Someone’s going to get hurt!
Demonizing the enemy is nothing new: The Ku Klux Klan demonized blacks to justify violence and segregation; Germans demonized Jews; Americans demonized Germans and Japanese during World War II; and, many in the Muslim world demonize Israel.
After all, if you demonize a group, it makes it much easier and more acceptable to attack them through governmental action, propaganda and other means.
Today, the target of demonization is the tea party and its conservative supporters. Just witness the current debate over the government shut down and Obamacare. It has degenerated into a war against the tea party characterized by some of the most mean-spirited, incendiary rhetoric we have seen in years.
The tea party has been called and compared to everything in the book: jihadists, blatant extortionists, legislative arsonists, people with bombs strapped to their chests, Nazi sympathizers and terrorists, blackmailers, hostage-takers and, of course, racists.
These are just a sample of the hateful and tasteless comments Democrats and some members of the media have used against Republicans and the tea party in the current debate.
Such hateful language is not coming from some fringe group, it is coming from the highest levels of the Democratic Party in the House, Senate, White House and elements of the president’s media cheering squad.
In fact, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews took hateful speech up a few notches when he went on the “Colbert Report” and, referring to his Fox News Channel competitor Bill O’Reilly, asked: “When are we going to have the book we've really been waiting for, 'Killing O'Reilly'?"
If harsh language were not enough, the Obama administration tries to inflict as much pain as possible on the innocent public including taking down the “Amber Alert” website and closing the World War II Memorial to 90 year old veterans.
And whom do they blame?
The tea party and stubborn Republicans of course.
Democrats’ constant barrage of spiteful actions and hateful rhetoric could have ominous and unintended consequences. They and their allies have short memories on the need for civility in political discourse.
In 2011, astronaut Mark Kelly, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband, blamed inflammatory rhetoric for the assassination attempt on his wife.
Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer said at the time that Kelly was “very angry about the level of angry rhetoric that he believes incites people."
This is the same Steny Hoyer who recently said that Republicans shut down the government because of their “unreasonable, “irrational tea party wing.”
Kelly was not the only one concerned about the lack of civility. In his remarks honoring those who were killed and wounded in the attack on Congresswoman Giffords, President Obama said: "It's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."
And let’s not forget the comments of Bill Clinton following the Oklahoma City bombing:
"We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible. . . and upset with each other . . . They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”
So, have Democrats and liberals learned anything from these comments?
Given the vicious attacks noted above, obviously not. They have a “do as we say, not as we do” philosophy on name-calling.
Where are the calls for civility from Democrats and responsible members of the media — or the president?
Not for one minute would they be silent if the name-calling was coming from the tea party or conservatives. Oh yes, and they would probably, as did Harry Reid in August, imply that it was racially inspired.
It’s only a matter of time before some mentally disturbed person, either from the left or the right, takes the hate-filled rhetoric against the tea party and conservatives to heart and commits some dastardly act of violence against one side or the other.
And then there will be more blame and speeches about the need for “civility” in political discourse.
Hopefully things will not reach that point and responsible Democrats and media pundits will call for an end to the incendiary rhetoric.
Don’t count on it.
Continued demonization and name calling against the tea party and conservatives makes it a bit easier for this administration to send the IRS, FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other federal overseers after its Big Brother critics.
Remember the IRS’ Lois Lerner?
Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as the Reagan presidential campaigns and has appeared on many national and local media outlets. Read more reports from Clarence V. McKee — Click Here Now.
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