By Matthew A. McIntosh / 06.16.2017
The rhetoric on the right now bloviating about the rhetoric on the left is a scarier rhetoric than has been seen in some time. The GOP has long championed the second amendment, but they often seem to forget that there are nine others, all equally important.
Following the shooting in Virginia, they have escalated their attacks against perhaps our most cherished amendment. That may be why it’s the very first one.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich hastened to blame the shooting on “the increasing intensity of hostility on the left” when he appeared on Outnumbered. He seems to forget his own past, aptly described by Mother Jones columnists David Corn and Tom Murphy as “a verbal bomb-thrower who’s never met a political crisis he couldn’t analogize to the annexation of the Sudetenland.”
In 1978, Gingrich told the College Republicans (prior to his own election to Congress), “I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty.” In 1984, he accused Democrats of spreading “communist propaganda”. He went so far as to say enough historical evidence existed “to challenge the patriotism of Democrats and liberals.”
In 1989, calling Democrats “Mussolini-like”, Gingrich said, “The left-wing Democrats will represent the party of total hedonism, total exhibitionism, total bizarreness, total weirdness, and the total right to cripple innocent people in the name of letting hooligans loose.”
And of course only Gingrich and his ilk could save America. Referencing his political views in 1994, he said, “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz. I see evil all around me every day.”
Gingrich’s words of division and hate never stopped. But suddenly, today, any similar rhetoric from the left is dangerous, is it? Do as I say, not as I do? This is textbook hypocrisy.
Even Ted Nugent of has-been fame, a man whose words have been by definition violent and hateful, has apparently “seen the light”. After the shooting, he said in an interview on 77WABC Radio, “At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms. I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends/enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”
Oh, now he wants civility and polite rhetoric?
Hypocrisy aside, those on the alt-right are issuing statements that should chill any American to the bone. Radio host and Trump ally Michael Savage suggested the time has come for Trump and the GOP to take control of Twitter and other social media. “Is it time,” Savage asked, “for the government to take control of the out-of-control pirates on social media…who do not monitor left-wing haters?”
Savage accused the media of waging a “jihad”, saying that Republicans should “call a hearing and make the heads of CNN and MSNBC answer to them as to what they are doing to curtail the sneering hatred of Rachel Madcow (sic) in particular.”
If that statement doesn’t scare you senseless, nothing will. Trump’s own words have hinted at a desire to severely limit first amendment freedom of the press. Now they’re using a tragedy to pump up that rhetoric.
Conservatives seem to extol the virtues of the Constitution and all its glory, practically deifying our founders. However, when they hold the reins, they will manipulate it and even vilify its most important precepts to achieve their ends.
I didn’t hear Republicans bemoaning the rhetoric of the right when Dylann Roof murdered nine people in a church, fueled by extreme alt-right ideas. I didn’t hear them wanting to stomp out anti-Muslim rhetoric following the stabbings in Portland.
Democrats when they have engaged in this type of politicization in the past, and shame on them for it.
Shame on Republicans for doing the same thing – both in the past and right now. You don’t get to talk about the dirt on someone’s hands when you haven’t washed your own.