The coarseness of political debate has been increasing steadily for decades. It has now reached the point where much of the dialogue encourages violence. And that coarseness is not generated from the worker in the factory, the farmers in their field or even the office workers confined in their cubicles in towering buildings. No, it comes directly from the political class, including the news media, which condescends to educate the masses. With increasing frequency it is being taken up by academia and transferred to their students as if it is a reasonable substitute for intelligence or persuasiveness.
The irony of this is that the very people who are responsible for the coarseness are the loudest voices protesting its effects. Take for instance the recent case of Mika Brzezinski, a newsreader at MSNBC, who for months has criticized President Donald Trump as “insane” and “unstable” and has obsessed about the size of Mr. Trump’s penis – that’s the reference to her accusation that Mr. Trump has small hands. She even laid claim to knowing First Lady Melania Trump’s inner thoughts claiming that Ms. Trump is fed up with Mr. Trump and that it is all going to come to a head shortly. And not a word is heard regarding her conduct, her language, her enormous disrespect or that she runs her mouth constantly – not about facts, not about policy differences, but solely about personality and physical traits.
But when Mr. Trump turns the table and refers to her as “crazy” with a “low IQ” and notes that she has recently had cosmetic surgery, she is mortified – her entire world (and thereby the entire world of the mainstream media and the political class) is threatened – liberty is threatened, free speech is threatened, the very core of American politics is threatened. Look, I’m not excusing Mr. Trump who has let this coarseness invade the speech of the President of the United States, rather I am noting that he is not the first to engage in these personal attacks, not the first to use personal defamation as a response to what should be political (policy) differences, and not the first to use sexual denigration as means of criticism.
Today, the political class appears to be intellectually incapable of dealing with the nation’s commonweal. They have retreated into ideological catch phrases coupled with an absolute unwillingness to consider the legitimate concerns raised by the opposition. When one side criticizes the other for its refusal to “work” with them, they really mean that there must be total capitulation to the other side’s agenda. They no longer look for common ground but rather for absolute victory. I have come to believe that they lack the intellectual capacity to compromise. That belief is reinforced by their preference for personal and emotional attacks rather than reasoned debate.
Let’s take the debate about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. The Democrats claim that people will die if Obamacare is repealed. Yes, people will die but not because Obamacare is repealed, rather it is because people die as a matter of course. The Democrats claim that 23 Million people will lose healthcare coverage. No they won’t. Twenty three million people who were forced to take overpriced coverage for things that they neither needed, or wanted, will have a choice as to whether and what kind of coverage suits their needs. There may be legitimate things to criticize about the Republican plans to replace Obamacare, but neither of those routinely cited by Democrats is true. But it is far easier, requires less understanding, and virtually no facts to engage in the hyperbole of people dying and people losing coverage.
Those Republicans who laud their “free market” approach as the complete solution are just as disingenuous. There is no question that competition in a free market will reduce the cost of delivering healthcare and will allow people to make choices about their coverage. But that only exists in competitive markets. The fact of the matter is that competition does not exist at a level that will provide quality healthcare at competitive rates in rural and impoverished areas. Something beyond beating your chest over the marvels of competition has to be done.
But of greater concern today is that the hyperbole used today is designed to inflame and incite. Quite frankly, that level of hyperbole is used predominantly by the left to stir the young, incite class envy and inflame racial tensions. The days of rage following the election of Mr. Trump were organized, orchestrated and paid for by America’s increasingly shrill progressives. It has been the “mother’s milk” of the public employee unions, the race-baiters, and more frequently an academia that seeks to repress those who dare to disagree. The right is not free from those who incite violence or dare others to incite violence – you don’t show up to peaceful protests with fully loaded semi-automatic weapons without inviting trouble – witness the Bundy protest at the Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge. Yes, you can argue Free Speech all day long but along with Free Speech comes responsibility for its use. Get over yourself.
Having noted all this, what is the solution? Well, in its fundamental terms the solution lies with you. It is as simple as the admonitions of your parents: “Respect is earned, not entitled. If you want respect, you need to show respect.” Those who have not earned your respect should not be returned to public office. Those who have not earned respect should not be put forward for public office – unless you want a rerun of the 2016 election and then I would still choose Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton.
In the meantime, for those who engage in conduct like Mika Brzezinski, stop feigning surprise or outrage when you get exactly what you were looking for – attention. You continued to escalate personal attacks on Mr. Trump until he responded (as you knew he would) with similar personal attacks. His denigration of you is not the denigration of all women. His retort to you is not an attack on free speech or freedom of the press, it is a tit-for-tat comment on a single person who has stooped so low as to beg for retaliation. Your mother would not be proud of you – nor Mr. Trump’s mother of him. Both of you should be ashamed.