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In our opinion: Video of fake Trump shooting up a church is the worst of contempt in America

The video encapsulates everything wrong in our politics and public discourse. Every leader and every citizen, regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion, should denounce this as unacceptable.

SHARE In our opinion: Video of fake Trump shooting up a church is the worst of contempt in America
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AP

A video showing a fake President Trump shooting up a church — “The Church of Fake News” — surfaced over the weekend. It played at a pro-Trump fundraising event in Florida and depicts a man with Trump’s likeness shooting and brutally stabbing people identified as news outlets. There’s even a sequence with the Trump character holding a Mitt Romney character in a choke hold and throwing him to the ground.

The video encapsulates everything wrong in our politics and public discourse. Every leader and every citizen, regardless of party affiliation or political persuasion, should denounce this as unacceptable.

Contempt is the belief in the utter worthlessness of another individual. We have regularly warned that the kind of contempt hurled between political opponents, and at the media, ultimately undermines institutions and can lead to actual violence. This video is “exhibit A” of the kind of contempt that threatens to ruin America.

There is no justification for this kind of contempt. Whether you support the president or are adamantly against him, this is uncivil and un-American.

Some will point to the First Amendment and say this video falls under those rights. But this kind of media is parody of the worst kind.

It’s not just about decency; it’s about causing real harm and damage to the thousands and thousands who have been affected by gun violence. The video shows Trump’s image violently taking out news organizations and political opponents in a Rambo-style rampage. 

Both sides of the political aisle, along with far too many in the media, have become addicted to the dollars and clicks that are driven from anger, fear, contempt and division.  Contempt has become the economic power and fatal force of American politics.

There are real political battles ahead for the nation, including the 2020 presidential race. Those battles should take place in the marketplace of ideas, not in a simulated rampage by a sitting president in a church — even if it is the church of fake news.

Condemning this video does not require a political pollster’s approval or a campaign consultant to certify it is the right move. Everyone can and should say, “Enough!”

President Trump and his team should immediately condemn this video. We further call on Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McArthy to stand together on the steps of the United States Capitol and say, “Enough!”

If left to fester, contemptuous discourse will consume America and her ideals. Time is ticking to stand up, speak up and heal this wound.