Anime, Death Threats, and Paul Gosar: When Consequences Don’t Exist

Paul Gosar Official Portrait, 2016 via Wiki Commons

When writing on politics, it is almost certain that weird and infuriating stories will pop up. The adage, “never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity,” is usually the best description of peculiar political news. However, the recent news about Rep. Paul Gosar’s disrespectful and downright ridiculous decision to encourage violence against President Biden and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez puts that axiom to the test. Such actions can only come about by a perverted mix of stupidity and malice. The very idea that a sitting member of the House of Representatives would dare to post a tweet depicting the kill of a colleague in Congress, as well as the murder of the President, is itself asinine. And yet, here.

Earlier this week, Gosar tweeted a strange post with him depicted as an anime protagonist from the famed anime Attack on Titan. In the now-deleted tweet, Gosar depicts himself with his colleagues, Rep. Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, fighting large monsters with the image of President Biden and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. The video depicts Gosar and his allies ending the two Democrats’ rampage with one of the characters slicing through the back of Ocasio-Cortez’s neck.

Despite the obvious depiction of violence involved, Republicans, both state and national, have done little to condemn the move. House Republicans have made no comments on the strange video, which Gosar has yet to apologize for or in any way admit wrongdoing. In one instance, the Chairwoman for the Arizona GOP addressed the video with mockery, tweeting, “Does this mean Gosar can really fly, too?”

The implication of Ward’s comments is clear as day. Media, no matter what it depicts, has no bearing on the actions of others. However, the reality does not support this hastily-accepted argument. Nor does it match what Ward previously said when Kathy Griffin posed with the fake head of Donald Trump. In fact, Ward used the image of Kathy Griffin for fundraising purposes with a caption that read, “the Left has become dangerously unhinged. Your President needs you.”

Hypocrisy aside, the idea that media has no impact on the political discourse seems laughable in the face of the pandemic, the attack on the capitol.

To this day, Republicans believe that the election was stolen, with 62 percent of Republicans asserting that voter fraud altered the election results. They are wrong. Media outlets like Newsmax and Fox helped propagate this myth, and it contributed to the death of five people on that infamous day in January.

It is bad enough that Gosar associates with far-right neo Nazis like Nick Fuentes, but the fact that he will almost certainly escape consequences for his actions is an indictment on our political system. If there is to be any calm in this tumultuous political environment, consequences have to follow. Basic decency demands it.

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