It's rare that we take on liberal newspaper columnists. They're entitled to their opinions and no one expects them to adhere to a standard of objectivity. But on those occasions when a columnist transgresses the bounds of decency, we have to take note.
The Miami Herald's Leonard Pitts Jr. is one such opinion writer. In his November 17 column he argued some of the blame for a suicide in Key West, Florida, should be laid at the doorstep of conservative talk show hosts:
Unfortunately, for every [Kathleen] Parker or [Gov. Bobby] Jindal, there is a Donald Trump urging revolution or a petition drive advocating secession from the Union. And just when you think you’ve heard it all, just when you think you could not possibly be more astonished at how panic-stricken and estranged from reality much of the political right now is, there comes word of Henry Hamilton’s suicide.
He was the 64-year-old owner of a tanning salon in Key West. As recently reported in The Miami Herald, he was found dead two days after the election with empty prescription bottles next to him, one for a drug to treat anxiety, another for a drug to treat schizophrenia. Hamilton, according to his partner, Michael Cossey, was stressed about his business and had said that if President Obama were re-elected, “I’m not going to be around.” Police found his will, upon which was scrawled “F--- Obama.”
Sometimes, they act — the Hannitys, the O’Reillys, the Trumps, the Limbaughs, the whole conservative political infotainment complex — as if this were all a game, as if their nonstop litany of half truths, untruths and fear mongering, their echo chamber of studied outrage, practiced panic, intellectual incoherence and unadulterated equine feculence, had no human consequences. Sometimes, they behave as if it were morally permissible — indeed, morally required — to say whatever asinine, indefensible, coarse or outrageous thing comes to mind in the name of defeating or diminishing the dreaded left. And never mind that vulnerable people might hear this and shape their beliefs accordingly.
Did the conservative political infotainment complex kill Henry Hamilton? No.
But were they the water in which he swam, a Greek chorus echoing and magnifying the outsized panic that troubled his unwell mind? It seems quite likely.
But Pitts was not content to slam conservative talk radio, no, his advice to the conservative movement and the GOP is to marginalize conservative talk radio:
[O]ne can only hope, with slightly more expectation, that the GOP will finally disenthrall itself from this ongoing affront to decency and intelligence and thereby render it moot.
Until it does, we can only absorb the impact of these regularly scheduled meltdowns. And pity the likes of Henry Hamilton.
For him, the apocalypse already came.
Former Obama chief-of-staff -- now Chicago Mayor -- Rahm Emanuel famously said that "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Pitts has taken that a few ghoulish steps further by not letting a distraught man's suicide go to waste politically.