Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's Time to Tone Down the Rhetoric, Before It's Too Late

James T. Hodgkinson, a left-wing Bernie Sanders volunteer and supporter, and a crazed nutjob with a long rap sheet, shot up a Republican baseball practice this morning. He severely wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, Congressional aide Zach Barth, and lobbyist Matt Mika were also shot. He had previously posted on Face Book “Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our democracy. It’s time to destroy Trump and Company.” He did not think of those thoughts on his own. This year has seen the politics of personal destruction reach a new low, dropping into the sewer of politics. The tone of debate has been deteriorating for years. Let’s not blame it on Democrats or Republicans. Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate this year that said nasty comments about opponents. Hillary Clinton often took the low road while professing to stay on the high road. Politics is a blood sport. Presidential elections can take rhetoric and dirty tricks to unacceptable levels because so much is at stake. This year though did not see the vitriolic end on election day. Instead, it has escalated against President Trump. Illegitimate, impeach, resist, treason have become the watchwords of the leftwing of the Democratic Party. We’ll told to “Resist” and “Fight Back.” Hillary Clinton says she’s setting up a “Resistance” PAC. “Traitor” and “treason” have joined the everyday lexicon. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times have led the mainstream media parade in daily drips of anti-Trump rhetoric, anti-Trump-all the time, 24-7. It’s time to back off, relax, take a deep breath, exhale, It’s time to engage in critical analysis. Reasoned debate is leaving the academy and society. Celebrities have taken low comedy into the swamp. Madonna has thought of blowing up the White House. Kathy Griffin held up a gory decapitated head of Donald Trump. New York’s Shakespeare in the Park is playing Julius Caesar. That’s art. Caesar is assassinated. That’s history. They’ve updated it to modern times; that’s poetic license. The Bard’s plays aren’t copyrighted. Their version of Julius Caesar portrays Donald Trump as Caesar, yellow hair, red tie, and a Slovenian accented wife. That may be protected Free Speech, but it’s outrageous. Progressives, such as the LA Times Michael Hiltzak, have criticized Bank of America and Delta Airlines for withdrawing their financial support of Shakespeare in the Park. He would have been apoplectic if President Obama had received this treatment. Let us not forget the academics, the molders of the minds of our students, promoting intolerance on our campuses. Professor Lars Maischak tweeted President Trump “should hang.” He also wrote that two Republicans should be executed for every deported immigrant. Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox called President Trump “a white supremacist” and the election as an “act of terrorism.” Her colleagues were so pleased with her statements that they voted her faculty member of the year. Professor Ray Michalowski of Northern Arizona called the President “the racist in chief.” Professor Thomas Chung, a professor painting at the University of Alaska Anchorage, displayed a painting with Chris Evans, Captain America, holding up President Trump’s decapitated head, by his hair. The lack of reasoned discourse and freedom of speech on our campuses will test our democracy. Violence did not begin this morning. The past year has witnessed not only threats but also physical violence directed at conservative speakers on our campuses, conduct which far exceeds protected peaceful picketing and demonstrations. Let us remember that protestors were hired during the general election to disrupt Trump rallies. No one statement or act led to this individual act of violence. Collectively they create a tone and atmosphere inciting violence, often by nut jobs. Left wing violence, right wing violence, they’re out there. Don’t feed them red meat. My concern is also based on history. Weimar Germany experienced increasing acts of street violence and riots between the Communists and Nazis before the Nazis came to power. Violence begets more violence. We need to back down from the uncivil discourse.

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