Pittsburgh: Trump is talking about Ali Velshi, an MSNBC reporter. Velshi was legally covering a protest from the location designated by authorities when he was hit in the knee by a rubber bullet and fell to the ground in agony.
The reporter's apparent crime? He's a reporter.
After Trump described the scene as "the most beautiful thing" and "a beautiful sight," the crowd roared with delight.
There were many such moments during last night's Trump rally in Pittsburgh.
We must not grow numb to how dangerous Trump is and how frighteningly unAmerican his supporters are. Press freedom is a bedrock American principle enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Perhaps his supporters need to be reminded that it comes right before the part about bearing arms.
We can quibble over the use of words like fascist because Trump doesn't tick every single box in the definition, but Trump is undeniably a lawless, authoritarian demagogue and his supporters are thug-loving bullies. Trump and his supporters are certainly no better than fascists.
A thought about culpability: If we're going to excuse Trump's supporters as people who are reacting to the circumstance of being left out, forgotten, the victims of rapid change and globalization--if we are going to say that personal agency doesn't exist for them-- then we must excuse looters, socialists, and the frightened liberals who use intemperate language, and perhaps even the politicians and billionaires who are reacting to the incentives and pressures that accompany their positions in life. What we should not do is carve out a special moral exception for racists and authoritarians, as if they lack all personal agency, while judging everyone else by standards that recognize agency.
Perhaps this calls for a discussion of free will, agency, and situationism, but I can assure you that I have no more satisfying answers to the problems of free will and agency than anyone else.