Rubio: You want to talk about defending democracy? Let’s talk about the Americans who are afraid to donate to political campaigns, to put a bumper sticker on their car… they’re afraid because they don’t want to get canceled pic.twitter.com/GfcdHigF7g— Acyn (@Acyn) January 12, 2022
That Marco Rubio--he's a funny guy, isn't he? I mean, not necessarily on purpose, but I can't help but think about how Rubio sounded so approving of Trump fans swarming a Biden bus, as if he was oblivious to the notion that this was actually physically threatening to people. Somehow, Rubio, in Florida, where there are no shortage of MAGA hats or Let's Go Brandon bumper stickers, really feels for those poor MAGAs who lack the mettle to do what they sure the fuck do in in the PA suburbs, which is go about their bad selves with all kinds of GOP signifiers, and not a small amount of III%er and NRA signifying as well. You know who Rubio isn't thinking of?
Shooting victims' family members who get death threats for speaking out about gun violence, people who are election workers or local government officials or school board members who are not afraid of being mildly socially snubbed (canceled) but have become afraid of getting like, really canceled. The Second Amendment kind of canceled. He's not bringing that up because he may even understand that political violence as a tool is getting disturbingly popular with right wing folks.
But you know. being canceled by liberals is the real threat to democracy. He's funny, all right.
What he's doing there is a little bit of whataboutism--claiming the other side is as bad or worse in some degree to distract from what we can all see his side doing. It creates a permission structure for his side to continue to support voter suppression tactics because he's alleging Democrats are suppressive too, so that makes it BOTH SIDES, which it doesn't, because voter suppression is real, and Republicans feeling sad because people look at them crossways when they wear their Fuck Your Feelings shirt in public is bullshit.
I love and I hate this term: permission structure. It was all over Twitter yesterday when Dr. Anthony Fauci hit back at Senator Rand Paul for fundraising off of the lying propaganda that resulted in Fauci and his family receiving death threats, with one armed miscreant even being recently arrested. The propaganda creates a permission structure for political violence. This explains a lot of the violence of the TrumpWorld Era for me. If you call the press the "lying press" (lugenpresse) then violence against journalists becomes fair. If you call immigrants vermin and criminals, then violence against immigrants becomes more acceptable to some people. And if Jews are called liberal elites who encourage immigration or control the media, you get synagogue shootings. And you get the hallmarks of fascism.
Of course, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul aren't the only people creating this space for excusing lies and violence. Ted Cruz, not done groveling after Tucker Carlson's withering denunciations, brought up the bizarre Epps/FBI conspiracy theory promoted by Carlson (and others) in a Senate hearing. This was subsequently shot down, but the odium of it remains. The conspiracy theory that certainly, the Deep State set the poor patriots of 1/6 up excuses the violence. It also creates a permission structure for further violence, because what the hell--why should there be any accountability at all?
After all. whatabout BLM and antifa? And what about the patriots who descended on the state houses of Michigan and Minnesota and Virginia (which Trump Tweeted approvingly of) to protest COVID restrictions? It's almost like 2020 had a narrative with a permission structure of violence baked in (by some baker or other) and 2021 school board/hospital protests are fueled by the same kind of destabilizing permission slip of propaganda and disinfo.
But this isn't just a TrumpWorld Era thing. The long-standing internet term IOKIYAR exists for a reason. We don't treat Newt Gingrich as a "disgraced former Speaker of the House who was too ethically-challenged for even his own party to stomach who gets down on his pudgy knees every night and thanks the Lord that Denny Hastert exists so that he's somehow not the worst Republican Speaker of the House in recent memory". We should though. We've abandoned looking back in anger at 9/11 and the Iraq War lies and Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (but shit--that both sides thing tho').
So, IMHO, the GOP permission structure kind of works so long as we let it, and don't tell unserious voidskulls like Rubio to shove his cancel culture up his ass. What about canceling books and whole college level law classes--and threatening to cancel all of Black History itself because they feel threatened that History is judging them for the way they are trying to bend the arc of it back from justice?
How about that?
We've seen this playbook for years. The Birchers claiming all liberals, but especially civil rights-oriented people, are "commies", to pretend that the struggle for equality under the law is some kind of un-American invasion. The Religious Right calling on feminists as Jezebels, and LGBT people as demonic, in order to dehumanize people to deny them their dignity and equality. A permission structure to deny people their humanity, their fundamental rights under the law.
Satanic/blood libel panics like Qanon, to even justify violence.
Their bullets are bullshit until they are real bullets. So they need to be confronted while they are mostly still bullshit. It helps that Rubio, Paul, and Cruz, former presidential candidates all clowned into submission by Trump, are all, just like Trump himself, clowns. But not if we fall for their killing joke.