Last week’s dominant national story was the explosive devices sent to former Pres. Obama, Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, various Democratic members of Congress and prominent donors and CNN.
On Friday, a suspect was arrested in Florida, Cesar Sayoc. He is a registered Republican, a big Trump backer and an odd duck in general.
People like him are the reason it is time to call a halt the over-the-top harsh rhetoric that dominates our political discourse the last few years. Conservative National Review writer David French made the case well:
Speech can inspire violence. It can. It’s one reason why civility and a sense of proportion in your speech aren’t just abstract, sanctimonious, or elitist concepts. They’re moral responsibilities for people with any kind of meaningful platform. Not all listening ears are sober-minded or entirely rational. And when they hear a public figure they admire thunder against his political opponents with extreme language, sometimes they’ll take extreme action in response.
Pres. Trump bears part of the blame. The targets are all people he has personally— and recently — attacked. His lament that the arrest distracted attention from his policy announcements was ridiculous. His wife, Melania, needs to take his Twitter phone and break it. Hs aides should take him off the campaign trail and stick him in the White House basement for a few weeks. The country would be better.
He is not the only one. There are those on the left that label Republican after Republican “Nazis”, allege that a single Supreme Court justice means the end of civil liberties and spread silly conspiracy theories. David French also made this point well:
Conservatives are correct to perceive that the present-day political environment is full of toxic anti-Republican rhetoric and symbolism. A celebrity posed with Donald Trump’s severed head. A theater company shoehorned a mock execution of Trump into Shakespeare in the Park. The Internet has come alive with debates over when, if ever, it’s acceptable to “punch a fascist.” Even otherwise respectable politicians accuse Republican lawmakers of killing people by repealing Obamacare. If far-right speech can inspire far-right violence (and it does), isn’t the obverse equally true?
Speaking of conspiracy theories... Those on the right acted shamefully on the bombings. Rush Limbaugh, Dinesh D’Souza and Ann Coulter all claimed it was some sort of Democratic plot.
Idaho’s own Tammy Nichols, a District 11 candidate for Idaho House of Representatives, picked up these themes, posting a meme of Trump with the caption: “When you’ve made the Democrats so insane they send bombs to themselves.” Shameful.
Everyone needs to grow up. Rhetoric needs to be lowered a few decibels. Nuts need to go back in their shells.
I was particularly impressed by a statement released by a Republican congressman and his Democratic opponent in Utah:
This is a good time for all of us to take a hard look at our ourselves and the rhetoric we use every day and the way we treat people—especially those people with whom we most strongly disagree. Although you would be hard-pressed to find candidates for Congress that have more diverse political views and philosophies about the proper role of the government, as candidates for Utah’s Third Congressional District, we have great respect for each other. We have fundamental differences on the issues, but we speak about those differences thoughtfully and with regard toward one another.
What unites us all, a desire to serve and help our neighbors, is so much stronger than what sets us apart.