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OP-ED: Democrats have a civility problem to fix

November 13, 2018
In The News

Rhetoric from the left drips with irony and devastates civil political discourse in this country. A week prior to the midterm election, I was eating lunch with a friend at a restaurant in my congressional district. Another friend arrived early for his lunch appointment and joined us in conversation while waiting for his associate.

His appointment arrived, and I was introduced as his friend’s congressman. In this popular restaurant during the busy lunch hour, the new arrival began a loud tirade of profanity-laced invective toward me and the president. I tried to reason with him, but he was off the handle. I assured him that I was willing to meet with him when he was more rational and calm to discuss his concerns, which only provoked him to the limits of his vocabulary and even a brief exploration of my faith (also punctuated with profanity).

The irony is that his beef with the president, if I can take substance from his vulgar communication, is that the president is a bully and a boor. I think the irony is clear, though lost on my angry constituent.

He even rejected my offer to sit and talk another time when he was calmed down by saying that my support for the president was disqualifying. Now think about that. That attitude is dehumanizing. It suggests that if one supports the elected president of the United States, talking in a reasonable manner, in a civilized way is not necessary — and would actually be beneath him. And this attitude is the destructive nature of this irony in American politics today.

If this was the only time this conduct has occurred to me or other supporters of the president, we could write this off as a fellow who was simply having a bad day. However, we see this type of ironic behavior recurring daily.

A writer at a Comcast-owned media outlet was content with the strategy of terrorizing Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s family and vandalizing his home as a strategy.

Maxine Waters incited criminal conduct by promoting harassment and intimidation of Republicans, conservatives, and Trump supporters. I offered up a motion to censure Ms. Waters because I believe that elected officials should be encouraging discourse not destruction in American politics.

It is ironic that those who champion diversity in fact hate diversity of political thought.

Those who demand civility only need be civil if you agree with them, or, in the case of Hilary Clinton, are Democrats.

Those who demand tolerance need only be tolerant to those with acceptable viewpoints.

For those on the left, toning down rhetoric means that conservatives should not express their cogent, reasoned, and deeply held views, while the left can castigate, hurl invective, and incite criminal behavior.

Irony often makes great literature, but rarely good politics. Political discourse today is rotten. Some say it is the worst ever, but I remind them of a time when states threatened to, and actually seceded, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. We’ve seen threats from some in a couple of states to secede because President Trump won the election.

I suspect we will continue to see masked domestic terrorists commit crimes against conservatives and reprehensible conduct toward conservatives. How long will this be tolerated by leaders on the left? Will it go on in its destructive and ironic way until civility is a long-forgotten American virtue?

These are the destructive ironies in American politics today, and they must be corrected before the foundations of our Republic collapse.