Incendiary climate fueled by both parties and the media

Clearly, a poisonous atmosphere in American politics has surfaced in the wake of last Sunday’s passage of the health care legislation.  Regardless of what has sparked the threats and actual acts of violence that unfortunately have manifested themselves in recent days — and there is plenty of blame to go around – the leaders and members of both major parties have an obligation to take steps to rein in their supporters.  And this means going beyond simply issuing statements condemning violent acts and threats.  The leaders of both the GOP and the Democratic Party need to actually meet with constituents and interest groups — including leaders and organizers of the Tea Party movement — and tell them in no uncertain terms to back down and cool off.

It is probably too much to hope that party leaders would stop bracketing their remarks condemning violence with clever political phraseology implying the other party is somehow responsible; but it sure would be nice if they did.   

One thing that is not too much to ask, however, is for both major parties to stop the unseemly spectacle of permitting their fundraisers to use the current climate of combativeness for political and fundraising gain.  Such tactics continue to coarsen the debate even if they do not directly fuel the current climate of hate. 

The media, unfortunately, is not just sitting on the sidelines objectively reporting about the goings on.  Individual members of the House appear almost eager to use the media to headline every untoward action or problematic phone message; and many in the media are  more than eager to comply — with blaring headlines, repetitive “specials,” and endless interviews.  Rather than standing aside and permitting law enforcement to investigate incidents of violence or threats thereof, in order to determine who is responsible and whether there actually are links to political groups, politicians and many in the media are jumping to conclusions and running with their assumptions in order to garner headlines and score political points.

In times past, including a little more than a decade ago when tempers ran high during the impeachment proceedings and when I and others involved in that process on the Republican side had to deal with threats and unseemly actions against us and our offices, there was no media hooplah and no parade of news conferences detailing every unsavory incident.  Incidents that needed to be investigated by law enforcement were turned over to law enforcement to handle appropriately; we preferred simply to “deal with it” rather than make political points from it.

The health care vote certainly will figure prominently in the strategies employed by both major parties in this fall’s elections; and which side will reap the greatest gains from their efforts remains to be seen.  But stoking anger and violence is something all interested parties — including the media — have an affirmative rsponsibility to foreswear and work to avoid.  Flames once fanned have a nasty habit of flaring up where and when you don’t want them to.

66 comments Add your comment

jconservative

March 28th, 2010
12:12 pm

Folks we are not in a crisis. We have these open, occasionally violent, public arguments (debates is the wrong word) every few years.
This is just another episode. Compared to Vietnam and the Sixties this is a cream puff disagreement. The National Guard has not gunned down students at Kent State this month, no one has tried to blow up the Pentagon this month, and thousands of people have not left the USA for Canada.

This whole thing is rather a yawn. This is American Democracy in action. I think it is great!

No More Progressives!

March 28th, 2010
12:29 pm

Poor Perfezor Numbnuts. In less than a blink of the eye, the Perfezor took less then one tenth the total information that would fit on a pin, and concluded what I am.

The famous Obamatron clairvoyance.

Ne feceris ut rideam.

Robert Littel

March 28th, 2010
1:10 pm

NMP – You have provided a wealth of mine-able rubbish from which to draw my conclusion that you are not exactly intellectually challenging. We must be thankful that someone like yourself, offers us so much information on how stupid someone can be, who mindlessly repeats Beck and Limbaugh talking points as if they were somehow of value in the world of ideas. You really should pick up a book once in a while instead of just watching cartoonish buffoons spew hate and distortion, all in service to forces you will never be capable of understanding.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

March 28th, 2010
4:06 pm

Barr, I’m disappointed in you. You’re often level-headed, but here you’ve bought into the false moral equivalence promoted by the right (as in Eric Cantor claiming his office was targeted with gunfire, when it’s clear that wasn’t the case).

Look, in this case, it’s pretty simple. Two parties are fighting. One of them won a major victory (the presidency), and then–two years later–another major victory (healthcare reform). The losing party can’t accept this and is ratcheting up the violence talk. This is not a case of “both sides are doing it.” One side is doing it–and by “it,” I mean threatening Congressional representatives, vandalizing their offices, using racial slurs, shouting down anyone who disagrees with them at town hall meetings, and openly carrying weapons to those meetings while claiming they aren’t threatening anyone. I call BS.

I will say that Neal Boortz is to be commended (even though I’m convinced he’s dead wrong on most of the issues) for stating that violence is not the way Americans (even conservatives) should handle this.

No More Progressives!

March 28th, 2010
5:25 pm

Perfezor, I know for a fact that you don’t listen or watch Beck or Limbaugh.

Which begs the obvious question: How in the world do you know I sound like them?

No More Progressives!

