In perhaps its first ever editorial in favor of the First Amendment Kansas City Star editors chose not to see any connection between the unprecedented viciousness of the political rhetoric leveled at President Donald Trump and the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and others last week in Virginia.
Worse, they accused Republicans of going “right back to throwing rocks” for daring to suggest that there is a connection between rhetoric and action. The statement that set the editors off came from New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins. Said Collins unremarkably, “The finger-pointing, the tone, the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump … some people react to things like that.”
This is the same newspaper that has run roughly fifty articles about the Olathe shooting of an Indian national for no greater reason than to insinuate that the rhetoric of President Trump somehow inspired it. “Surely the White House team could have cobbled together a statement of some sort,” the Star pontificated about Trump’s failure to address the Olathe shooting immediately after it happened, “a response to at least address growing fears that the U.S. is unwelcoming of immigrants, or worse, that the foreign-born need to fear for their lives here.”
This is the same newspaper that said not a word to protest the State Fair’s suspension for life of Tuffy Gessling, a rodeo clown who dared to don an Obama mask. Yet now, the editors ask to be taken seriously when they say in defense of the Public Theater’s production of Julius Caesar, “The idea that Caesar in a blond wig and red tie should be shut down in deference to someone who ran against careful, politically correct speech misunderstands both human behavior and Shakespeare, since the play is a powerful warning against political violence.”
That last sentence deserves parsing. Why be so coy about the “blond wig and red tie?” Just what is “careful, politically correct speech?” Trump did not “run against” such speech as he did ignore it. By ignoring it–that is by giving voice to unspoken truisms–he created the furor that allows him to be executed nightly in Central Park.
To “misunderstand” human behavior is to think for a moment New Yorkers do not thrill to that mock execution. By playing to that blood lust, producers actually distort the meaning of Shakespeare’s play since the play, as written, “is a powerful warning against political violence.”