The view from LePig's retirement home newspaper (The conservative Daytona Beach News-Journal)-RE: Pulse

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The view from LePig's retirement home newspaper (The conservative Daytona Beach News-Journal)-RE: Pulse

Post by T on Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:10 pm

LANE: Politics of healing versus politics of division

By Mark Lane
Published: Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 2:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 2:09 p.m.


We have seen vigils, rallies, fundraising and memorial events after the Orlando nightclub shooting that left 49 people dead Sunday.

We have heard the statements of condolence and solidarity with the victims. Our social media feeds are filled with memorials. In Orlando, we’ve seen a community rallying and refusing to let itself be defined by a bloody night of hate.

Media outlets have run profiles of the victims, so we can glimpse the lives cut short and not merely be numbed by their shocking number. Donations have poured into memorial funds. People have lined up to donate their blood.

The fact that this happened at a gay nightclub popular with Hispanic people did not slow this outpouring.

This is Florida, a welcoming place with a tourism economy based on being good with whoever shows up. We’re an accepting people who for some reason regularly elect people who aren’t so accepting.

But even politicians who have been unfriendly to the aspirations of the gay community and fought gay marriage to the bitter end – notably Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi — showed up in Orlando and said most of the right things.

The coming together we’ve seen this week has been inspiring. It offered some comfort to a place shaken by violence of unexpected ferocity and scale.

Tragedies like this sometimes shake our better selves awake.

But not for everybody.

I also cannot recall a tragedy that was turned to the crassest of political purposes quite so instantly.

Donald Trump used the occasion to preen. (“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”) To make major misstatements of fact. (The shooter was “born an Afghan." Actually, he was born in the same borough of New York City as Trump.) To stoke prejudice with sweeping generalizations about all people who came from all Muslim countries. (“For some reason there’s no real assimilation.”) To urge everybody to be very afraid. (“If we don’t get tough, and if we don’t get smart, we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing left.”) And to hint at fringe conspiracy theories about the president. (“We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind.”)

Taken together it was an erratic, depressing and just plain weird performance.


Meanwhile, authorities still are piecing together the background of the murders. And each day, the nature of the attack looks less cut and dry. The shooter’s Islamic radicalism seems strangely shallow. At different times, he boasted of connection to different, warring terror groups. And the shooter’s fascination with gay lifestyle suggests more than a little self-loathing may also have been at work.

This was a disturbed guy with a history of domestic violence and an Internet jihadist fanboy empowered by easy access to military-style firepower. A DIY, native-born terrorist operating on his own rather than a terror agent directed from abroad.

So here in Central Florida, we continue to hold vigils, bury the dead, tend to the wounded, and proceed with our lives.

We live in Florida to walk in the sun. Not cower inside because our politicians work overtime to make us afraid of opening our doors.

The contrast between the toxic national politics unboxed by this horror and the inspiring way people in Orlando, here, and across Central Florida have thrown their arms around the survivors, families of victims and a wounded community is stark.

It sends the message that in the face of violence, we don’t have to settle for the easy politics of division.

mark.lane@news-jrnl.com

Daytona NJ

T

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