From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/opinion/hate-is-on-the-ballot-next-week.html
Don’t let the whataboutists and bothsiders tell you it isn’t.
By Paul Krugman
Oct. 29, 2018
In America 2018, whataboutism is the last refuge of scoundrels, and bothsidesism is the last refuge of cowards.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re in the midst of a wave of hate crimes. Just in the past few days, bombs were mailed to a number of prominent Democrats, plus CNN. Then, a gunman massacred 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Meanwhile, another gunman killed two African-Americans at a Louisville supermarket, after first trying unsuccessfully to break into a black church — if he had gotten there an hour earlier, we would probably have had another mass murder.
All of these hate crimes seem clearly linked to the climate of paranoia and racism deliberately fostered by Donald Trump and his allies in Congress and the media.
Killing black people is an old American tradition, but it is experiencing a revival in the Trump era.
When the bombs were discovered, many on the right immediately claimed that they were fake news or a false flag operation by liberals. But the F.B.I. quickly tracked down the apparent source of the explosive devices: A fanatical Trump supporter, whom many are already calling the MAGABomber. His targets were people and a news organization Trump has attacked in many speeches. (Since the bombings, Trump has continued to attack the news media as the “enemy of the people.”)
The man arrested at the Tree of Life synagogue has been critical of Trump, who he apparently believes isn’t anti-Semitic enough. But his rage seems to have been fueled by a conspiracy theory being systematically spread by Trump supporters — the claim that Jewish financiers are bringing brown people into America to displace whites.
This conspiracy theory is, it turns out, a staple of neo-Nazis in Europe. It’s what our own neo-Nazis — whom Trump calls “very fine people” — were talking about in Charlottesville last year, when they chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”
It’s also the barely veiled subtext of the manufactured hysteria over the caravan of would-be migrants from Central America. The fearmongers aren’t just portraying a small group of frightened, hungry people still far from the United States border as a looming invasion. They have also been systematically implying that Jews are somehow behind the whole thing. There’s a straight line from Fox News coverage of the caravan to the Tree of Life massacre.
So how are Trump apologists dealing with this ugly picture? Partly through denial, pretending not to see any link between hateful rhetoric and hate crimes. But also through attempts to spread the blame by claiming that Democrats are just as bad if not worse. Trump supporters try to kill his critics? Well, some Trump opponents have yelled at politicians in restaurants!
This whataboutism doesn’t stop with equating protests with violence. It also relies on outright lying.
Continue reading at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/opinion/hate-is-on-the-ballot-next-week.html