The pointless pointing of political fingers

Given my many negative musings on candidate and President Trump, I have been asked by many why I haven’t written anything on the tragic shooting at the Republican baseball practice.

The critics apparently believe I avoided the topic for partisan reasons. Not so. The answer is simple: What is there to say that isn’t obvious?

It was a despicable act that should (and, thankfully, has been) condemned by all regardless of political affiliation.

The emails I received imply — some quite obscene — that I am not only a Democrat, but one of a far-left persuasion. I am neither having voted both ways over many decades. Indeed, I served as administrative aide (1970-74) to the late Michigan Lt. Gov. James H. Brickley in Gov. William G. Milliken’s administration — both Republicans.


But, while we are at it, let me condemn other obvious despicable acts:

• It was ugly and contemptible for comedian Kathy Griffin to hold up a mock head of a decapitated President Trump. Her explanation — “He broke me” — doesn’t do it. Nothing excuses her sickening political “humor.” It was, in a word, grotesque.

• Comedians who mocked Donald Trump’s son, Barron, in January should be ashamed of themselves. The children of public officials have always been considered off-limits. Again, the reasons are — or should be — obvious.

• The profane humor of late night liberal comic Bill Maher disgusts me. I rarely watch him since he comes on too late for this old-timer but I have read much about him, and also one of his books which, after I finished it, I felt dirty.

As I said, it’s sad that we have to make a case for not condemning the obvious. Apparently, the obvious is not so obvious by today’s political standards.

We might also point out that the “non-partisan” hope that the shooting would “bring us together” lasted all of a few hours. Almost immediately, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blamed Democrats/liberals, and the left faulted Trump’s fiery rhetoric, including, for example, his call for supporters to “knock the crap out of” opponents, and he would to pay the legal fees.

So, who is to blame?


Send your thoughts and comments via our online form at or via e-mail to [email protected]

Sign up to The Oakland Press email newsletter at

Follow The Oakland Press on Facebook


I am not a social scientist nor do I have the expertise to answer to what surely is a complicated and complex issue. To blame it all, as the TV talking heads do, on the contaminated political climate, is what I would describe as “formula instant analysis” which makes for good TV, and has the benefit that no one can prove these “experts” are right or wrong. Moreover, after one talking head says it’s so, the others simply pile on.

The fact is sometimes these tragedies happen simply because a crazed man like James Hodgkinson goes berserk. Early information indicates he had an obsession with and abhorrence for Republicans, but he may have suffered, as well, from psychiatric problems, even if his acquaintances tell TV reporters in six-second sound bytes that he was a ‘great, normal guy.” This much a layman like me can say: he was not normal.

Instant analysis to issues which require studious professional and sophisticated examination does a disservice to a political system already too ripe with animosity.

Which brings us to a second question: Are we living in unique violent political times? The answer: we are not.

While we have created a poisonous political atmosphere, we experienced much worse in the 1960s and 1970s. We suffered through the assassination of JFK, a Democrat, and blood on the streets during the Vietnam War protests and urban riots, including one in Detroit which was the worst in the nation’s history and which will mark its 50th anniversary July 23.

Five years after JFK was killed in 1963, the nation grieved once more over the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, only two months apart. Again, liberal Democrats. But we also had the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, and other left-wing groups that sanctioned and engaged in violence and assailed U.S. institutions.

Modern U.S. history has shown that neither party can innocently point the figure at the other on the issue of violence. To, reluctantly, use a cliché: There is enough blame to go around.

All of this leads to a third and final question: Where do we go from here?

This pessimist predicts that within a very short time — however “short time” is defined — it will be “business as usual” — another cliché. The rancor will continue as the two sides battle for their respective political agenda.

Change could come if — a huge “if” — a leader emerges who, through his/her political talent, can bridge the differences between the two sides, and create a political atmosphere which really serves the public interest.

Is that possible? Don’t hold your breath. (That’s a third, and final, cliché).

Berl Falbaum, of West Bloomfield, is a veteran journalist and author.