by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the immediate aftermath of the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday night, social media commentators and the mainstream press immediately took up their dreary task of politicizing the tragedy. A headline at The New Yorker declared, “There can be no truce with the Second Amendment.” Hillary Clinton, among others, wasted no time blaming the National Rifle Association, even as she called for Americans to “put politics aside.”
The problem is that many Americans are now incapable of putting politics aside. Political tribalism has become so engrained in our civic life, so routine as a way of processing events, that even a tragedy on this scale won’t unite us. Natural disasters like the recent hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico do indeed bring individual communities together. And the lines of people volunteering to donate blood, which stretched for blocks outside Las Vegas blood banks on Monday, certainly testify to the compassion many Americans feel for the victims.
But on a national level, and especially among the pundit class, we simply can’t bring themselves to put politics aside. Hence the repugnant declaration from one CBS executive that she had no sympathy for the victims, since the shooting took place at a country music concert and the dead and wounded were most likely Republicans.