Perhaps the political class is starting to realize that we the people are sick and tired of the rhetoric warfare in which differences of opinion are consolidated into warring camps. It is bad enough that politicians are victims of strategic character assassination. As in any “war,” the people are propagandized into evil incarnate.
During World War II, we had to temporarily hate the German people, the Japanese people – and the same during the Vietnam War. The fact that we have good relations with these nations today gives hope for our own contemporary people-to-people hatemongers will find tolerance and acceptance in the future.
In recent days, there has been a rising call for civility. The family of the late Senator John McCain has launched a civility project to encourage people to reach out to what is unfortunately dubbed “the other side” in reasonable dialogue. Even the strident talking heads on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” have been talking about toning down the rhetoric.
“Morning Joe” regular Eugene Robinson, of the Washington Post, said that no one on the left believes that all Trump supporters are racists – and assumedly not sexists, xenophobes, homophobes and all those other pejoratives so often heard emanating from the left-wing of the Fourth Estate.
One of the mainstays of left-wing commentary has been the broad-brush branding of Trump’s supporters in the vilest stereotyping imaginable. If Robinson were to watch MSNBC – and not only appear on the network – he would have heard several hosts and panelists saying that supporting Trump makes the person a racist by extension. Folks like Donny Deutsch, host of “Saturday Night Politics” (one of the worst political talk shows ever conceived by the left), made their rejection of civility very clear.
You cannot – emphasized Deutsch – say you like Trump policies but not his personality (people like me). You must take the entire package. If you are a Trump voter, then YOU are guilty of everything the left ACCUSES him – no matter how outrageous the accusations may be. This same theme was played out across the MSNBC line-up by folks like Princeton Professor Eddie Glaude, MSNBC utility infielder John Heilemann and any number of other pop-up panelists.
Attacking Trump voters and supporters was not limited to the biased panels of parroting pundits but was part of the Democrat presidential candidate’s playbook. Beto O’Rourke led the assault on 40 percent of America to be quickly followed by such fellow struggling luminaries as Julian Castro, Tim
Ryan and Cory Booker.
Sorry Eugene, you just do not know what you are talking about. Or maybe you are just knowingly peddling a propaganda narrative – as usual.
Political incivility is largely a one-way street. Most of the venomous verbiage is directed at Republicans, conservatives and all those who disagree with the Democrats left-wing ideology – an ideology that is embraced and promoted in round-the-clock infomercials that the elitist east coast press passes off as news.
No, I am not absolving President Trump for his contribution to the acridity of contemporary political dialogue. I have never liked his pugnacious style and name-calling. I think he has done damage to the cause with his bellicosity. The problem of maligning the right is much bigger than him, however – and preceded his presidency. Unfortunately, he has given credence to Democrat complaints and provided a false appearance of equivalency.
It does not matter what side of the political divide you take up residency, the one thing that seems to unify most Americans – and should unify ALL Americans – is a disgust and repulsion of the degradation of political discourse. It is sad to note that false accusations, mendacious narratives and child-like name calling have supplanted serious political dialogue.
It has been evolving over the years. Back in the 1990s, President Clinton called out the trend toward “the politics of personal destruction.” Perhaps the beginning goes back to the mid-1960s, when “I like Ike” (President Eisenhower for those of you who went to school in more recent years) to “Tricky Dick” – a pejorative tagged on President Nixon by the Democrat he beat in the 1950 Senate race, Helen Gahagan Douglas.
One only need read and hear the words of our national leaders of generations past to see just how badly our current political language has been corrupted. The words of our Founders, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and others were eloquent and poetic.
We are told by the mavens of the media that both sides – Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals – use coarse language and personal attacks as a means of satisfying and solidifying their respective bases. The assumption is that supporters of one candidate or another – one perspective or another – relish the verbal mud wrestling.
That may be true – and even that is only “maybe” – of the fringe elements on the far left and right edges of the political continuum. It is certainly not the attitude of the vast majority of Americans on the rational left, right or in the middle. We are sick and tired of our national leaders communicating in ways that would bring parental correction if our children talked that way.
AND, we conservatives are particularly sick and tired of being maligned as cold, callous, heartless, inhumane, toxic human beings.
What is so hypocritical of the left is that they call on us all to be more civil while they continue to mischaracterize and malign those of us on the right with full abandon. The shallow lip-service call for civility — that was allotted less time than a commercial on MSNBC — was followed by business-as-usual brand bashing of Republicans and conservatives – and of course, Trump.
One cannot expect civility unless there is honesty. We can respect people with different opinions – even love them. All options for civility end, however, when we are unfairly and viciously maligned and demeaned – not by just another person, but by the major institutions of our society as a matter of form.
Political civility is not a grassroots phenomenon. It starts at the top and can only be stopped from the top.
So, there ‘tis.