By Theodore Mattheiss
If you’re reading this on Thursday, we are just five days away from election day, and the country will soon decide who is in control of Congress for the next two years.
This is already a stressful time for the country, and that stress has only been heightened by several bombs that were sent to Democratic politicians and public figures around the country. Among those who were sent bombs were Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Robert De Niro, and George Soros.
Suspect Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old Florida resident and homegrown terrorist, has been officially charged with sending five bombs, but at least 13 devices have been uncovered which he may be responsible for.
His van, covered in Trump campaign and anti-Democrat stickers, several photos showing him at rallies for the president, and the political affiliations of his targets have led many to dub him the “MAGAbomber.”
So far, nobody has been injured or killed by the explosives he sent. Nevertheless, they are deeply concerning. They point toward a steady trend of increasing division and violence within the United States.
Meanwhile, the president still refuses to soften his rhetoric, despite many arguing it inspired Sayoc to commit his crimes. “I think I’ve been toned down, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told reporters on his way to a campaign event.
This is only the latest example of how Trump’s careless and inflammatory statements as president can incite violence.
As long as the president continues to foster an environment of hostility, where his supporters are encouraged to lash out at their opposition however they please, we will continue to see stories like this.
That fact is deeply troubling. Even though Sayoc was caught and his bombs were kept from doing any damage, we might not be so fortunate the next time.
As for how this will affect the elections, the close proximity of the event to Nov. 6 means it will be fresh in the minds of voters. It carries the possibility of triggering increased turnout from Democratic voters, even beyond the “blue wave” which some political pundits are already expecting.
In fact, the event is so likely to spur more democratic votes that some conspiracy theorists have decried the whole occurance as a “false flag” operation — an event devised and executed by the Democrats to scare the voters and drum up support for their own party.
As far as right wing conspiracy theories go, this is relatively sensical. But it’s still wrong.
This attempted attack was enabled by our irresponsible president. It’s only the latest in a never-ending list of horrible things he is responsible for as our leader. Yet the Republican Party is increasingly submitting to his perverse and authoritarian brand of leadership, which is why we have to vote them out.
I hope to see you on my way to the polls next week.