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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Politics Is War

I don't remember when it happened. Did it start with the Bush administration? Or did it start with Clinton? Or maybe it has always been this way and I have just recently realized it. But I doubt it.

The first time I noticed it was back in 2002 one day at work. I got into a discussion at work with a couple of co-workers about some political issue, I don't remember what. One of my co-workers then exclaimed that Republicans and conservatives are evil.


I asked him for some clarification. I said that I could certainly understand that he disagrees with Republican or conservative policies but that of course both conservatives and liberals want the same thing. Nope, he said. He then went on to explain that he thought that Republicans/conservatives were evil/mean-spirited people who only wanted to do bad things.

The amazing thing about this exchange is that my co-worker's attitudes have now become much more common. I have heard these opinions echoed among many people I know. And now the blogosphere is giving a large megaphone to these attitudes that seems to have found a home a DailyKos and other similar blogs.

I bring this anecdote up because of a post I read on DailyKos yesterday. (yes I do read DailyKos and even post a diary there occasionally.) This particular post is about a gay activist who is attempting to blackmail a U.S. Senator. Yes, I did say blackmail. This particular person is very upset that this Senator voted to confirm Judge Alito. Because of this vote, this person has decided to release information that will prove that the Senator has engaged in homosexual acts.

Is this really what our country has come to??? The amazing thing about this blackmail attempt is that many of the commenters were in total agreement. But I do not find these kind of extremist attitudes to be tolerated equally across the political spectrum. If someone wrote a post like this at Redstate, I'm sure it would be removed pretty quickly.

Aha, you say. That is proof that conservatives are all about censoring speech.

Not at all. The problem is that many on the left have distorted the very concept of tolerance and are willing to tolerate the intolerable so long as it can do damage to their political opponents.

Say what you will about the various nutjobs on the right (and yes there are plenty). The Right tends to do a much better job of repudiating and denouncing extremists within their own parties or groups. So why is it that the left doesn't seem to be able to do this?

A perfect example of this is Coleen Rowley, who is running for Congress against John Kline in Minnesota. Rather than question Kline's record or positions, which is pefectly acceptable to do, she opted for another strategy. Call your opponent a Nazi. Here is a screen shot of her website depicting Kline in a Nazi uniform.

If Rowley were a Republican, you can bet that this story would be frontpage news across the country. Why is that? Why is it so hard to denounce something so obviously wrong?

So what is it going to take to end this paradigm of vitriol and extreme rhetoric in politics? And is this simply a reflection of the coarsening of our society as a whole?

I don't know the answer to these questions. But I do know that it is going to take some great leadership that is willing to put partisan ideals aside for the betterment of our country.

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