like a crazy conspiracy), or by accident. Truly, fear is a social sickness that spreads like a virus or group hysteria.

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    • Yes, I also know many people like that … they appear to have a heart of gold … unless you are a Muslim, a black, or gay. They are an oxymoron unto themselves. And yes, fear is a great motivator and Trump ran his entire campaign on fear … he instilled fear of primarily Muslims, but other groups as well, and his message got across to far too many. And he continues to do so today, but now he is so obviously attempting to widen the already monumental divisiveness in this country. Divide and conquer?

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      • It’s the classic technique isn’t it? Our own slimy Nigel Farage managed to convince enough people he was ‘one of them’ even though he plainly isn’t and stir up tensions about immigrants so successfully that he got Brexit without ever even being elected to the national parliament.

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        • Quite true!!! I have, more than once, compared Farage to Trump, and remember that Trump wanted Farage as the ambassador to the U.S. Two peas in a pod. And yes, ‘Divide and Conquer’ seems to work, as does another frightening saying, in light of the times … “United we stand, Divided we fall.” Sigh. Hugs, dear Mary!

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  8. It seems politics bring out the worst in ppl. But it also presents an opportunity to examine how we the ppl respond to such political rhetoric. We cannot control other ppl’s opinions, but we can become aware of our reaction to them. You are so right, whether left or right leaning, let us not devolve into monsters. Have compassion for our fellow man, for some know not what they do!
    Mr. Trump, i absolve you, our national blathering fool, lol.

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  9. One thing I am sure of: most of those who profess from on high how “Christian” they are, generally are NOT. And if someone does kill a journalist because of Drumpf, you can be sure he will blame that journalist. He has no conscience, no moral code, nothing that would ever lead him to see things as they actually are.

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    • I agree with your assessment of the Christians who remind us on a constant basis of their great Christianity. I gave up on religion long ago, but if I had not, I would now.

      And yes, Trump would blame the dead journalist, just as he is now blaming Puerto Rico for it’s devastation and troubles in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and as he blamed the Mayor of San Juan for the fact that her people are dying from lack of food, water and medicine. This man has, as you say, no conscience or moral code … there is only one person of importance in his universe, and that is himself. How the Sam Heck did this nation ever elect him???? 😥

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  10. What’s stopping the semi intelligent is fear. Fear of losing their “stuff”…their status, their jobs, their popularity, etc. What disgusts me is the lack of any kind of dignity or respect; and the “common man” is now that bigoted backwoods bufoon that used to be an anomoly. People think if they turn their heads and don’t look under their beds there will be no boogey man. They put themselves in the dark in apathy. There is no fight in them and that frightens me more than anything else. Subjugate yourselves, your children and your life for a houseful of electronic devices and a golden ticket to get you through the pearly gates driving a 4×4 monster truck with a ten foot tattered flag trailing behind…..

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    • Y’know … I think you have a good point there. In order to fight the good fight, we have to be willing to make some sacrifices, to give up, perhaps, some of life’s conveniences, and many are afraid to do that. Perhaps they see it as a sign of failure. I have been having an internal argument with myself for a couple of weeks now about Amazon. Amazon is a great convenience for me, because with failing vision, going to a shopping mall is more of a trauma than pleasure. So, I do most of my shopping through Amazon, where I get free 2-day shipping and have never had a problem in years. I also order most household supplies there. But, in light of the fact that they refuse to stop advertising on Breitbart, my conscience is telling me that I ought to sever ties with them. Yet I am lief to give up the convenience. I think you just helped me make that decision, though.

      And yes, too many people are turning their heads, not looking under their beds and into their closets for fear of what they might find. They are hoping this will just … go away. The Jews in Germany hoped the same in 1938.

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