Joe Henderson: When it comes to hate crimes, there’s no ‘yeah, but….’
Mitch McConnell is out. Will Rick Scott get in?

Whataboutism is on full display.

Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sort of.

On CNN, Scott called the attack “disgusting.”

Well stated.

He quickly pivoted to the recent attack in Miami on an election canvasser for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, and that’s understandable since he noted, “this stuff has to stop.”

He should have left it there.

It will not stop though as long as incendiary political ads blur the boundary between advocacy and dehumanizing personal attacks. That’s where Scott and other Republicans played a misdirection on this latest assault.

They dodged the question when asked if some of their over-the-top attacks on Nancy Pelosi may have incited the attack on her husband. Scott said they need to condemn those attacks (OK) but threw in something about election security — as if that had anything to do with the attacker’s motivation.

Otherwise, we mostly heard from Republicans (paraphrasing here), “Yeah, that guy with the hammer shouldn’t have done that, but the Democrats are bad, too.”

In a hate crime like this, there is no “yeah, but….”

We need to be extra careful with this stuff in Florida, too. A report by the Anti-Defamation League said extremist incidents in our state increased by 71% between 2020 and 2022.

Florida led the nation in the number of people arrested in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection. And on Saturday at the Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville, some jerk loaded an antisemitic message on an exterior video board referencing Kanye West’s recent offensive statements about people of Jewish faith.

Fans exiting the stadium saw the message. How in the hell did it get loaded?

We don’t yet know, but the Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating.

There were reports that similar antisemitic messages showed up in various parts of Jacksonville over the weekend.

It boils down to one word: hate.

Too many people see anyone who looks or thinks differently than they do as a threat they must extinguish.

That’s especially true in our politics, where too many people see negotiation and compromise as something only weak people do. Attack ads send a message that nothing is out of bounds as long as your candidate gets elected.

Take the Twitter post last week from GOP Rep. Tom Emmer that showed a video of him firing a gun at a shooting range with the hashtag #FirePelosi.

Asked if that could send the wrong message about violence, Emmer basically said, “oh gosh, no.” He said he was defending Second Amendment rights.

However, could he guarantee that no one out in cyberspace saw that post and went tick, tick, tick?

As I said, when it comes to these things, there’s no “yeah, but…”

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Elliott Offen

    October 31, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    That stupid Rubio canvasser is not an equivalent. The idiot was where he shouldn’t have been and got his ass kicked for not leaving…not because he was a canvasser. Probably got an attitude as well. Also he was a criminal and a far right nut. Scott should be ashamed, but a man with that much money is never ashamed. Whoever voted for Scott is an idiot.

    • Tjb

      October 31, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Let find out what the canvasser said to these perps. Did the canvasser provoke them?

      • Elliott Offen

        October 31, 2022 at 11:38 pm

        He was somewhere he didn’t belong, they told him to leave, he didn’t, they beat him to make him leave. Had nothing to do with fking politics.

  • Al

    November 1, 2022 at 10:10 am

    Voting in any election is NOT a popularity contest. It is about learning the issues and voting for the candidates who will do the best for everyone.

    I left NYC in 1965 for FL.
    I understand that some people don’t like President Trump because of the way that he expresses himself but think about the condition of the USA today compared to 2 years ago.
    Please leave personality’s out when you choose a candidate to vote for.

    • Brass Biscuit

      November 1, 2022 at 5:40 pm

      I don’t like the nominal 45th president because of the attempt to subvert the Constitution, and the demonstration of deference to Putin, not because of the way the nominal 45th president expresses himself.

      • Ocean Joe

        November 1, 2022 at 6:55 pm

        Agree. If Helsinki didn’t make it clear, Jan 6 certainly did.

Comments are closed.


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