Fewer than 24 hours ago, Donald Trump suggested Second Amendment supporters might have their own means of preventing Hillary Clinton from becoming president and filling out the Supreme Court with her picks. Many perceived the Republican nominee’s utterance as a veiled threat rife with violent potential, while others have argued for alternative but just as indecipherable interpretations of the Donald’s oratory. Shock, awe and gibberish aside, however, one thing is clear — Trump’s latest gaffe is far more than just another insult.
So goes the argument of former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, who wrote in a Facebook post that Trump’s comments “crossed a line with dangerous potential.”
This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a Presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?
Like Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) and many others, Rather isn’t the only person to suggest Trump’s bit about the Second Amendment and Clinton deserves a closer look by the Secret Service. Yet what sets the former broadcast news journalist’s musings apart from all the rest are the precise words (and historical allusions) he uses to conclude the post. That’s because Rather takes things a step further by quoting President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address — you know, the one that preceded the American Civil War:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
As Rather frames it, “sadly [Lincoln’s] call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder.” The man who’s then newly-former Republican Party had secured him the White House in 1860 wasn’t able to convince America’s “better angels” to pursue peace instead of war. And per Rather’s warning regarding Trump’s latest blunder, “We cannot let that happen again.”
You can read the entirety of Rather’s Facebook post below.
(Via USA Today)