Earlier this week, James Hodgkinson, a far-left extremist who volunteered for Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during the 2016 election, opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen playing baseball in a park. Unfortunately, despite the fact that two police officers who were nearby when the shooting started managed to kill Hodgkinson in a matter of minutes, five were injured, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the House Majority Whip, who remains in critical condition after being shot in the hip.
In the days following the shooting, vast numbers of liberals and conservatives set aside their differences to come together in solidarity against political violence. Unfortunately, some were not so kind.
According to reports, James “Jim” Devine, a longtime New Jersey Democratic political strategist, outraged liberals and conservatives alike by introducing the hashtags “#HuntRepublicans” and “#HuntRepublicanCongressmen” in a series of vile, hate-filled posts to social media. Specifically, immediately following the assassination attempt by a violent leftist, Devine tweeted, “we are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turn violent? #HuntRepublicanCongressmen.”
We are in a war with selfish, foolish & narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turn violent? #HuntRepublicanCongressmen
— James Devine (@James_J_Devine) June 14, 2017
Shortly after, he followed that up with another tweet, which read, “I can only stand so much hand wringing [sic] on Fox News #HuntRepublicanCongressmen.” In a third tweet, he suggested that Scalise deserved to be shot because of a speaking event he participated in over 10 years ago. “In 2002, Scalise was a speaker at the European-American Unity & Rights Organization (EURO), a group founded by David Duke. #HuntRepublicans,” wrote Devine.
In 2002, Scalise was a speaker at the European-American Unity & Rights Organization (EURO), a group founded by David Duke. #HuntRepublicans
— James Devine (@James_J_Devine) June 14, 2017
On Facebook, he added, “I have little sympathy for the Republican Congressman who got shot today because he viciously opposed President Obama’s effort to reduce gun violence and instead, he accepted more gun lobby money than all but 15 other members of the House of Representatives.”
Unsurprisingly, many were outraged by the liberal’s explicit incitements to violence. For instance, after learning about some of the things Devine said, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-NJ), who’s also the Chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee, made it clear he did not support such dangerous rhetoric. “In this day and age, we have to be very careful in what we say or how we say it,” explained Green. “I do not support the hunting of any people — Democrat or Republican,” he continued, noting, “I’ve had Republican friends that I have developed over the 25-plus years in Trenton. I consider them to be good human beings.”
Even U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who can be seen in a 2006 photograph with Devine, condemned the insensitive comments. Steven Sandberg, a spokesman for Menendez, told reporters, “the senator believes they are irresponsible, reckless, and only serve to fan the flames of division in this country. [He] is disturbed and appalled by his hateful, dangerous rhetoric.”
Despite the outrage, Devine refuses to stop using the controversial hashtag. Instead, he tweeted a non-apology, which read, “I am sorry if my #HuntRepublicanCongressmen hashtag hurt the feelings of any GOP snowflakes but you have not engaged in civil discourse.” In the tweet, he included an image of a “Liberal Hunting Permit,” that was passed around by Republicans in the past.
In a subsequent tweet, which also included an image of a “Liberal Hunting Permit,” he added, “complain about #HuntRepublicans hashtag only if you rebuked @SarahPalinUSA’s crosshairs on @GabbyGiffords or the image below [referring to the “hunting permit”]. Otherwise #GFYS.”
— James Devine (@James_J_Devine) June 15, 2017
When asked in an interview if he regrets or would apologize for the things he’s said, Devine disingenuously replied, “I really apologize to any Republican snowflakes out there wringing their hands on Fox News because I hurt their feelings. That’s the apology. ‘I don’t have time for political correctness’ is the President’s mantra, so don’t ask me to play by different rules. I’m not going to unilaterally disarm myself in the face of maniacs.”
In the same interview, he explained why he’s still using such hateful rhetoric. “Typically I don’t throw fire when fire is thrown at me, I throw water. But when normal people try to have a rational political discourse, they are silenced. Hence, when it becomes necessary to fight fire with fire, I’ll do that,” stated Devine.
However, his reasoning is absurd. Rational conversations are not only allowed, they’re encouraged. And while there are definitely a few recent instances where rational political discourse was silenced, the people doing the silencing are typically far-left extremists, not Republicans.
Liberals like Devine should focus on building bridges, not burning them. This means instead of demonizing those they disagree with, they should do their best to humanize them. Doing this will hopefully help them realize that conservatives are not the evil, racist bigots that they think they are.