Reclaiming Civil Discourse
This week, THE JOURNAL examined the provocative and often hostile language used by some ‘shock jock’ talk radio hosts to criticize liberals and liberalism.
Unitarian pastor Chris Buice, whose congregation was attacked by a gunman with an expressed aversion to liberalism and Christianity, said:
“A man came in here [and] dehumanized us. Members of our church were not human to him. Where did he get that? Where did he get that sense that we’re not human? ... When you hear in talk radio that liberals are evil, that they are traitors, that they are godless, that they are on the side of the terrorists – that’s hate language.”
With Americans’ interest in – and feelings about – the Presidential election reaching a fever pitch, commentators have been parsing the nation’s political discourse to analyze how Americans view one another.
ATLANTIC MONTHLY editor Clive Crook wrote in a recent column that many liberals themselves have a basic disrespect for those with whom they disagree:
“[Democrats’] concern is real and admirable. The trouble is, they lack respect for the objects of their solicitude. Their sympathy comes mixed with disdain, and even contempt. Democrats regard their policies as self-evidently in the interests of the US working and middle classes. Yet those wide segments of US society keep helping to elect Republican presidents. How is one to account for this? Are those people idiots? Frankly, yes – or so many liberals are driven to conclude. Either that or bigots, clinging to guns, God, and white supremacy; or else pathetic dupes, ever at the disposal of Republican strategists... Voters in small towns and suburbs, forever mocked and condescended to by metropolitan liberals, are attuned to this disdain. Every four years, many take their revenge.”
What do you think?