Domestic terrorism, or the risk of not knowing how to do politics
During the past two days an estimated 12 explosive devices have been intercepted at the United States Post Office, having been addressed to public figures and entities that have been openly critical of the Trump administration.
Since the fateful events of 9/11, the definition of terrorism has become not only a linguistic debate but also a political one.
In 1974, Robespierre defined terrorism as "immediate justice, severe, and inflexible,” as the newspaper The Atlantic recalls.
To separate pipe bombs destined to Democratic politicians and actors who have insulted a Republican president from the definition of homemade terrorism is almost impossible.
During the last two days, national media have reported that several pipe bombs were sent through the postal mail system to public figures such as George Soros (investor, author and activist for American liberalism), Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the ex-general prosecutor Eric Holder, the democratic representative Maxine Waters and former CIA director John Brennan, as well as the actor Robert De Niro.
The immediate reaction of analysts has been to connect all the people to whom the packages were addressed as "members of the Democratic Party" and "objects of at least one conspiracy theory related to the U.S. presidential elections in 2016," according to The Verge.
This aggressive protest mechanism is not unknown in American history. The Verge qualifies it as "perhaps the most American way of doing political terrorism,” highlighting the figures of around 370 incidents between January 1969 and October 1970, when homemade bombs became the favorite means to "destroy ideologies.”
The political background that usually triggers this type of aggression always coincides with an entrenched division in the national scene, as well as the normalization of violent discourse by political representatives who hold the majority power.
The packages sent during this week, on the other hand, were destined to "people that the president and his allies treat like enemies,” including media offices. Its immediate effect was a widespread terror.
It seems that, in every way, both the president and politicians, in general, have underestimated the effect of standardized discourse from the podium of populism.
"Fake news," "Lock her up," "the media is the enemy of the American people,” are just some of President Trump’s greatest hits when it comes to hate speech. Although it has gained him the support of a minority sensitive to his nationalist populism, it has also brought with it the fracture of the basic principles of a democracy.
Just a week ago a passenger called on the president to argue that he was entitled to inappropriate sexual behavior during a flight from Houston to Albuquerque, saying that "the president of the United States says it is okay to grab women from their private parts."
In the same way, statistics have shown a considerable increase in incidents of hatred against immigrants of Latino origin in the country, fueled by the ongoing presidential campaign against immigrants in general.
This week's pipe bombs are the exacerbation of the toxic divisionism of the Trump Administration, which continues to believe that doing politics in a country like the United States is just another reality TV show.