Saturday, November 20, 2021

House Censures Arizona Republican Gosar For Violent Video

I would like to think that I am a valued member of the organization at which I am currently employed. Maybe, maybe not. 
Different executives probably have had different takes on that question. 
But regardless of my actual or perceived worth to my employer I am certain that if I were posting videos depicting my assault or murder of my co-workers and/or people higher up than me in the company hierarchy, I would immediately be looking for new employment. Having a reprimand placed in my HR file wouldn't suffice as a punishment for such actions. 
The modern Republican Party doesn't understand or care about such things. For them "joking" about assaulting or murdering political opponents is a normal function of being in government--at least as long as they are the ones making such "jokes" or comments. 

WASHINGTON — A bitterly divided U.S. House of Representatives voted narrowly on Wednesday to censure Representative Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona, for posting an animated video that depicted him killing a Democratic congresswoman and assaulting President Biden. 
The formal rebuke of the far-right congressman who has allied himself with white nationalists — the first censure since 2010 and only the 24th in the history of the republic — also stripped him of his committee assignments.
The vast majority of Republicans opposed the move against Mr. Gosar, whose conduct G.O.P. leaders have refused to publicly condemn, the latest sign of the party’s growing tolerance of menacing statements.
The vote was 223 to 207, with just two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joining Democrats in favor. One other Republican, Representative David Joyce of Ohio, voted “present.”
The vote, and the incendiary, emotional and personal debate leading up to it, laid bare the divisions of the moment, when Democrats say they must speak out against vicious threats and imagery that could give rise to the kind of violence that unfolded during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. That attack hung heavily over Wednesday’s debate.

Republicans and Democrats are similar in many ways but one important way in which they are not is that Republicans have normalized the idea of violence against political opponents in a way that Democrats just haven't done yet. 
That just two House Republicans, both of whom are already unpopular with their group, voted to censure Gosar, demonstrates that Republicans think the greater sin is defying the group, not joking about murdering people. 
In the classic book, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, a group of British boys, isolated survivors of an airplane crash, attempt to build a democratic society. One democratic feature is that everyone must be heard in council but must have the conch to speak while everyone else listens. 
One boy, Jack, doesn't like rules or order or respect other people's (weaker people's) rights. 
Jack and his followers resist the rules, becoming increasingly malevolent and dangerous until one night Jack drops a boulder on another boy, Piggy, while Piggy has the conch. The society falls apart and literally goes up in flames. 
Republicans want to smash the conch.
We're not there yet but Republicans, knowingly or otherwise, are doing everything they can to move this society to a Hobbesian state of war. Some look forward to this because they think that they are the strong ones with all the guns. 
Time will tell if they are correct. I can't see the future. But looking at the past, I know that when one side thinks that political violence is amusing, required, or to its advantage, nasty times are usually ahead. 
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