In November 2017, Senator Rand Paul was tending the lawn at his home in Kentucky when one of his neighbors, Rene Boucher, tackled him from behind and broke five of his ribs. Apparently it was the culmination of some sort of lawncare dispute between the two men. Boucher served time in prison for the attack, and Sen. Paul still deals with chronic pain from the injury. He’s since had part of his lung removed, hernia surgery, and several bouts of pneumonia as a direct result of the attack.
Last Sunday, after Sen. Paul was in the news again for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine because he’s already had the disease, ’80s adult contemporary singer Richard Marx (“Don’t Mean Nothing,” some other songs probably) tweeted the following about it:
“I’ll say it again: If I ever meet Rand Paul’s neighbor I’m going to hug him and buy him as many drinks as he can consume.”
Twitter has since taken that down for violating their rules. Which is frankly surprising, because Sen. Paul isn’t a Democrat.
On Monday, an envelope containing white powder was delivered to Sen. Paul’s home and he released this statement:
“I take these threats immensely seriously. As a repeated target of violence, it is reprehensible that Twitter allows C-list celebrities to encourage violence against me and my family. Just this weekend Richard Marx called for violence against me and now we receive this powder filled letter.”
What happened next was inevitable in 2021 America: Richard Marx was invited on late-night TV to further mock the man whose physical pain he celebrates.
— A Late Show (@colbertlateshow) May 26, 2021
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) May 26, 2021
I miss Johnny Carson.
Okay, a couple of things here:
Numero Uno: No, Richard Marx did not make anybody send an envelope with white powder to Rand Paul. Marx is a notorious @$$hole, but he’s not a supervillain. He’s just a jerk who thinks it’s great when his ideological opponents suffer physically. It was a mistake for Sen. Paul to single Marx out by name, because it just makes the guy relevant again and gives him an excuse to pull stupid stunts like this.
Numero Two-O: Imagine a Democrat — oh, let’s say AOC — gets beaten up and put in the hospital. Then some singer from the ’80s goes on Twitter and says it’s a good thing that AOC was beaten up and put in the hospital, and he’d like to give AOC’s assailant a hug and a bunch of booze. Then the next day AOC gets an envelope with white powder in it, AOC blames the singer for it somehow, and a late-night host — oh, let’s say Greg Gutfeld — invites the singer on his show to mock and belittle AOC for fearing for her life, while promoting the singer’s various crappy products for sale.
That would be bad, right?
I can’t see that scenario happening in real life, because I don’t remember Gutfeld ever cheering on the physical pain of somebody who disagreed with him. But if it did happen, Gutfeld and Fox News would be roundly excoriated, and rightly so. Whatever your problems with AOC may be, and I have many, many problems with her, she’s still a human being and it’s wrong to celebrate her suffering.
But then, I’m not Stephen Colbert, who spent the night of the 2016 election lamenting how divided America is and now makes jokes about Republican senators suffering grievous injuries.
It’s not about whether you like Rand Paul, or Stephen Colbert, or Richard Marx, or any other individual. It’s about how we’re increasingly dehumanizing people who don’t agree with us on every single thing. “Oh, that guy is in the hospital because he got attacked? Well, it serves him right for voting against stuff I want.”
The difference is that when the Trump fans say this kind of stuff, the libs scream that it’s the end of the republic. Then the libs turn right around and spew the same sort of garbage, except this time it’s on national TV.
And libs actually think they’re the good guys.