As you read this story, just take a moment to imagine what the national conversation would be like if the parties and presidents were reversed: If this were a Republican joking about the death of President Barack Obama. Just contemplate where in the New York Times the story would be covered. Just think about the outrage from the NAACP, from CNN, from MSNBC, and from the halls of Congress. Just keep it in mind.
At a rally on Sunday, Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings sent the crowd into fits of laughter as he repeated a joke he supposedly heard from a buddy of his.
“I will tell you one joke,” Hastings said. “Do you know the difference between a crisis and a catastrophe? A crisis is if Donald Trump falls into the Potomac River and can’t swim. And a catastrophe is anybody saves his ass.”
The audience found this uproariously funny. And to be honest, it’s not a bad joke, construction-wise. We’re not terribly offended. We’re not going to pretend we’re so outraged that we’re going to organize a march on Florida. It’s just funny how these Democrats can make jokes about President Trump dying and get away with it. And we mean funny in the “well, that’s interesting” sense.
Although, to be honest, we can’t even pretend to be surprised. The double standard in politics has been a long time in the making, and it’s never been worse than it has in the last two years. You can say anything you want about Trump, cut off his virtual head and hold it aloft, organize Shakespearean plays about his assassination, whatever. No one raises an eyebrow. Meanwhile, Trump can’t say something obvious like, “Maxine Waters is stupid” without a thousand swords coming for his head.
To be fair, the Washington Post did find room to cover the controversial joke on their website; they even pointed out something we’d forgotten about Rep. Hastings’s past:
In 2008, he apologized for incendiary comments about Sarah Palin, the then-GOP vice presidential nominee. In remarks on a panel at the annual conference of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Hastings had warned, “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”
Well, this tiger doesn’t change his stripes it seems. The best way to deal with these kinds of politicians is to vote them swiftly out of office; with the tone of today’s Trump haters growing increasingly frenzied, though, we’re not holding our breath.