You’ve probably heard by now that newly elected Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter for questioning him. He won anyway (a lot of early voting in his district) but from what I’ve read, the margin was slim enough to be a good sign for Dems in 2018.
A Business Insider article catches right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham making fun of the reporter for calling the cops and equating getting slammed to the ground by a violent adult man to having your lunch money stolen. The article suggests the Republican enthusiasm for bullies and bullying is partly because “many men in America right now have little to offer women. They do not live up to either to the old, chauvinistic standards for adult men or the new, egalitarian ones. They want what Trump has — the women, the money, the brass-plated apartment — without having to do better or be better to get it. They think they’d be better off under a return to high-school norms, where men could “be men” but really be boys, and gain status through cruel dominance plays without bearing any real-life responsibilities.” No More Mr. Nice Blog argues it’s also resentment: “If you’re a suburban white flag-waver, even if you have a nice life, it angers you that people who aren’t like you — non-whites, non-straights, liberals, feminist women, non-Fox journalists, people who enjoy non-meat-and-potatoes culture — are also thriving. Even if you’ve had all the pie you want, it’s infuriating that such vermin get any pie. And if they start asserting themselves, well, that’s just flat-out intolerable.”
I’d say there’s truth to both.
What I didn’t know until this last week is that Gianforte is also a creationist (Lance Manion adds some thoughts on this). And he also believes that retirement goes against the Bible because the Bible doesn’t mention retirement — Noah was 650 years old when he died, and he never stopped working!
While I haven’t heard this “Biblical” take before, it’s worth noting that, as usual, the current crop of right-wingers are just recycling old tropes, not creating new ones. Five years ago, for example, millionaire anti-Social Security activist Pete Peterson declared that America simply cannot afford to let old people treat the last third of their lives as a “publicly subsidized vacation.” Similarly economics professor Edward Glaeser has argued that seniors not being able to retire is a good thing — after all, lots of people work until they die, so what’s the problem. Of course both Peterson and Glaeser work nice white collar jobs and Peterson at least is uber-rich, so they may be oblivious that lots of jobs, from mining to warehouse work to construction, can wear you out; it’s not a vacation, it’s exhaustion (I am also quite fine with seniors getting that vacation even if they are fit). As I said last week, some people simply refuse to put themselves in anyone else’s shoes.