Violence is Legitimate Political Discourse?

Maybe you heard? 

*Whispers* As far as Republicans are concerned, violence is now “legitimate political discourse.”

Of course, you’d have to have been paying really close attention to know it. It was Friday afternoon (2/4/22), when the Republican National Committee voted unironically to cancel—I mean, to “censure”—Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger for participating in the House investigation into the January 6th riots, because, according to the New York Times, the “resolution slam[ed] Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for taking part in the House investigation of the assault, saying they were participating in “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

But if you were looking away for even a second Friday, (maybe daydreaming about your weekend, about watching the Olympics or going for a hike), you’d have missed it. Because the Right-Wing Propaganda machine immediately kicked into full distraction mode, shouting blindly into the Twitterverse about Joe Rogan and Canadian truckers. 

“Joe Rogan will never be safe on Spotify” complained frequent Fox News contributor Dinesh D’Souza. Safe? Safe?? Rogan isn’t “safe” on Spotify—where he’s being paid a 100 million dollar contract to host his podcast—but the assault on the Capitol and the way that then-President Trump directly and personally incited it was legitimate political discourse?

Or there was former OANN nutjob Jack Posobiec, who needed his Twitter audience of 1.6 million to know that, “I would rather live in a country run by truckers and farmers than a country run by journalists and academics.” (Yes, conservatives are among the best at posing false equivalences for their audience’s hypothetical consideration.)

Or Donald Trump Jr. trying to cancel (I mean…censure?) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for his comments about Rogan, or frequent Fox contributor Matt Walsh gleefully mocking the Spotify employees who had to spend a week caught in the middle of the Rogan scandal. 

According to The Times, “​​After the vote, party leaders rushed to clarify that language, saying it was never meant to apply to rioters who violently stormed the Capitol in Mr. Trump’s name.” 

“But,” the report continues, “the censure, which was carefully negotiated in private among party members, made no such distinction, nor is the House committee investigating the attack examining any normal political debate. It was the latest and most forceful effort by the Republican Party to minimize what happened and the broader attempt by Mr. Trump and his allies to invalidate the results of the 2020 election. In approving it and opting to punish two of its own, Republicans seemed to embrace a position that many of them have only hinted at: that the assault and the actions that preceded it were acceptable.”

And just as the Right-Wing Propaganda machine kicked into full distract and deflect mode, so, too, did more “sensible” republican lawmakers. According to that same Times article, “Most House Republicans tried to ignore the actions of the party on Friday, refusing to answer questions or saying they had not read the censure resolution. Representative Dan Crenshaw, Republican of Texas, called it “dumb stuff,” while Representative Mark Green, Republican of Tennessee, lamented the distraction from “this abysmal administration’s record.”For herself, Liz Cheny had this to say on Twitter in response to the censure: she captioned a video of January 6th rioters fighting police officers and breaking windows at the Capitol, “This was January 6th. This is not “legitimate political discourse.””

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