Appearing on Fox News’ Outnumbered on Wednesday morning, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich seemed to place some of the blame for the recent shooting at a Congressional Republican softball practice on “the increasing intensity of hostility on the left.”
Mr. Gingrich made the same mistake that many make in the wake of a tragedy – the rush to politicize the event and focus blame on the hostile rhetoric alleged to be coming from the opposition.
Political rhetoric should never be solely to blame for violent actions. Even the most hate-filled rhetoric should not incite normal people to commit acts of violence. But radicals and lunatics are not normal people. And there is no doubt that rhetoric can help stoke the anger that is already present in some deranged individuals.
And if we are going to deflect blame from the purveyors of violence to the rhetoric which supposedly caused their violent acts, let’s take a look at which side actually incites violence with their provocative rhetoric.
Many left-wing politicians and pundits have been able to convince their followers that their opponents on the right are not merely a politically ideological opposition but an evil force. Constant accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia by democratic politicians, celebrities and media personalities have created such a resentment of conservative Americans that violence is sometimes seen as a justifiable reaction. Who could not justify violence against “Hitler”, right?
Left-wing writer Malcolm Harris actually suggested on Twitter that the Wednesday morning shooting of a Republican congressman and staffers may have been tantamount to an act of “self-defense” presumably because of the GOP’s desire to repeal ObamaCare.
If the shooter has a serious health condition then is taking potshots at the GOP house leadership considered self defense?
— Malcolm Harris (@BigMeanInternet) June 14, 2017
It is the left which has constantly accused the right of the hateful rhetoric that has led to a climate of hostility and violence. But that rhetoric essentially does not exist.
Following the election of Donald Trump, every alleged “hate crime” was perceived to be a result of the rhetoric coming from President Trump and those on the right. Even after inevitably being exposed as fake, some argued the necessity for the hate crime hoax as a means to create awareness for actual hate crimes being carried out in Trump’s hateful America – even if they never actually happen.
Right-wing “hate speech” is so non-existent that it is typically only delivered through alleged “dog whistles”. It is delivered by innuendo so subtle that only liberal politicians and pundits with the keenest senses and superior intelligence can understand it. It is then their civic duty to decipher and interpret the “real” message and relay it to us common folks. And that message is often that Republicans are evil monsters.
With rare exception, hate speech from the right is only that which is twisted, spun or completely fabricated by the left. And it is that rhetoric which has created a hostile environment around American politics today. False accusations of hate speech can be one of the worst forms of hate speech itself. And Democratic politicians don’t use dog whistles to articulate their hateful message. They use screeching megaphones turned up to eleven.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.