Legendary reporter Dan Rather spoke out on Facebook today, condemning Donald Trump for using language clearly intended to incite violence that the newsman understands all too well.
The previous call to action on Facebook by the CBS Evening News’ longtime former host came at a time earlier this summer when the entire mainstream news media seemed have gleefully abandoned their duty to carefully parse the words and ideas of Republican candidates for President and suddenly remembered that in fact, the job of the press is to vet political candidates – just imagine – while they are still running for office.
Media outlets who openly gave Trump a free pass for the primary elections starting last summer, shamelessly competing against each other in a shameful pursuit of ratings, no matter how outrageous or awful Trump’s behavior has been, have pivoted and begun to insert real time fact checks of the pathological liar candidate.
Now, the narcissistic candidate is bathing in the ceaseless throes of the 24 hour news cycle, while performing increasingly irrational and more dangerous acts of extreme offense, just to try to stay in the spotlight without buying media coverage.
Dan Rather’s forceful condemnation of Trump’s incitement to violence with his “Second Amendment people” comes on the heels of the Republican candidate selling out his entire working class base by pledging allegiance to voodoo economics yesterday in Detroit.
To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient.
The rhetoric is the candidate.
This cannot be treated as just another outrageous moment in the campaign. We will see whether major newscasts explain how grave and unprecedented this is and whether the headlines in tomorrow’s newspapers do it justice. We will soon know whether anyone who has publicly supported Trump explains how they can continue to do.
We are a democratic republic governed by the rule of law. We are an honest, fair and decent people. In trying to come to terms with today’s discouraging development the best I can do is to summon our greatest political poet Abraham Lincoln for perspective:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
The sad part of all of this is that Trump isn’t going to even be the first member of his campaign to get investigated by the Secret Service in the course of this campaign, or even in just the last four weeks. Trump veteran’s advisor Al Baldasaro made headlines at the Cleveland RNC by calling for “traitor” Hillary Clinton to be executed by firing squad, and calls for Secretary Clinton’s death are a common refrain at his rallies.
Dan Rather is absolutely right. We are not witnessing a normal election at all, and his inescapable conclusion should dictate the response of the rational adults in the room who are watching re-runs of the latest low point in this year’s Republican campaign:
“This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law.”
Looks like the Secret Service agrees:
The Secret Service is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) August 9, 2016
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition.