… because this is likely the only time you will see the Huffington Post cited here, unless as an object of ridicule.
Adam Kissel writes:
First of all, there is so far no evidence that a “climate of demonization,” “mean-spririted xenophobia,” or “hateful speech” had anything to do with alleged killer Jared Loughner’s apparent decision to try to assassinate Giffords and kill or injure many others. The supposition that political expression created a climate that led Loughner to his choice is an idea that seems to have sprung from whole cloth out of the minds of people who likely were upset beforehand about “rhetoric” and “hateful” speech, including, apparently, Chancellor Birgeneau. Nevertheless, it has quickly become the driving force in the national discussion about the shooting.
RTWT, as they say.
Conciliatory, agreeable speech needs no protection. The reason we have a First Amendment is to protect unpopular, even hateful speech.
There is a big, bright line between “they ought to shut up” and “somebody ought to shut them up.” Mentally unstable people who cross it, like Jared Laughner, will be part of the price we pay for that freedom, but the government should never, ever cross it.
We cannot legislate away hate and discord, especially when the definition of hate speech for so many people is “anything that disagrees with my viewpoint.”
I had a particularly dissatisfying exchange on a friend’s Facebook page with one of his liberal friends, in which I was called a racist, xenophobic, gay-bashing white patriarchal asshole hatemonger, simply because I dared to question the validity of pinning Jared Laughner’s actions on the The Tea party, Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck. For such people, rational discussion is impossible, because they are as intolerant in their own way as the racist xenophobes they despise. They are simply incapable of seeing the world through anything but the prism of their own belief system.
Predictably, it didn’t elevate the level of discourse by responding that he was a presumptuous asshole who wouldn’t know a civil debate if it bit him on his hysterical leftist liberal ass. I let anger from an ad hominem attack get the better of me, but I bowed out of any further exchanges, rather than dirty my friend’s Facebook page with the intellectual equivalent of a monkey shit fight at the zoo.
An end to political discord will never be realized, and that’s a good thing. Argument and debate is healthy. But if you want to restore some civility to the debate, the first step is trying to understand your opponent, and by extension, his anger.
Leftists are never going to understand the Tea Party and the right as long as they insist on seeing them as racist, xenophobic, gun-toting religious kooks. You’d do better to ask why they’re angry, leftists, and the intrusiveness of government into our everyday lives is at the very top of that list. The heavy-handedness of Nancy Pelosi and the 108th and 109th Congresses only fanned the flames.
And while we’re on the subject, Republicans, the rest of America isn’t afraid of gay cooties and doesn’t give a rat’s ass what other people do in their bedrooms, and you can’t legislate morality any more than the left can legislate economic equality. So please, stick to strong defense and fiscal restraint, mmmkay?
And by fiscal restraint, I do not mean screeching indignantly about entitlements out of one side of your mouth, while lobbying for pork for your district out of the other.