Just hours after the shooter in Washington DC took to the field targeting Republican lawmakers, Breitbart took to the internet in order to score as many political points from the hysteria as possible. Especially because just moments after the shooting ceased, information on the shooter himself and his political affiliations started to trickle out.
James Hodgkinson’s social media accounts were quickly scrutinized and both his Facebook cover photo and profile picture make his political affiliation abundantly clear.
He was a Bernie Sanders supporters.
Hodgkinson’s political views are worth mentioning, especially because he pretty explicitly targeted Republican lawmakers in this attack. That said, linking this attack to any politician or political ideology, and not just a deranged gunman, is playing politics with tragedy and shows the darkest side of the disgusting underbelly of American politics. One person’s fanaticism doesn’t say anything about the broad base message of justice Bernie Sanders has pushed for decades, it just shows that people like Hodgkinson have a sick and deranged view of the world where violence is acceptable.
The fanaticism is the problem, not the people fanatics choose to latch onto, unless of course people are made driven to fanaticism from a political siren call which feeds their hatred and serves to dehumanize their political opponents.
To the extent that people like Bernie Sanders dehumanize Republican lawmakers and portray them as evildoers and not actors in a less than perfect system, those sentiments can be problematic. However that is never something Bernie Sanders has never done, his message is one of a corrupt establishment, but it’s also abundantly clear he is talking about broader systemic problems that capture legislators and force them into a box.
Bernie Sanders himself discussed the shooting from the senate floor and harshly condemned the act of senseless violence.
“I am sickened by this despicable act, and let me as clear as I can be, violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.” Bernie Sanders stated. He continued, “real change can only come about through nonviolent action and anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values”.
Bernie Sanders didn’t mince words. This was not connected to him or his ideology, even if the attacker latched onto his movement at one time or another. Bernie’s Iowa campaign chief told CNN that nobody remembers Hodgkinson, “he’s not anybody, anyone can remember” and that there were over 10,000 volunteers at the time and Hodgkinson was not among the paid volunteers on the campaign.
The fact that Breitbart will openly take to the internet hours after the event to smear Bernie Sanders is despicable enough, but to do so when Bernie Sanders has spoken out in no uncertain terms is telling of Breitbart and how far they are willing to go to further their fringe ideology.