I seem to be hearing the word ‘civil’ or ‘civility’ bandied about a lot lately, but while the word pops up frequently, the action seems to be slow to follow. The republicans are worried that the democrats are becoming increasingly ‘uncivil’ … gee, I wonder why, after 21 months of being verbally brutalized by a bully and his cohorts! But let’s look at a few things here …
Tom Wolf is the current governor of Pennsylvania, and from all indications is a good one, liked and respected by the people of Pennsylvania. A man named Scott Wagner is running against Wolf this year on the republican ticket. Here is the ‘civil’ tongue with which Wagner speaks: “Well, Governor Wolf, let me tell you what, between now and Nov. 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face, because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.” Civility?
The Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City recently hosted Gavin McInnes, founder of the white supremacist hate group Proud Boys. After McInnes’ lecture on Otoya Yamaguchi, his ‘Proud Boys’ took to the streets, brutally beating and kicking several individuals while shouting “faggot” and “[expletive deleted].” Civility?
Notable democrats are calling for their party to get tougher ahead of the mid-terms.
“It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are.” – Former Attorney General Eric Holder
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” – Former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton
Neither of these even remotely call for violence, they do not use foul or vulgar language, do not refer to stomping on someone’s face or encourage beatings. They are simply calling on democrats to speak louder, to stand stronger. And yet, here is what Donald Trump claims …
“You don’t hand matches to an arsonist and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob and that’s what the Democrats have become. They would turn our country so fast into Venezuela. And Venezuela’s not doing too well, folks.”
“The Democrats have become too extreme and too dangerous to govern.”
“Radical Democrats want to tear down our laws, tear down our institutions in pursuit of power, demolish our prosperity in the name of socialism and probably worse.”
“They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”
Let me show you a few pictures of Trump’s ‘base’ at some of his rallies …
Who are extreme and dangerous people? Who, I ask, are trying to ‘tear down our laws, tear down our institutions in pursuit of power’? Who constitutes an ‘angry mob’?
Both democrats and republicans are angry these days. This is a result of the ‘man’ who began 2016 by inciting violence in his campaign rallies, even offering to pay legal fees of any who would use physical violence against peaceful protestors. This is a result of the ‘man’ who constantly taunts not only his political foes, but the free and legitimate press, and any who dare to question or disagree with him. The divisiveness in this country, the lack of civility, didn’t just happen – it was manufactured with a purpose. It was manufactured using lies, smoke & mirrors, and already-existing tensions that were prodded to an even higher level.
And now that same ‘man’ is trying to convince his base, some 30% of the nation, that the democrats are evil, that they are dangerous, that they seek to harm him and his through ‘mob rule’, and that they must be stopped at all costs. He is turning the word ‘democrat’ into something that has horribly frightening connotations in the minds of his minions. He has even convinced some part of them that men are the real victims in sexual assault cases! The ‘man’ seems to almost hypnotize the previously sane.
The worst mistake that democrats can make today would be to play into his hands, to allow peaceful protests to end in violence. Democratic candidates must not play Trump’s game of using rude, crude and vulgar language, or calling for violence, or of being so anti-Trump that they forget to tell the people what they stand for. The stakes are high in just over three weeks. It is so important that we all keep our eye on the ball and not allow ourselves to be goaded into lowering ourselves to the level of today’s more radical republicans. I still ascribe to what Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high”.
The most important things on the agenda of every candidate for the next three weeks must be: convincing people of the importance of their vote, maintaining civility under all circumstances, speaking loudly and clearly to communicate their platform as well as their values. Democrats will not get the votes of avid, die-hard Trump supporters. That is a fact, a foregone conclusion, so we need not even bother to try. Tune them out and focus on those who may actually listen … and think.