Trout Fisting In America #17 – Assassination

It’s like my dad used to say: assassination makes two asses out of I and the nation. Of course like a lot of things my dad used to say, it makes no fucking sense at all, but there you go.

Speaking of assassination, last week a guy shot congressman Steve Scalise with the intent of making him well and truly dead. There’s a lot of ironies in all this, a lot of ideological chickens coming home to roost. Scalise, naturally, is a big gun rights guy, earning an A+ from the National Rifle Association. This means he advocates (or advocated—we’ll have to ask him about his position again if/when he wakes up) for domestic violence offenders to own guns even though there’s a clear link between domestic violence and mass shootings. Naturally, the guy who shot him had a previous domestic violence connection. Scalise is fiercely anti-LGBTQ rights, and a queer woman named Crystal Griner helped save his life. He’s also racist enough to compare himself favorably to former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke, and of course Crystal Griner is black—and married, Scalise has repeatedly voted against gay marriage. And she was wounded in the process of saving him, meaning Crystal Griner risked her life to save a man who sees her as less than human, or at least undeserving of the same rights as humans like himself.

But while the story’s dripping with irony, it’s not an especially interesting irony. It’s more like the contradictions that pile-up when you live life as a bigot and make a living off other people’s bigotry and sad pathetic fears. If your ethos revolves around the idea that some humans are less human than you are, that ethos is going to get proven wrong again and again. That’s not irony so much as you’re just a dumb misguided motherfucker. If I think gravity isn’t real so I walk under a falling piano and get crushed to death, yeah it’s a little ironic, but it’s a whole lot of other things too.

So as I write this, Scalise is still in critical condition, and other republican congresspersons are so shaken that while their current position on guns isn’t going to change any time soon —it’s currently ‘every white person gets a gun no matter what’—they were literally crying on the floor of the House.

Now I’ve called my congressman more times than I’m willing to admit (Hi Jody Hice!), and I’ve been involved in plenty of protests and marches, but I’ve never made a congressman cry. In fact as far as I can tell, I haven’t had any effect whatsoever—Jody voted against the first Trumpcare bill like I asked him to, but he only did it because that particular bill wasn’t cruel enough.  Sandy Hook didn’t affect these people, Trayvon Martin didn’t affect them. But this, scared the hell out of them, this touched them on a deep, personal level.

It makes me wonder if maybe I’ve been doing this protest thing all wrong.

It’s as if it never occurred to these cognresspeople that if you arm the entire country, justified in part by the idea that you need these guns to protect yourself from the government, someone might take one of these guns and point it at a congressperson. But then there’s nothing more American than living in your own selfish bubble and not giving a shit about anyone but yourself. In America, nothing is a tragedy until it happens to you or someone you know. Until then, fuck everyone else. We think about politics the way think about our favorite sports team—it’s good when my side does it but evil when your side does it—and it’s a big part of the reason we’re well and truly fucked as a country. It’s how you get right-wingers decrying the ‘liberal hate’ that fueled last week’s attack while a talentless draft-dodging coward like Ted Nugent called for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to be hung for treason without a single republican caring. Even today, Nugent appears regularly on the most popular news channel in the US and was recently invited to the White House as a guest of honor courtesy of our new president. There’s no word strong enough to convey the rank hypocrisy, the bent & twisted fanaticism, the maggot-infested corruption that is the US right-wing.  Propaganda for a paycheck, fueled by billionaires who want to keep more of their money. It’s sick. Not that left-wingers aren’t capable of propaganda, but at this point the republican party is only propaganda, it’s only corruption. It’s more grift than government, and while some US citizens might be confused or misguided about how and why this is happening, they aren’t stupid. The government that runs this country is fucked; it hasn’t cared about the middle-class or the lower class in 30 years, and it has no intention of even listening to them. That’s true of both parties.

Now I’m not saying we should all go get guns and start shooting at congresspeople. Historically speaking, violence only begets violence, and once people start shooting it’s almost impossible to get them to stop (see the past 100yrs of dumb US foreign policy and weapon sales). And if Clive Bundy and Osama Bin Laden and this week’s shooter have anything in common, it’s this: when people think you aren’t listening to them, they tend to turn violent. This government doesn’t listen to its citizens. Most of the time it doesn’t even pretend to. That’s a serious problem, and one that needs to be rectified—quick. The only thing I hope happens from this week’s shooting is that our government becomes better listeners.

Not that I have any hope of that ever happening. I mean, while I was driving today I saw a sticker on the back window of a jeep featuring Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes pissing on the word CANCER. It reminded me that we live in a country so defined by stupid smug self-satisfied meanness that even our prayers for health are petty & arrogant. It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of this country when there are rats in a laboratory mere hours from death who have a better understanding of cause & effect than most Americans.

Because in the US, killing people with a gun for a deliberate reason is the work of a madman, but killing people indiscriminately as a result of your inhumane policies—that’s good politics, or freedom, or patriotism, or some other bullshit. There is nothing more American than the idea that it’s okay to kill people indirectly, from a distance—whether it be through politics that deny people access to health care, or bombs dropped from a tremendous height. These are considered sane, rational acts, but to shoot someone on purpose, to send a message to someone in power, that’s the work of a madman.

But I ask you, who is more of a violent sociopath, a person who votes against the Violence Against Women act and advocates cutting social programs for the most vulnerable in our society (political positions that will almost certainly lead to unnecessary suffering & death), or a person who shoots that person because of their positions?

It’s a trick question. They’re both violent sociopaths. But then these days, I’m starting to think so aren’t most americans. It may even be our defining characteristic.

 

Trout Fisting In America here every Tuesday. We’re going to keep going until we reach #50, or until the Trout begs for mercy. Check out previous installments HERE.

 

 

About ScottCreney

Scott Creney lives in Athens, Georgia. He is the author of "Dear Al-Qaeda: Letters to the World’s Most Notorious Terror Organiztion".
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