June 16, 2017
While the media says there's plenty of blame to go around for Wednesday's Republican shooting, at least one liberal knows exactly where to place the blame: in the lap of the Left. Feminist Camille Pagila unleashed on her party for what she calls a "nationwide orgy of rage of spite." In an interview with the Weekly Standard, she blasts Democrats for the cloud of vitriol that's choking off real debate.
"In an abject failure of leadership that may be one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of the modern Democratic Party, Chuck Schumer, who had risen to become the Senate Democratic leader after the retirement of Harry Reid, asserted absolutely no moral authority as the party spun out of control in a nationwide orgy of rage and spite," she said in the interview published Thursday. "Nor were there statesmanlike words of caution and restraint from two seasoned politicians whom I have admired for decades and believe should have run for president long ago -- Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi... How do Democrats imagine they can ever expand their electoral support if they go on and on in this self-destructive way, impugning half the nation as vile racists and homophobes?" she went on.
It was a brutally honest assessment of the current political climate, where no conservative can seem to hold beliefs that the other side doesn't take personally. What happened to the America that embraced healthy dialogue? The country that could disagree without being disagreeable? We've dissolved into a people who don't seem to understand that holding diverse beliefs is not an excuse to launch a personal attack. Thanks to the hostility of the Obama years and the rhetoric of professional name-callers like Southern Poverty Law Center, liberals have forgotten that we can have differences without demonization. It's the fulfillment of Saul Alinsky's vision, as described in Rules for Radicals, the Left's bible of political engagement. "The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition." Then, "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."
Suddenly, even liberals are starting to see the toxicity of that strategy. "I think we're in a time when we can't ignore the extremism from the Left," said Oren Segal of the liberal Anti-Defamation League. "... The past few months have seen enough of a rise in politically motivated violence from the far Left that monitors of right-wing extremism have begun shifting their focus, and sounding the alarm. They see indications that the uptick in extremist rhetoric and anti-government activism that characterized the early years of the Obama presidency are beginning to manifest on the far Left in the early days of Trump's, and that the two sides are increasingly headed for confrontation." As Segal says, "When we have anti-fascist counter-protests... that can ratchet up the violence at these events, and it means we can see people who are violent on their own be attracted to that. I hate to say it, but it feels inevitable."
If any good comes out of this week's tragedy, let's hope it's a realization that we shouldn't attack people for their views -- nor should we have to agree with their wrongheaded ideas in the name of peace. It's time to come together as a nation and remember that each of us is created in the image of God and worthy of respect. Stand for your values, but stand with civility.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.