From Virtue Signaling to Political Violence

Empower Texans Capitol Correspondent, Austin Goss, contributed to this story.

The term “virtue signaling” has only taken off in popularity as recently as 2015, when it first saw widespread use following an article by James Bartholomew in “The Spectator.” Essentially defined as advertising a position, or virtue, more for garnering approval than for the principle of the matter, the practice is reaching unprecedented levels following the 2016 general election.

The growing cacophony of dissent, largely generated by the successes of the Trump campaign, has led to an escalation of rhetoric to the point of implying or inciting real-world violence. As put by outspoken conservative British MEP Daniel Hannan, “Virtue signaling is competitive. When all your friends are anti-Trump, you have to go further.”

By far, one of the most contrived tales articulated by the political left is the belief that fiscal conservatives simply don’t care about the poor or those in genuine need of a hand-up. By their reasoning, if you don’t entrust critical industries like health care to government control and throw endless piles of debt at hand-outs, you somehow don’t care.

As “protectors” of the poor and downtrodden, projecting progressive values simply isn’t enough in today’s political arena. Many progressives now feel the pressure to publicize that they’re more passionate than the next, and demonstrate that the people who disagree with them can only be explained by cruelty and heartlessness. There’s nothing practitioners of virtue-signaling love more than foisting admiration upon each other in a well-choreographed and clichéd hatred of all things conservative, irrespective of legitimate policy disagreements.

In an age when Democrats, most particularly their leaders, are being roundly rejected by middle America, at the ground level newly-minted and self-appointed activists are finding kinship in others who’ve identified a golden opportunity in a Trump presidency. It should be no wonder that the president elicits strong responses for his character flaws.

But what justification is there in advocating violent revolts and normalizing threats of assassination and/or murder? What happened to airing grievances through peaceful protests, movements, and at the ballot box?

Besides, for all the misgivings about him, the president’s agenda is not so radical, and certainly a far cry from fascist – a grossly misused characterization that has been stretched and warped beyond recognition in an effort to pin the label on the new administration and anyone who doesn’t share a liberal worldview.

Texas Scorecard thus took to the task of cataloging more recent examples of violent acts, speech, jokes, commentary, and whatever else we could find to get a better grasp of the extent of today’s far-left rhetoric. In fairness, the political right is far from immune to extremism, but there exists no shortage of articles and coverage of those events.

Accordingly, what follows is a mere eight-month sample of events which should make any American stop and think about where political discourse is headed and how it could possibly get any worse.

November 2016

  • 11th – In an Instagram post, Lea DeLaria, an actress in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, says that she “wants to take Trump supporters out with a baseball bat.”
  • 15th – Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire and conservative talk show host Ben Shapiro is barred by DePaul University from speaking on campus, after having previously receiving permission to do so.
  • 16th – Corey Cataldo, 24, a New Yorker wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, is assaulted by a large man on a subway. The man was quoted as saying, “Great, another white Trump supporter.”
  • Ben Shapiro is rushed while on stage by leftist protesters who sought to shut him down while speaking at an event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an all-too-common occurrence at his speaking events.
  • 23rd – In a tweet to her followers, Rosie O’Donnell shares a video questioning whether Barron Trump has autism. She later apologized to the current First Lady and family.

December 2016

  • 14th – Olivia Corn, President of the Cornell University Young Republicans Club, reports having been shoved to the pavement following the presidential election the previous month.
  • 29th – In an interview, actor Charlie Sheen says that he “prays for God to kill Trump.” When asked again at a later date, Sheen stood by his original statement.

January 2017

  • 11th – State Rep. Tony Tinderholt of Texas is given a larger police security detail, in response to receiving numerous death threats for a bill he filed that would have banned abortion in the state of Texas.
  • 20th – The day of President Trump’s inauguration, protestors across the nation, most particularly in the nation’s capital city, took to violent means as ways to disrupt the festivities of inauguration day. The media covered these protests extensively.
  • 21st – At a Women’s March in Washington, D.C, pop star Madonna said that she often fantasized about “blowing up the White House.”
  • 31st – Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, former running mate to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calls for Democrats to “fight in the streets” against Trump.

February 2017

  • 1st – While attempting to speak at the University of California at Berkeley, political commentator and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is shut down by violent protesters, who vandalize public property and injure several other counter-protesters.
  • Following the protests at UC-Berkeley, “comedian” Sarah Silverman in a tweet calls for a military coup against President Trump.
  • 14th – A 71-year-old woman who works for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) is assaulted during a protest by leftists outside the representative’s office.
  • 28th – In a video, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch urges viewers to “march, bleed, and die” in the streets.

March 2017

  • 2nd – Violent protesters at Middlebury College in Vermont shut down author and speaker Charles Murray, resulting in a professor at the school becoming severely injured with a concussion.
  • 14th – Rapper Snoop Dogg creates a music video in which he assassinates a clown that is an exact look-alike of President Trump.
  • 15th – In a tweet, Bow Wow, a rapper and associate of Snoop Dogg, threatens to “pimp out” the First Lady if the President reacts negatively to Snoop Dogg’s grotesque music video.
  • 16th – In an interview with TMZ, actor Adam Pally says that if he could spend an hour in a time machine with anyone, he would “have to kill either Trump or Hitler.”
  • 28th – Chris Matthews, a host on MSNBC, likens Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to Saddam Hussein’s children.

