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In Trump’s America Not Even Terrorists Attacks Unite Us

Ten pipe-bombs and counting have been mailed to current and former high-ranking government officials, including two former-presidents, a former-vice president and a current member of congress. They were also mailed to two US citizens and a news organization. These attempted terrorist attacks against our country, however, have not served to unite Americans as past attacks have. Why is that?

Maybe it’s because the attacks failed to reach their targets.

Maybe it’s because they didn’t kill or maim the postal workers and law enforcement officers who handled the explosives.

Maybe it’s because many are OK with the people who were targeted. Though, I refuse to believe we’re that far removed from decency.

The real reason why Trump’s followers are unwilling to take these attacks against America seriously is because it would require them to own up to Trump’s role in causing them and his inability to be the kind of leader who can comfort and unite.

The targets, people Trump has accused of trying to destroy the country or do harm to his supporters, essentially amounts to an enemies list for the president, regardless of the motivation of the bomber. To place these attacks in the proper framing would require his followers to acknowledge what is obvious: someone was listening to the hate Trump’s been spewing from the campaign trail and from behind the presidential seal. This includes him explicitly calling on his supporters to commit acts of violence, demonizing the targeted people, spreading inflammatory conspiracy theories and calling the press, and especially CNN, the “enemy of the people.” Though it should be noted he did call for unity for almost an entire day before going back to attacking the press.

While I get that the reason his supporters overlook the un-presidential and un-American things Trump says is because they view it as harmless fun, they should now be able to see that’s not true.(Their idea of joking, by the way, is the same reason there are no funny conservative comedians.) It turns out denouncing your critics as enemies, stoking fear, pitting Americans against each other and constantly spreading lies just might have the predictable consequences everyone outside Trump-world foresaw.

Owning up to that, however, takes away some of the fun of “owning libs.” It’s kind of like how realizing big hits in football cause brain damage has caused them to no longer be included in highlight reels. If the Entertainer-in-Chief’s fans actually have to start thinking about the consequences of his unmeasured, untethered and unrestrained comments, they might have to come back to the reality that words matter.

They don’t want to do this, so instead we see many retreating to the last resort of people who cannot deal with reality. In the face of the mere possibility that these bombs where inspired by Trump and might have been made by people who are not foreign and brown, they have now begun to peddle the idea that the bombs aren’t real, or that Liberals are bombing themselves. “Fake News –Fake Bombs” read a sign held by one Trump supporter. “Lock her up,” yelled a crowd at a rally he held the same day someone tried to kill Hillary Clinton and the same day it was revealed our security experts are worried about his usage of an unsecured phone. The Dems are behind it bellowed Rush Limbaugh and other conservative blowhards.

Acknowledging reality has become so painful for these people that they’ve fully detached themselves from it. This leaves people on the outside of the bubble asking once again, “Even after the blatant lies, even after the child separation, even after siding with Nazis, even after the unprecedented levels of corruption, what will it take for his supporters to see what’s really going on?” Once again we are left with the same answer, “More.”

Brian M. Williams
Brian is the author of the recently published travel memoir "Stranger in a Stranger Land: My Six Years in Korea." (Click this profile for more information.) He's also a law school grad with Southern charm and Virginia roots. He recently returned to America after nearly seven years traveling and working abroad. He loves dive bars, international travel and foreign accents. He's particularly good at small talk and was the first person to notice there's no "I" in "team."

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