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Posted by on Jan 19, 2011 in Politics | 0 comments

Missing the point about “civility”

The calls for “civility” in our political discourse are missing the point.  First off, what is being decried is not “rhetoric” because rhetoric is intended to persuade, whereas the extreme statements that are being thrown out there are what some of the authors at The Moderate Voice like to refer to as “red meat” intended to “fire up the base” (a side note, one throws meat to distract carnivores from something else… what is being pulled here??).

I’d be happy if the statements being made (primarily by the hot-headed right-wing) were merely uncivil.  Calling a run for political office a “campaign” isn’t a problem.  Using language like “storming the opposition” or even “kill the bill” is fine (or for those who want to insist “both sides do it!!!” saying “if they bring a knife, we bring a gun” is also not over the top).  Saying that there are calls for stopping the use of that language is disingenuous, an attempt to distract from the true problem.

The problem is with statements like “Second Amendment solutions” and “if ballots don’t work, maybe bullets will” and “we came unarmed, THIS time” and “don’t retreat, RELOAD”.

Language that is “uncivil” isn’t the problem.  The THREATS are the problem.  Hell, I’d be happy if the language were merely lacking civility.  I’d be happy if it was “rhetoric” trying to persuade, rather than threats intended solely to intimidate anyone who doesn’t “think right”.

Why does anyone come with a firearm to a political event?  To INTIMIDATE.  That isn’t expressing a “Second Amendment right”, it is bullying.  (I’m not referring to what occurred in Tucson, but what happened at more than one event the President attended last year)

It’s been painfully obvious in the past week to anyone with a modicum of integrity who hadn’t realized it before now that the right-wing has devolved into bullying and have no interest in persuading.  Like any bully, they start out talking loudly to drown everyone else out, then when a whiff of accountability comes along, they immediately deny responsibility even louder when they are not being accused, then cry and play the victim.

To Hell with civility, stop the bullying and the threats.  Rudeness is fine, if obnoxious, just don’t make people fear for their safety.

Cross-posted to Random Fate.