April 2017

  • 27th – Ann Coulter, a famous author and Republican commentator, has a speaking event at UC-Berkeley canceled by the university. The university, as well as the city, said that they would be unable to keep Coulter and the event attendees safe.

May 2017

  • 2nd – An official with the Tucson school district in Arizona is arrested, after calling and threatening Congresswoman Martha McSally’s (R-Arizona) office, telling her that “her days were numbered.”
  • Amongst other unsuccessful attempts at comedy, late night host Stephen Colbert calls President Trump “Vladmir Putin’s c*** holster”
  • Buzzfeed, the radical left news outlet known for their false propagation of the “Golden Showers” story, has multiple staffers caught joking about and hoping for the assassination of President Trump.
  • 8th – A woman is charged with felony reckless endangerment for attempting to drive Congressman David Kustoff’s (R-Tennessee) car off the road.
  • 21st – Congressman Tom Garrett (R-Virginia) cancels a town hall meeting in his district, after receiving phone calls threatening his wife’s life.
  • 26th – Linwood Caine, son of Senator Tim Kaine (R-Virginia), is charged on three different counts while protesting outside of a Donald Trump rally in Minnesota.
  • 26th – Students at Evergreen State University in Washington assault Bret Weinstein, a biology professor who refused to leave campus on the “day of solidarity,” when all white people were asked to leave campus. He later quit and moved himself and his family, after being told he was no longer safe at the school by university officials. Vandals at the university caused over $10,000 in property damage.
  • 29th – On the floor of the Texas House, Republican State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) has his life threatened and is assaulted on the House floor by Democrat State Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) and several other Democratic lawmakers.

June 2017

  • 1st – In a photo shoot, “comedian” Kathy Griffin takes a photo of her holding what appears to be the bloody decapitated head that looks exactly like President Trump.
  • 10th- Lisa Solomon, a protester with the terroristic AntiFa group, stabs a police horse with a nail on the end of a makeshift weapon.
  • 9th – Reza Aslan, formerly employed by CNN, is fired after calling President Trump a “piece of s***,” which is just one of a few of his profane tweets against Republicans from the past.
  • 11th – Following the terrorist attack on the London Bridge, CNN is caught staging a Muslim peace protest prior to their live broadcast in downtown London.
  • 13th – A production/remake of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in New York City features a Donald Trump look-alike playing the part of Julius Caesar. As history goes, the character, “Caesar,” is assassinated later in the play.
  • 14th – At a Republican field practice for the annual Congressional Baseball game, a radicalized leftist shows up to the park in Arlington, Virginia and begins to shoot at the Republicans in a politically motivated attack, wounding a congressman and several others in the process.
  • 15th – Following the shooting at the Republican’s baseball practice, many mainstream figures in the left media attempt to justify the shooting based on the victim, Congressman Steve Scalise’s (R-Louisiana), conservative viewpoints while he was still hospitalized in critical condition. In reference, particularly to Scalise’s conservative views on Obamacare and traditional marriage, Joy Reid, host of AM Joy on MSNBC, questioned, “Because he is in jeopardy and everybody is pulling for him, are we required in a moral sense to put that aside in the moment?”
  • On Twitter, a Democrat operative from New Jersey, James Devine, started the hashtag #HuntRepublicans, a trend for which he never apologized.
  • Chelsea Gentry-Tipton, head of the Nebraska Democratic Black Caucus, tweeted that she was “laughing” about the congressional baseball shooting.
  • 15th – Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-New York) received a voicemail following the shooting that threatened “1 down, 216 to go,” a reference to the number of Republicans currently in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • 19th – The pop band Moby blows up a Nazi Donald Trump in their animated music video.
  • 20th – Speaking to his supporters at a health care rally, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) calls on his followers to act in an “unprecedented way” against the Republican health care bill. Sanders furthered asks his followers to “stand up and fight back in every way you can”
  • 21st – Antonio Foreman, body guard to well-known alt-right figure “Baked Alaska,” is stabbed multiple times by two attackers, supposedly while leaving a pro-Trump event. Those associated with him claim that the attacks were politically motivated.
  • 22nd – Actor Johnny Depp makes a joke to a crowd about assassinating President Trump: “When was the last time an actor assassinated the President?”
  • 23rd – Phil Montag, co-chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, is caught on tape saying that he wishes Congressman Steve Scalise was “f***ing dead.”

 

Photo: Derek Simeone

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sal is the Budget & Policy Analyst for Empower Texans. He has been a committed proponent of American founding principles since 2007, shortly after receiving his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Before joining Empower Texans, he served as legislative director for Rep. Matt Rinaldi in the Texas house and was a delegate to the 2012 RNC. In his leisure, Sal enjoys live music, digital photography, guitar, bicycling, trivia, and documentary films.

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