Opinion | Liddick: Democrats on the high road to violence
So Hillary Clinton thinks one cannot be civil to members of a political party who want “to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” And the country will only regain civility when the Democrats regain control, because nothing says civility quite like a one-party state. If Democrats run it, that is.
Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer recently expressed misgivings about Rep. Maxine Waters’ “Get in their faces” exhortations; they were immediately attacked by the Tone Police of the left who say that, if one calls for a more measured and mannerly exchange, one is a racist. In the words of one screed, “When you attack a Black woman for speaking out about injustice, and when you call for ‘civility’ in the face of blatant racism, you invoke a long history of white supremacist power.” Blatant racism apparently being, in this case, Republicans winning elections and doing as they promised afterward — like enacting policies that engendered the lowest black unemployment numbers ever.
Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder recently stood civility on its head, saying of Republicans “When they go low, kick ‘em.” Which he later explained as “being tough” to hold onto the gains in civil rights that those mean ol’ Republicans want to take away. One suspects that, had he himself been kicked for going low at that point, he would have complained bitterly.
Welcome to politics, 2018. It’s not quite as bad as the 1877 “Tilden or Blood” moment — also created by disgruntled Democrats — but tempers are clearly high and pressure is climbing. No matter what the results of the impending election are, tension will not cease. Nor, one suspects, in 2020, when more will be at stake. Democrats have shown they will go to any lengths to regain power, so we should all prepare to spend the next few years locked in a gunpowder magazine, everyone furiously smoking and throwing matches where they will. There is a high probability it will end badly.
There has already been blood: Representative Steve Scalise, shot and seriously wounded by a Bernie Sanders supporter as he and a group of Republican lawmakers were practicing on an Arlington, Virginia, softball field. There would have been other victims had it not been for the rapid and decisive intervention of two Capitol Police officers, who were also wounded. There have already been bruises, battered faces and bodies, and plenty of property damage. For the left, nothing seems to scream “free speech” so much as oodles of broken shop windows, preferably of banks and big companies.
There have been standoffs between large groups with all the “get in their faces” action that Rep. Maxine Waters and others of her ilk could want. So eventually, there will be tragedy. We all sense it, because we all know one or two people who would likely, in the wrong situation at the wrong time with the wrong provocation, call down the wrath. And when that happens, we can’t take it back.
What happens then? Progressives will have their martyr by hook or crook, and in the perpetrator their racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, crazed-righty goat. Each of us will then have a choice.
Will we line up behind our favorite flavor and, responding to the cry of “Aux Barricades!” rush into the streets looking to do violence to those neighbors who cleave to ideas different from ours? Or will we all come to our senses and take a collective step back, before we plunge over a cliff with our hands on each other’s throats? Probably the former, because there are few moderating influences left and fewer people still inclined to hear them out.
We used to have “the media” which advocated for fact and common sense. Alas, it threw that role overboard to embrace cause journalism and partisanship. We used to have political leadership which would call for calm and often get it; but today’s leaders are more interested in furthering their own interests by kicking deplorables and pillorying irredeemables to be able to call for calm with any authority. The balance wheels of the past have abrogated their responsibilities, so the auguries are not good.
But from time to time there are surprises. In July of 1881, simmering political conflicts that threatened a new civil war resulted in an attempt to kill President James Garfield which so horrified everyone that the national fever broke almost immediately and the Union was restored; Americans needed to find only a few commonalities to remember that they agreed on far more than that which divided them. There have been other epiphanies since. Only one question remains.
Do we want to heal and re-unite, or is the siren call of mad, partisan wrecking too seductive?
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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