“He says, ‘Call it a fatwa if you wish,’ and I say, ‘Well, fuck you and fuck your fatwa.’”
— Mark Leyner, The Tetherballs of Bougainville
You know when two unrelated events happen simultaneously, and then it later turns out that those disparate things are actually highly related? It usually happens in twisty-turny Hollywood thrillers, but sometimes it transpires in real life.
For example, the FBI recently executed a search warrant at the residence of a disgraced ex-president who had been hoarding classified documents—and maybe nuclear secrets—for some unknown reason that must be perfectly legit and not all criminal, corrupt, or terrifying.
Soon afterward, in western New York, a lunatic stabbed acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie in the neck.
So what do these two events have to do with one another?
Well, Rushdie has long been a target because of his provocative prose that offends religious zealots. Extremist Islamic leaders have called for his death, and, apparently, at least one homicidal follower tried to make it happen.
The attack occurred because powerful men felt disrespected, so they called for violence and someone answered their call.
Meanwhile, in the days since the FBI carted off box after box of top-secret material from Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago, there has been “an escalation of violent rhetoric from the far-right, including talk of another ‘civil war’ and threats against federal law enforcement.”
The judge who approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant was Jewish, so of course he has faced “an onslaught of violent antisemitic threats“—and an attack on an FBI field office has illustrated “the real danger behind those threats.”
OK, some nutjobs are threatening law enforcement, so conservatives—who are constantly yelling “Blue lives matter!”—must be rushing to the FBI’s defense, right?
Well, it seems that “immediately after the search, congressional Republicans, including members of leadership, reacted with fury, attacking the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.”
And remember those conservatives who were so outraged over progressive demands to defund the police? Well, they are now calling to defund the FBI. Actually, they have gone further, with some vowing to “destroy the FBI,” while “others invoked the Nazi secret police, using words like ‘gestapo’ and ‘tyrants.'”
Damn, that doesn’t seem very supportive.
Now, it’s no surprise that Trump is attacking the FBI despite “unprecedented threats to agents.” Nor are we shocked that he is “accusing the Justice Department of crimes,” while indulging in “idiotic rage directed at people doing their jobs.”
But please note how the “supposedly law-and-order party’s leadership is inciting violence against America’s own legal agencies to further genuflect at the altar of a serial criminal who attempted to overthrow an American election.”
Note also how few Republicans have said, “Hey, could you kind of, maybe, not vow to kill federal officers?” That’s because even with “an increase in threats and acts of violence directed at FBI personnel,” over half of Republicans say it is the “federal law enforcement officials [who] behaved irresponsibly.”
The few GOP leaders who have expressed meek support for the FBI have had their lives “put in danger by the same people who are threatening law enforcement.”
In essence, conservatives are furious that the FBI isn’t sticking to just beating up ethnic minorities and wire-tapping liberal organizations. Agents had the temerity to apply the law to a Republican, and for that, they should be threatened, or even executed.
This is further proof that in America, there is no “political force more nihilistic, dangerous, and contemptible than today’s Republicans.” Powerful men feel disrespected, so they advocate for violence, and someone will obey their call.
Rushdie’s life has been in jeopardy ever since fanatics issued a religious fatwa against him, but the GOP has issued a political fatwa against anyone who dares to confront their belligerent king. Words can “incite people to commit deadly acts, just as the words about Salman Rushdie inspired a violent act.”
There is only one response to someone who issues such a threat: Fuck your fatwa.
Featured image by HeyRocker/CC BY 2.0