The caravan is already here

It turns out that the caravan Americans should be worried about is already here. It is the white van that t...

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 12:02 AM
Updated: Oct 29, 2018 12:02 AM

It turns out that the caravan Americans should be worried about is already here. It is the white van that the alleged, attempted mail bomber Cesar Sayoc was driving. Fortunately, federal authorities were able to arrest and charge him with sending explosive devices to the homes and offices of many of President Donald Trump's top opponents, to two former Presidents, and to two former intelligence officials, care of CNN's New York offices.

In a bid to whip up the enthusiasm of the Republican base with the midterm elections looming, Trump has tried to paint a march of protesting people traveling through Mexico, who are weeks away from the US border, as an imminent threat to America's safety. But his narrative was interrupted rudely this week by a much more tangible threat -- the discovery of explosive devices sent from inside the US homeland.

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Although it will probably take some time before the FBI can prove whether Sayoc was guilty and whether he acted alone, the arrest is a troubling reminder of the ways in which the President's toxic political ideas have become sources of inspiration for extremist individuals and organizations -- even those who want to commit violence.

With all the attention that the President has devoted in the past few weeks to the allegedly dangerous people who are part of the movement of immigrants seeking safety within our borders, a real concern for the country should be the potential for violent domestic political extremism to flare among people who live here and who perceive themselves to have an ally in the White House.

Domestic political violence in the United States is no joking matter. We have a long history of seeing people take up arms to prove their political point. From assassinations of presidents and other elected officials, to the murder of movement activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. to the violence committed against African-Americans in the Jim Crow South, to the white nationalists who blew up the federal government building in Oklahoma in 1995, we are a country that seen its share of these awful acts. There is good reason that many political observers keep warning President Trump and other elected officials not to play around with these ideas for electoral gain, for once they are unleashed, they become impossible to control.

However, the President has never taken this risk seriously. It is one thing to be extremely partisan but another to use dog whistles with violent organizations and to actually endorse the use of violence. The nation has seen different variations of Trump's tendencies since he took office. Of course, one of the most defining moments of his presidency occurred after the violent marches in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, when he refused to come down hard on the neo-Nazis who entered the college town seeking to stir up racist and anti-Semitic sentiment.

After his barn-storming rallies or tweets where he continued to shock and awe by going well beyond the boundaries of legitimate presidential discourse, Trump brushed back critics who warned that in the wrong hands his blistering words could end up inciting real violence. We saw this recently when he made light of Montana's Greg Gianforte having body slammed a journalist. "Any guy that can do a body slam, that's my kind of guy," the President said. Even in his tweet on Friday morning, he tweeted about the "Bomb stuff" that he suggested was distracting the public from the Republican rebound in the midterm elections.

Presidents have immense power. One of their greatest strengths is that their words have an impact on the national discourse unlike almost any other figure. Trump isn't simply a reality television star anymore. When the President does something like retweet the image of himself knocking down a person with a CNN logo for a head, or when he says that members of his own cabinet are virtually guilty of "treason," he sends out a dangerous message. While it is vital to remember that the President is not guilty of criminal actions committed in his name, the President is responsible for making statements that openly encourage this kind of behavior.

This week, the country learned just how that might play out on the ground in the hands of an unstable individual.

It is likely that the President won't take much of a break in his rhetoric. On Friday, he said that he thinks he's been "toned down," while warning, "I think I could really tone it up" given how "extremely unfair" the media has been to him. He will try to turn this to his advantage by suddenly becoming the champion of law and order while quickly focusing again on the refugees who he says are about to invade our borders. But really, the dangerous caravan was being driven by a violent person, brandishing Trump regalia, who seems to have been on a mission to Make America Great the only way that he knew how.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 448268

Reported Deaths: 6013
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin931011480
Ramsey40016739
Dakota33072340
Anoka30999364
Washington20164228
Stearns17871187
St. Louis13690241
Scott1195496
Wright11614104
Olmsted1048475
Sherburne821365
Carver694836
Clay653280
Rice606868
Kandiyohi554371
Blue Earth541033
Crow Wing482774
Otter Tail457167
Chisago452732
Benton420186
Winona389646
Douglas374166
Nobles370846
Mower365529
Goodhue347958
Polk328658
McLeod325345
Morrison311744
Beltrami310347
Lyon302236
Becker284939
Itasca284543
Isanti282841
Carlton280043
Steele27379
Pine266713
Freeborn245321
Todd231730
Nicollet224636
Brown215134
Mille Lacs214246
Le Sueur210015
Cass207623
Meeker199733
Waseca189316
Wabasha17083
Martin170026
Roseau165416
Hubbard149338
Redwood139727
Renville137539
Houston135913
Dodge13474
Chippewa131332
Cottonwood127218
Fillmore12355
Wadena120116
Rock110212
Sibley10857
Aitkin108433
Watonwan10668
Faribault105916
Pennington99215
Kanabec97818
Pipestone94423
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85610
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70215
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63715
Wilkin6259
Koochiching59610
Lincoln4841
Big Stone4573
Unassigned43768
Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3174
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 305606

Reported Deaths: 4278
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45754449
Linn17795275
Scott15444163
Black Hawk13773236
Woodbury13016175
Johnson1211749
Dubuque11387150
Pottawattamie8992112
Dallas888671
Story869434
Webster469771
Cerro Gordo466768
Sioux455157
Clinton450361
Warren443938
Marshall427761
Buena Vista393429
Muscatine390477
Des Moines381841
Plymouth350368
Wapello344198
Jasper321959
Lee317130
Marion304952
Jones271349
Henry264330
Carroll255434
Bremer245048
Crawford231022
Boone218417
Washington217632
Benton209444
Mahaska193136
Jackson192031
Tama187757
Dickinson186026
Delaware173736
Kossuth173644
Clay168820
Wright164824
Fayette162322
Hamilton160029
Buchanan159923
Winneshiek155719
Harrison155162
Hardin154729
Cedar153219
Clayton151448
Butler148224
Page144715
Floyd139636
Cherokee139027
Mills136416
Lyon135332
Poweshiek132724
Hancock130224
Allamakee127928
Iowa125422
Calhoun12279
Grundy121226
Jefferson120724
Madison12039
Winnebago119429
Mitchell116234
Louisa115030
Cass113341
Chickasaw111612
Sac111215
Emmet110831
Appanoose110538
Union108822
Humboldt105519
Guthrie103024
Shelby102926
Franklin102418
Unassigned9310
Palo Alto9079
Montgomery85622
Keokuk85026
Howard84219
Monroe81218
Clarke7957
Pocahontas77611
Ida74630
Greene6927
Davis69121
Adair68820
Lucas6508
Monona64016
Osceola6409
Worth6113
Taylor5949
Fremont5126
Van Buren49712
Decatur4894
Ringgold4389
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2963
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