This is going to get political. If politics aren’t your thing, hang on; later this week I hope to have a book review up.
By now you’re probably familiar with what happened on June 14, 2017: a man named James Thomas Hodgkinson went to an athletic field where a number of Republican congressmen were practicing for a baseball game and shot at them, wounding several. Hodgkinson, a left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter, did this because he wanted to kill Republicans. In all respects this was a political assassination attempt, and it’s only due to the bravery of Congressman Steve Scalise’s security detail (and Hodgkinson’s horrible marksmanship) that more people weren’t shot and killed. The only casualty was Hodgkinson.
Predictably, we’ve been subject to a number of calls for civility in the wake of the shooting, as well as demands to cool heated political rhetoric. And, just as predictably, these calls are a gigantic, ridiculous waste of air.
The Paper of Record, The New York Times, ran a recent editorial that attempted a disgusting moral equivalence between Hodgkinson’s attempted murder of Republicans and Jared Lee Loughner’s shooting of Democrat Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The Times claimed that Loughner shot Giffords because of a graphic that Sarah Palin, a Republican and a former governor of Alaska, posted online featuring crosshairs on several Congressional districts. Loughner, a delusional lunatic, had been obsessed with Giffords for years prior to Palin’s graphic having been uploaded, thought that grammatical rules are forms of mind control, and was by all accounts a committed leftist. Also, nobody knows if he had ever seen Palin’s graphic. So this equivalence is utterly false, and despite the NYT’s later retraction, shows a disturbing, denial-based mindset.
Scott Pelley of CBS asked if Steve Scalise’s near-mortal injury was in some way self-inflicted.
MSNBC host Joy Reid Tweeted this:
— AM Joy w/Joy Reid (@amjoyshow) June 17, 2017
So The New York Times tries to deflect, and CBS and MSNBC think that Steve Scalise had it coming because he’s a Republican.
Well, this doesn’t mean that everyone on the left agrees with this loathsome Joy Reid character, for example. Only approximately 9800 people, give or take. Maybe more, when you count her television audience. But it’s not the entire left wing, is it? Perhaps not. And yet…
Republican opposition to Obamacare, and the subsequent passage of Trumpcare/Ryancare in the Republican-led House of Representatives has led Democrat party politicians to claim that Republicans want people who are sick to die. They loudly proclaim that Republicans want to take health care and health insurance away from anyone who isn’t wealthy.
When Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, Democrat politicians claimed that Republicans want everyone in the world to have filthy air, dirty water, and polluted land. Similar apocalyptic claims have been echoed throughout the news and entertainment media.
Putting it all together, we have an illegitimate president (because the Russians stole the election from Hillary Clinton and gave it to Trump) who’s trying to destroy the world with pollution, and he’s aided by a political party that hates everyone and wants them to die. That’s the picture being painted by the news media, the Democrat party, and the loudest voices in entertainment.
If you believe this story, then it’s not a big leap to decide to start killing your ideological opponents wherever you find them. After all, the fate of the very planet is at stake. You’d be a hero. You’d be stopping the Republican-caused apocalypse. Who cares about a time machine that allows you to kill Hitler in the crib? You can do the same thing right now and be a hero for it, celebrated by the likes of famous people like George Takei and Scott Pelley and Joy Reid.
The progressive left doesn’t want civility. It doesn’t want to address competing policies in the arena of ideas. It’s decided that the only way to communicate is through the most vitriolic, eliminationist rhetoric ever voiced in the public square. If you disagree with a progressive, it’s because you want someone else to die. It’s that simple. Your disagreement is hate. Hell, even delicious chicken sandwiches are hate. And we know what you do with those hateful chicken sandwiches, don’t we?
So the calls for civility are insincere, at best. The intent with such demands is to silence opposition while staying on the attack. It’s silly to decry the polarization of our culture in one breath and then claim that your ideological adversaries hate you and want to kill your children in the next.
What to do? Usually I like to end a piece like this with a call to action. “Get on the field and fight,” or “stock up on dogs, guns, and canned food.” Something like that. For this, though, there is no remedy. No fix. How do you persuade someone who’s being conditioned to hate you that you’re not worth their hate? It’s like trying to prove a negative. And it’s not hate if you hate evil; in fact, it’s a good thing to hate the hateful. It shows your virtue. You want to save the planet, don’t you? Get out there and punch a Nazi. Kill Hitler in the crib. Make a difference.
We haven’t seen the end of ideologically-driven violence. The partisan divide won’t narrow any time soon. Nobody wants it to, particularly our betters in the news industry, politics, and entertainment media.