Iowa racist Rep. Steve King was asked to weigh in on the latest of America's mass shootings. His response was to be as contemptible as he always, invariably is.
"I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama," the Iowa congressman said in an interview with Simon Conway on WHO Iowa radio. "He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor."
In every instance in which a Republican has been asked to explain their "Barack Obama was divisive" stance, the answers have always revolved around Barack Obama being black and the handful of commentaries he gave, in office, on the experience of being black in America. There was Trayvon Martin, and the "Beer Summit" and Obama's brief remarks in both cases were enough to convince certain Republican lawmakers that there was no more divisive political figure in America than That Black Guy. Steve King has been a racist for some time, the sort of Iowa jackass who kept a Confederate flag in his office because "heritage." He is always like this. At no point does he rise above it, or even try.
The Steve Kings of the Republican Party—and, unfortunately, the faction is currently dominant, now having commandeered House, Senate, and executive branch—have very specific ideas of what "divides" America. Agreeing with them unites America; disagreeing with them divides it. That is the entire premise of the alt right, the Breitbart right, the tea party right, or whatever else they want to call themselves. It is why civil and voting rights need to be curbed, lest "certain people" get too full of themselves. It is why Jeff Sessions is an attorney general, and why Donald Trump's team presumed that religious exclusion tests would be widely welcomed by an America fed up with the division of immigrants and refugees and non-Christian voices.
But the other "divider" of America, aside from the most prominent black man of any given cultural moment, is considered to be the press. The press reports things that angry up the public blood, like CBO scores and how many people with preexisting conditions will be priced out of affordable health care entirely if certain bills become law. They report on allegations against the "uniter" president. They report court decisions that make the uniters look bad. So they, too, were pointed to as "inciters" of this public violence.
Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) told Fox News Wednesday afternoon that “the media is complicit” in acts of violence like the mass shooting targeting members of Congress “if they keep inciting, as opposed to informing.”
He said this to Fox News, the station that demonized a soon-murdered Kansas doctor, that dispatched a gunman to the Tides Foundation for reasons only Glenn Beck could explain, and that gave glowing coverage to a militia group that took to the Nevada desert, armed to the teeth, to threaten U.S. government workers enforcing U.S. government laws—two Nevada law enforcement officers were executed in the aftermath of that last one.
His party is currently waiting to seat a new Republican member who flew into a rage at a member of the press and physically attacked him, resulting in arrest and a guilty plea. There has at no point been a discussion of whether such behavior is so outside the bounds of acceptable congressional behavior as to cost him a seat in that body; he will be welcomed with open arms. This is after the winning presidential campaign turned demonization of the press into a participation sport, rallying Republican crowds into jeers and shouts and T-shirt printed slogans suggesting what could be done with the press and following the press back out to their cars after the rallies were over.
It is the fault of the dividers, after all. It is never about the guns, or whether those with violent pasts ought to have access to weapons of mass murder. It is never about the people who bleat loudly that guns are needed to prevent our own government from descending into "tyranny," or the insistence even from sitting Republican lawmakers themselves that any random American nutcase has an inherent right to decide when their own private visions of "tyranny" justifies those patriotic murders. It is never about any of those things.