Skip to content

Everyone Agrees!

© Chan Lowe

The only way the inflammatory rhetoric will get toned down is if we stop supporting it. When people use it, let them know you don’t like it. When politicians spew it, don’t vote for them. That applies whether you agree with their positions or not.



  1. Txjill wrote:

    I pretty much agree, but name-calling vs. suggesting gun violence is not quite the same level of violent rhetoric. And for the record…never…NEVER have liberals sent me violent, hateful emails about the people on the right. I can’t say the same about conservatives/republicans/Tea Party types.

    And I have bitten my tongue so many times when a harsh word has been uttered (in my presence or to me) about democrats that I probably have permanent marks in it. All in the interest of trying to remain peaceful, friendly and mature.

    So today I said instead: “Please stop”. Several weeks ago after a nasty email about illegal immigrants from my tea party sister, I replied that I love her and to “please stop” spreading incorrect information and gave a link to correct info. Four years ago, I tracked down a woman in Alabama who had forwarded a hateful, incorrect email about Obama and I personally called her at work (she was dumb enough to leave her work info on the email) and I said that kind of thing was damaging and untrue. That it hurts everyone. How did they all take it? They became offended and defensive and huffed at me like I was the bad guy.

    Just saying that I will continue to do that, but I am not sure it is working from the liberal side. Can we get a few more concessions on the conservative side for this?

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink
  2. starluna wrote:

    TXJill – In defense of conservatives, I have seen offensive and inappropriately de-legitimizing rhetoric on the left. It’s one of the reasons I stopped reading AlterNet regularly. It’s why I am skeptical of anything I read in the HuffingtonPost. It’s why this is one of only a handful of blogs I participate in. The language may not be as violent, but there are liberals who attempt to intellectually emasculate (for lack of a better metaphor) in an unnecessarily abusive manner a different view point or value system.

    Today it seems that the violent and de-humanizing rhetoric largely comes from those who hold conservative views. But we can’t ignore that historically there has been violent rhetoric and acts coming from the liberal perspective as well. Just because liberals aren’t as guilty of it today doesn’t mean they haven’t been in the past or wouldn’t be in the future.

    This is why we have to respond to all abusive and violent rhetoric, even if you are sympathetic to the cause.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    The only defense that anyone has from any side is to have your facts at hand and use them. Make sure that what you say, read, or write has been vetted by disinterested parties. That takes time, study, and focus.

    Emotional cant is so much easier to disseminate — that’s our real challenge.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
  4. ebdoug wrote:

    I had great fun during the election with forwarded e-mails. These were from people who didn’t know how to highlight and delete so I’d get 20 names to respond to with 1) reason, 2) facts. Of course, none of them wanted reason and facts so I was taken off the forwarding list. I would respond to each individual e-mail. I got in quite a discussion with one who for awhile did not realize I was a rabid Obama supporter (and still am). She ended our last e-mail with “And anyway, I like Sarah Palin.” There is no answer to that except “I’m sorry for your ignorance.” I refrained.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Guy wrote:

    Yeah, agreed. As much as I have a hate on for Obama I have always said that I just hate his policies, I don’t hate the man. I would never wish something bad to happen to him personally. That would be a National tragedy, violence accomplishes nothing positive and I would hate to see two innocent little girls lose their daddy.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Permalink
  6. Sammy wrote:

    I do have to agree with TXJill above, that the next time I receive an email forward that pushes an easily rebutted lie, or hate-filled message from a liberal point of view will be the first.

    @EBDoug: That’s funny. I did the exact same thing, responding to all with verifiable facts (including links) to rebut the lie being forwarded in the email. And I too was mysteriously removed from the forwarding list.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  7. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    I have also done the same thing — except I have this one relative —

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink
  8. Michael wrote:

    It’s both funny and sad, but I can relate. My dad used to send me those types of easily debunked forwards. I would normally reply with some documentation (often a Snopes link was all that was needed) that belied the claim. It didn’t work. The emails kept coming until I replied with a lengthy discussion of why I cannot stand email forwards, especially un-researched political ones, how I did not share his political views, and I would appreciate it if he stopped sending them to me. As a result, I have never received any email from him. Even when I email him to set up plans for dinner, holidays, etc. I believe he has simply set up a filter so that all of my messages are instantly trashed.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink
  9. Fred Wickham wrote:

    I don’t like the false equivalence in the cartoon. I haven’t heard any hate speech from the left, just the right.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 1:25 am | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Starluna – you have said what i’ve been trying to say concerning this matter, only yu’ve said it perfectly. Thanks!

