Bender: The gaslighting of America

Tony Bender
Tony Bender

By now video of the confrontation at the Lincoln Memorial has been examined more closely than the Zapruder Film, and the gaslighting of America is complete. You really didn't see what you saw. Sen. Kevin Cramer, in his ongoing inspirational battle against the First Amendment, encouraged lawsuits against the media for misinterpeting the video. “Those kids did nothing wrong,” he said on Fox News. “Zero.”

Zero. It's a good thing those kids are Catholic; now they can become saints.

What was baffling was the apology from the Diocese of Covington and the school. This is an institution that's still trying to figure out if pedophilia is a problem in the priesthood, and yet they instantly concluded that “this behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person”.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and guess that what the Diocese found objectionable were the tomahawk chops, the mocking Indian chants and dances, and the smirk on Nicholas Sandmann's face as he stared down Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist, who claimed he was trying to diffuse a standoff between some Black Hebrew Israelites, and what would be characterized as “a mob” if they were liberals.

Curiously, several days later, the Diocese apologized for apologizing. The bishop explained that they were “bullied” into making the first apology. And they know bullying when they see it. For instance, when the Covington boys were filmed harrassing passing girls, that was so totally not bullying.


Let me help you see that you didn't really see what you thought you saw. This should be getting easier. You've had two years of gaslighting practice going back to the inauguration where many folks thought there was low attendance. In reality, 17 bazillion people showed up.

Even if you did see what you thought you saw, disrespecting Phillips is justified because it turns out that his military service wasn't what it was cracked up to be. He was never deployed to Vietnam, and according to the Washington Times, he went AWOL three times. To be fair, I think it had something to do with bone spurs. And don't forget about the black guys yelling unkind things at these innocents. It's a well-known fact that if you are disrespected by one minority, it's alright to disrespect the next minority you see. It's one of those pay it forward deals.

Anyway, that wasn't a disrespectful smirk. Even though you've been interpreting facial expressions since your mother first smiled down at you in the crib, clearly you got this one wrong. To buttress this theory, I would encourage every teenage boy in America to give the old man that look the next time you're in trouble. Purely as a social experiment.

What was even more unfair to these boys was the conclusion by some that MAGA hats are a symbol of bigotry and misogyny. Personally, when I see someone wearing a MAGA hat, I think, “There goes an enlightened being.” Then I try to sell them white sheets and Tiki torches at a significant markup.

North Dakota conservatives bemoaned the injustice perpetrated against these poor lads through the unfair use of actual footage that made them look like boorish twits. People actually criticized them! Who treats children this way? By golly, when the Parkland shooting survivors were in North Dakota advocating for gun reform, no one staged protests, mocked their politics and sexuality, or called them punks or crisis actors. Not one conservative said a discouraging word.

And the skies are not cloudy all day.

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