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Cal Thomas Twists Facts To Defend A Divisive President

By Steve Rensberry
Opinion/Analysis
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EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. - July 12, 2020 -- Pundit and Christian conservative icon Cal Thomas took his penchant for exaggeration and his undying devotion to our current president to new heights in a recent column, in which he responds to criticism of the president's July 3 Mount Rushmore speech as being divisive.
      I hate to say it, but in the past 40 years of sharing his views on politics and religion in public life, I don't think Thomas has learned a thing.
“One reads and hears this from every media outlet and Democrats in Congress. President Trump is dividing America. Talk radio is divisive. The right wing is undermining our 'unity,'" Thomas writes. “What is really meant by the divisive slur is that conservatives decided not to take it anymore. They are pushing back and the biggest push-backer of all is the president.”
    Say what?
Overlooking the literary awkwardness of Thomas' comments, notice that he does not really deny that the speech was divisive, but rather reframes it, then more or less asserts that what is really going on is just the actualization of a necessary and just cause, being led by righteous, angry, fed-up conservatives.
It's a mighty strange and inadequate defense, however, and a distraction from the real issue. Thomas' comments also fly in the face of what millions of Americans heard and saw with their own eyes, from both left and right. Trump supporters themselves have as-much admitted embracing division and chaos as a political strategy, with the goal of toppling the presumed “liberal establishment.” They wanted to shake things up, clean the swamp and take down the status quo, isn't that what we heard?
Have there been any voices at all in the Trump camp who have tried to build constructively on the successes of the previous administration? Has Cal Thomas tried? No. They've blocked, tried to repeal, divided, denied and destroyed jobs and careers in the pursuit of total control and ideological purity. The one and only thing they have tried to build is a wall along our southern border. Trump and Thomas are both guilty of fanning the flames of the culture war, the consequences of which have pitted family member against family member, neighbor against neighbor, and public servant against public servant, and for what? Over the desire to divide, control, and dominate in a changing culture, rather than learn how to get along with others, to peacefully coexist?
One highly critical response to the Mount Rushmore speech, addressed to conservatives no less, came from an opinion piece written by Mona Charen and published in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Speaking about Trump's remarks on protecting Confederate-era monuments, Charen wrote: “The conservative reflex to resist accusations of racism is worse than misguided in this instance. Why? Because in this case the accusation is not false. It’s blatantly, obviously true. Where is the 'white supremacy'? How about the fact that Trump is threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if Congress follows through on plans to rename military installations named after Confederate generals? This is not a conservative making the case against racial preferences. It is not a reasoned argument about school choice, or welfare reform, or disparate impact. It is straight-up white supremacy. The Confederacy was not the United States of America. It was a whole other country. So, no, that’s not patriotism. It’s kind of the opposite.”
The words Trump used in his speech to describe American protesters, as though they were foreign enemies, also was divisive and unbecoming of a president.
“Trump’s chosen message on Independence Day was the good news that 'I am deploying federal law enforcement to protect our monuments, arrest the rioters, and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law. ... I am pleased to report that yesterday, federal agents arrested the suspected ringleader of the attack on the statue of Andrew Jackson in Washington, D.C., and, in addition, hundreds more have been arrested.' News of arrests is supposed to make patriotic hearts swell with pride? Leadership of a large diverse nation requires certain grace notes that every president in living memory has found it in his heart to pronounce on important occasions. This president has chosen and continues to choose division and vitriol,” Charen said.
Having downplayed the divisiveness of his political idol, Thomas then does the one thing he never tires of doing: he creates a straw man argument to bash the imaginary villains he assumes are behind everything that is wrong with America, which to him include abortion, the welfare state, the “entitlement mentality” and a weird thing he calls “the promotion of 'any human relationship that can be conjured up in the most twisted of minds.'”
Judging by just about every column Thomas has written on gay rights and family relationships, it's obvious what he means by “the most twisted of minds.” It's also ignorant. I'm not saying he doesn't have a right to say what he feels, but he should expect to be criticized if he does.
Christian conservatives like Thomas love to play the part of victim and firmly believe that they are being systematically persecuted at the hands of mean, secular, immoral perverts, that is “the left,” which has become the current catch-all phrase for every evil deed they can imagine, and for people who they wrongly assume want nothing except to control your life and usher in a totalitarian, godless global state.
It's nothing but a grown-up fairy tale and scapegoat, and easily refuted by the evidence, but without things to demonize and fears to stoke, people like Thomas just might have to rethink some of those hateful, divisive thoughts they keep having.
That fear mongering is a part of it should come as no surprise. What was the title of Thomas' column, published in the July 8, 2020 online edition of the Washington Times?: “Democrats want to impose socialism and worse on America.” Right, Thomas barely talks about socialism, and barely even defends against the accusation of divisiveness, and this is the headline they give it? No fear mongering going on here.

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