They can’t help themselves.
If you’ve ever doubted the fundamental foolishness and ghoulishness of the American right, just watch—if you can bear it—the right’s reaction to today’s March for Our Lives. If you think the rhetorical assaults on anti-gun-violence American youth in the days leading up to this march were bad, as Bachman-Turner Overdrive famously put it, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
The sight of young people standing up against the NRA angers right-wingers almost as much as the sight of a black man in the White House. Just as the loathsome Laura Ingraham wanted LeBron James to shut up and dribble, so too do her right-wing media colleagues want these young adults to shut up and play video games. They couldn’t stand young people standing up against the Vietnam War fifty years ago. They couldn’t stand young people standing up against the Iraq War fifteen years ago. They can’t stand this march now.
Right-wingers brought this problem upon their own heads. They had a choice after the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan 37 years ago this month. They could have taken steps to ensure that firearms could be kept away from the mentally unbalanced. They could have recognized that their own political heroes were at risk due to easy access to firearms in this country. They chose to bow in subservience to the NRA, just as they chose to bow in subservience to Donald Trump.
Think about the fundamental stupidity of the right-wing’s scorn of these young Americans. These future leaders are trying to save lives—including the lives of right-wingers. The young people who will march today are, in the most accurate sense of the phrase, pro-life activists—yet it’s the right that seeks to abort their movement and silence their voices.
The right has been vile to young activists before. Back in 2007, then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann described the right’s declaration of war against a 12-year-old advocate for health care protections:
In December 2004, Bonnie Frost‘s car, carrying three of her four kids, hit a patch of black ice, and then it hit a tree. Her son Graeme and her daughter Gemma spent months in the hospital. Because the Frosts earned less than $55,000 a year, the federal S-CHIP program helped with their bills. Graeme and Gemma got the care they needed.
Last month, Graeme asked President Bush to extend S-CHIP to other low-income and middle-class kids. The right wing responded by calling for Graeme to die…
S-CHIP currently covers six million children too poor for insurance but not poor enough for Medicaid. But a growing number of Americans, two out of five, are not covered by employer insurance; 47 million don‘t have any health insurance. That number is also up. The number of uninsured children increasing by 600,000 last year alone.
So Democrats want to expand S-CHIP to cover four million more kids. The cost: $7 billion a year. Enough Republicans agree that the Senate approved the expansion with a veto-proof majority. The House vote was about 20 short of veto-proof, so the president vetoed it. The House will try again on Thursday.
In the meantime, the right has targeted Graeme and his family. Rush Limbaugh and others spreading extraordinary, easily disproved lies that have been posted online anonymously about them, portraying them as rich and dishonest parasites. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s office is reportedly collecting those lies and disseminating them to the media. And a Bush staffer named Nicholas D. Thompson of the Office of Strategic Initiatives choosing a blog called RedState to post a defense of the president two days after the Baltimore Sun had revealed on its front page that another poster at the same blog had called for the public hanging of Graeme and his family.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the Maine Republican who called Emma Gonzalez, one of the courageous survivors of the perversity in Parkland, a “skinhead lesbian.” That fellow was motivated by the same hatred that motivated the right-wingers who attacked the Frost family. The American right knows nothing but hate, and knows nothing of love. So many of these right-wingers claim to be Christian, but there’s no doubt that if Jesus Christ proclaimed his solidarity with the young people marching today, right-wing media figures would tell him to go to hell.