April 17, 2024

Shorter Tom Cotton: That dang free speech is for white Republicans, NOT you, hippies!

Chris Hayes takes the story from here:

CHRIS HAYES (HOST): Back in 2020, during the George Floyd protests, a United States senator penned a controversial op-ed in the New York Times, calling for the US military to be brought in to crush the protests in the streets, claiming those demonstrations were shot through with, quote, cadres of left-wing radicals like Antifa.

That was, of course, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

And that essay was hugely controversial, led to a revolt among staff at the Times, where leaders concluded it should not have been published. The top opinion editor ultimately resigned over the publishing of it.

We would later find out from an editor who actually worked on Cotton's essay, a self-identified conservative editor, that he had to soften Cotton's first draft by deleting, quote, several objectionable sentences, and adding that Cotton's desire for, essentially, mass violence on American streets by the state should not apply to, quote, peaceful protesters.

The result was still pretty objectionable, raised the question, how much worse is Tom Cotton when he doesn't have an editor trying to save him from himself?

Turns out there is an answer.

Because yesterday he posted this: "I encourage people who get stuck behind the pro-Hamas mobs blocking traffic, take matters into your own hands."

It's time to put an end to this nonsense.

That's a sitting US senator.

What he is calling pro-Hamas mobs are Americans, including from many Jewish groups, who are protesting and calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. According to most polls, that's not even a radical sentiment in America.

A majority of Americans, actually, want a ceasefire.

And Tom Cotton sure seems like he's calling for vigilante street violence against those people when they protest.

Wildly reckless, despicable behavior out of an elected official.

So a few minutes after publishing it, he edited the post to clarify that you should take matters into your own hands, "to get them out of the way."

Much better, right?

I gotta say, even by the quite debased standards of our day, this is just crazy, explicit incitement to violence by a sitting US Senator. Also a good reminder of what happened back in 2020 when Senator Tom Cotton wanted to crush the protesters with military might.

A Boston Globe investigation found that in the 16 months after George Floyd's death, drivers rammed their cars and trucks into protesters at least 139 times.

They recorded three deaths and 100 injuries, including concussions and broken bones.

Gotta ask, is that what Tom Cotton means by taking matters into your own hands, running people over?

Wait, there's another edit.

Today, Cotton posted a demonstration of the violence he actually wants against peaceful protesters, saying that this is, quote, how it should be done.

Catch that little kick to the peaceful protester's face at the end?

That's how Tom Cotton wants it done.

Most of us, I think, have that inner voice, that internal editor, if you will, that reminds us to be decent and humane to each other, even in really frustrating trying circumstances, sitting in traffic behind a protest.

But for years now, a different, darker impulse has been pushed on Americans by people with no internal editor, people with no capacity and no use for empathy.

And some of them are even United States senators.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.