By Michael d’Oliveira
One of the tactics in American politics these days involves pretending as though everyone who agrees with you is always respectful and civil and the other side is filled with angry and disrespectful people.
And like many things involving politics, the reality is much different.
The truth is that both sides, liberal and conservative, contain groups of people who exceed the kind of behavior that society generally defines as socially acceptable.
On several occasions, liberal protesters have yelled at and harassed Republican politicians and members of the Trump administration in restaurants and other public places.
The same has happened at several Trump rallies. Trump supporters have regularly yelled at members of the media, including the use of profanity and the middle finger.
Most recently, Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was yelled at and harassed by a group of conservatives in South Florida. One man called her a “piece of shit.”
Regardless of whether or not this type of behavior is acceptable, only politics is capable of getting people this worked up and angry.
And only politics is capable of blinding people to the fact that no side has a monopoly on incivility and anger.
The alteration of this “Halloween” billboard (the featured image at the top of this post) is a good example of that – people thinking only the other side has a problem.
If anyone wants to argue one side has a bigger problem with incivility and disrespect, that’s an argument that can be made. But arguing one side is completely innocent of this kind of behavior is not an argument that can be made credibly.
And, of course, leading that charge of lacking credibility is President Donald Trump.
As someone who has repeatedly condoned and encouraged violence, Trump somehow thinks he’s the best person to call the Democrats an “angry mob.”
At a political rally on Oct. 18, Trump praised Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte for body slamming a reporter. “Any guy who can do a body slam – he’s my guy.”
The next day, Trump called the Democrats an “angry mob.” And then he said something about unity, which is the perfect thing to expect if you’re the kind of guy who constantly belittles your political opponents.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2018
Thankfully, there are at least some Republicans and conservatives who are speaking out against Trump’s language.
Radio host and former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh is one of them.
On Twitter (below) he wrote, “The President encourages & applauds physical violence against a journalist. Hey Republicans, don’t ever complain again about violence coming from the Left.”
We need people on both sides to call out violence and the encouragement of violence.