Imagine if, after the Port Arthur massacre our Prime Minister (or any person wanting to be Prime Minister) said he (or she) could shoot people and not lose voters.
Imagine the universal uproar. The media would have called for his or her head, people would have taken to the streets in anger, and his or her own political career would have ended abruptly at the next election if not before. Such a comment would have certainly ended a political career.
But of course, in reality John Howard – or any political leader or aspirant in this country – would never say such a thing.
Not so in America.
With the country still reeling and in shock from a string of recent mass murders Donald Trump told a press conference that he could stand in New York’s Fifth Avenue “and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters”.
It would be an understatement to say that I am disturbed by this. And in many ways.
The first, of course, is that it is a frightening thought that a political leader would dare to deliver such appalling words. The second is that he is probably right. He could indeed shoot people and not lose votes (though I’m sure he wouldn’t receive many, either). Our society is that sick and filled with so much hate that Trump would actually be seen by sick, right-wing extremists as a savior for shooting people. Yes, it is sick. Thirdly, I am disturbed that we live in a time when a political leader is not afraid to make such appalling claims. And I feel for all those thousands of people in America who have suffered a loss at the hands of a shooter. The insensitivity of Trump’s remark is simply beyond comprehension. And finally, I find it disturbing that the imagined uproar that would have followed John Howard making such a claim appears nowhere following Trump’s.
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