March 28th, 2010
5:27 pm

I will say that Neal Boortz is to be commended (even though I’m convinced he’s dead wrong on most of the issues) for stating that violence is not the way Americans (even conservatives) should handle this.

“Even conservatives?” We’re not American enough for you?

LeeH1

March 28th, 2010
6:20 pm

You hit me back first!

Robert Littel

March 28th, 2010
6:45 pm

NMP – Unlike doctrinaire boneheaded Rightists, I do watch what the enemy is saying and who is saying it, so I can understand why so many stupid people tend to fall in line behind them and do exactly what you do, spew hate based nonsense and propaganda talking points. You are an ego without a brain, a mouth without a message and a fool without a rationale.

William

March 29th, 2010
2:27 am

Mr. Barr your opinions are just those I would expect from someone coming from the hill. Our problem as Americans is we don’t get involved in politics and allow individuals to spend too much time in jobs on capital hill where they become Kings of the Hill instead of job performance. Majority of amercia’s best lawyers know the 13 states suit is frivolus, without precednce and a waste of time and money as you already know this. Think about it, we can mandate car insurance but not medical care…As far as Gov Perdue is concerned I am not surprised as he is far from being honest and very vendictive…Taxes which should have been going for areas of fire and police equipment etc and has been scavenged by Ga government for other things as allowed by law…Why weren’t the people of ga told of this law befroe they voted and approved the taxes. How about the millions of dollars lost in Transportation or how the Gov. wants us to spend more money on roads to so call help ease traffic When if our fearless well paid Governor and his Transprotation office did their job we could have these roads at a fraction of the cost. By the way how was it to investigate Clinton while messing around on your wife..kind of like making laws while not paying taxes or bouncing checks….

William

March 29th, 2010
2:34 am

Things that make you go lololol…The republicans answer is to have a “Tea Party” with PTSD over the edge McCain and i don’t have a clue I’m an idiot Palin……Go Pubs Go…No I’m not a Dem just someone with a few grains of intelligence..lololol

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

March 29th, 2010
8:43 am

Glad you caught that, NMP. Personally, I find preferring rule of force over rule of law to be a little anti-American… but that’s just me. ;)

No More Progressives!

March 29th, 2010
12:05 pm

Robert Littel

March 28th, 2010
6:45 pm
NMP – Unlike doctrinaire boneheaded Rightists, I do watch what the enemy is saying and who is saying it, so I can understand why so many stupid people tend to fall in line behind them and do exactly what you do, spew hate based nonsense and propaganda talking points. You are an ego without a brain, a mouth without a message and a fool without a rationale.

Spoken like a true Fellow Traveler. Joe McCarthy was right all along…………………..

Robert Littel

March 29th, 2010
1:06 pm

NMP – Have you ever, in your entire life, had an original thought? I see NOTHING from you but mindless insults and Limbaugh/Beck talking points. You can’t be that shallow and survive.

No More Progressives!

March 30th, 2010
7:37 am

Hoc est vivere bis vita posse priore frvi.

Chew on that original thought awhile, perfezor.

You anti-American pinko.

Robert Littel

March 30th, 2010
8:34 am

NMP – GFYS you obsequious brainless Nazi T..D.

Robert Littel

March 30th, 2010
10:05 am

NMP – I don’t expect you to understand what I’m about to say, nor do I think that even if you have the ability for such comprehension, that it will make any impression on your tiny mind or mindless doctrinaire outlook on reality, but here goes.

The unifying lie that is the justification for the so called Tea-Party movement, is totally false to begin with. When looking at our political and social institutions, is not a question of “small government vs. big government”, it is a question of whether corporations control it, or whether it is there to work for the good of the much often quoted and abused “WE THE PEOPLE” of mythical founding fathers fame. Corporations don’t care whether they control government, or whether it is destroyed, they win either way. What corporations don’t want is a government that serves the needs of the rest of society, because that threatens the system they have constructed that has funneled 1/2 of ALL the wealth in this country into the pockets of about 4000 individuals. The smaller the government, the more control that this elite can marshal in-order to keep the disproportionate distribution of benefits (wealth, that equals power) under their control. You Tea Party dupes are just mere pawns in the theatre of the absurd they have created to keep us distracted while they suck the life out of the planet, in preparation for the collapse they know is coming because they have chosen selfish accumulation over facing the ever mounting problems now starting to make the planet incapable of sustaining us. Like the run of the mill Tea Party idiot, the simple, but wrong, solution is always the one we seem to embrace, only the simplicity they are handing the under-classes is meant, designed and calculated to fail in the end, while theirs succeeds. If you want to ride that pony, then be forewarned, its headed for a cliff and they will make no effort to stop your ride.