    For all, i am a Dem, but most people would think of me as conservative including my friends. I travel in mostly conservative groups (militay and law enforcement)and I have never heard hate speech or seen hate emails and I get many from my conservative friends. I’ve seen just about every right wing mass mailing out there. Not one advocating violence. Not one. I don’t doubt for a minute there are some out there, but of the whole it’s probably a small percentage.

    Here’s my issue on the whole matter. On Nov 5, 2009 an Islamic terrorist walked into a US Army center, opened fire with a personal handgun, killed 13, wounded another 30 in the name of allah and the left said nothing. No comdemnation of Anwar al-Awaki who encouraged him and praised him for his actions. Where was the outrage over that American citizen, who was not mentally ill at the time of his actions?

    That is why this whole uproar is politically motivated IMO by the left, there can be no other explantion. That being said, does there need to be a change in the level of civility during discourse, absolutely. The media (left ) is fanning the flames of this, here is Chris Matthews asking his guest if “listening to right-wing radio makes people crazy, or do crazy people just get drawn to it”

    I don’t know of any “evidence” that there is any connection between the shooter and talk radio.

    Or Keith olberman who says “we should not seek payback against those politicians and commentators who have so irresponsible brought us to this time of domestic terrorism”

    Or Sheriff Dupnik who (without any evidence) claims outrage over the right-wing rhetoric as potentially causing the tragedy. Meanwhile, left wing supporters in his county have built life size dummies of Sheriff Arpaio and cut off his head, burned him and so on while the good Sheriff did or said nothing but allowed them to exercise their free speech. Thats hypocrisy on anybody’s scale.

    So just like we don’t want the mindless to follow the right, let us not mindlessly follow the left.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:14 am | Permalink
  11. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    PtSgt — “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” Does that quote apply? I have heard and read what you have not — you are right to say that this kind of speech is wrong, but it is REAL. Read some on the online posts on news feeds when it refers to an Obama article — the comments are appalling! As I said in another post here: when did the definition of treason shift??? Excuse my rant, it’s not aimed at you in any way.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  12. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Patricia – I agree that it happens on the right and currently it’s happening alot. That is a trend which changed because it used to happen on the left before Obama was elected. Here’s a link that shows my point:

    My next point is what has this talk about rhetoric have to do with the shooter in AZ.? By all accounts he was a-political, didn’t like the pundits and never listened to the talking heads. This whole thing was just “theorized” to have happened, because the right-wing nuts must have forced him with their hate filled rantings. Only problem is there is absolutely no evidence, it all made up.
    If we can’t be honest how can we have real discourse? 🙂

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
  13. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Patriot: in this post also, I notice you are the first and only person to bring up a connection to the AZ shooter, and then you demand an explanation for the connection to the AZ shooter.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink
  14. Patricia Andrews wrote:

    I’m afraid I will have to rant now — I am reacting to the fact that this shooting in Tucson is graphic proof that hate speech has gone beyond poor rhetoric to poorer action. It is easy to rationalize that this was merely a random event, but how is an unbalanced person going to know that hate talk about killing those we disagree with isn’t what we really intend to do? That kind of thinking is simply distancing ourselves from responsibility for our words.

    If we take this discussion out of a “shooting” context and place it into a “racial slur” context, we can see that we cause hurt and a poor social environment — we just don’t have lethal consequences with name calling! I am old enough to remember that at one time it was O.K. to call someone the “N” word — after all, that’s what everyone did. Loose talk about lethal solutions to political disagreements is just a deadly extension of that kind of rationalization for a hate-based society.

    I don’t think there was legalistically a direct correlation between rightist pundits and a Tucson murderer, but I do know it used to be against the law to shout “fire” in a croweded building because there would be negative consequences for the crowd. It also used to be an act of treason to call for the murder of government officials regardless of which side might be doing it. So why do the same mouths keep spouting this stuff and why can we not end it? I’m afraid it’s because everyone looks the other way until something like this Tucson event happens. Then we continue to look the other way by blaming our favorite bad guys instead of fixing the larger societal problem!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink