Maxine Waters Must Be Censured
Will Republican leaders finally hold Democrats accountable for their reckless rhetoric this time? After Maxine Waters delivered her latest incendiary comment calling for the harassment of Trump officials, Representative Andy Biggs introduced a bill calling for her censure. Even Paul Ryan, whose instinct is to always steer clear of any controversy, called for her to apologize. That may not seem like much, but given the Republican reluctance to confront Democrats – especially when the Democrat in question happens to be a woman and a minority – it is an improvement. Nevertheless, if history is any guide, the GOP will back down and once again will let the Democrats off the hook.
A year ago, the Republicans allowed the Democrats to hide behind a call of unity and civility, and escape responsibility for their rhetoric.James Hodgkinson, the man who opened fire on Republican lawmakers as they were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, left a long and detailed record of his political leanings and the motivation behind the attack, including a political assassination list the FBI recovered on his body. He even went so far as to ask a couple of lawmakers leaving early to avoid traffic whether the individuals on the field were "Democrats or Republicans". Once he had the answer he was looking for, he calmly proceeded to carry out his heinous task. As soon as his name was announced, within minutes social media was filled with his rantings against Trump and Republicans along with his support for Bernie Sanders. Unlike the Portland incident a few weeks earlier -- when another Bernie Sanders supporter murdered two individuals trying to protect a Muslim woman from his bigoted rantings -- this time the Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media were not able to characterize the attacker as a "white supremacist”. They were not able to generate false headlines and then quickly move on to the next story and, thus keep the public in the dark as to the real source of the violence. The Democrats were cornered -- and then the usual Republican eunuchs came along.
"An attack on one is an attack on all of us" declared Speaker Paul Ryan before the House of Representatives. He received a rapturous standing ovation. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi followed him by saying that she "identified with the Speaker's comments". More rapturous applause. The president, too, delivered vanilla unity remarks that won the praise of his relentless nemesis Stephen Colbert. But the applause and praise did not usher in a new kind of politics or a more civil discourse. As soon as the Alexandria shooting fell from headlines, the Democrats were back to their old habits and, after every shooting or act of violence, rushed to put a MAGA hat on the perpetrator, the latest example being the shooting at the Capital Gazette.
The same Republican eunuchs stood by and allowed the Democrats to promote the false narrative of a racist cop killing an innocent –- a gentle giant, we were told -- Michael Brown. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus took to the floor of the House, raising their hands while saying “Hands up. Don’t shoot!" As public unrest ravaged Ferguson, Missouri, Democratic elected officials casually asserted that “Michael Brown could have been my son” while on Sunday talk show panels. Sitting next to them, Republican politicos simply nodded in agreement. Not one of them had the courage to ask them, “You teach your son to rob a convenience store? You teach your son to steal a weapon from a police officer?” No demands for an apology from the Congressional Black Caucus after the Brown-driven “Hands Up” narrative was shown to be false. The fear of being labeled racist, which happens regardless of what Republicans say or do, simply paralyzes them.
GOP reluctance to hold Democrats accountable for their reckless rhetoric has only emboldened the far left. It is no wonder that Waters had no hesitation in calling for the harassment of Trump officials. Now that she is cornered, Republicans must hold her responsible and censure her. Unless Democrats are held accountable, their rhetoric will continue to escalate, the social tension will continue to grow, and and it will yield tragic results.