Saturday Sounds Sedition

It’s good to see the GOP finally pushing back on the extremist rhetoric coming from the Democrats and their allies in the entertainment industry.  But it should be noted this ad doesn’t even mention the shooting at Republican legislators at a baseball practice that left Congressman Steve Scalise critically injured, or the attack on Senator Rand Paul by a neighbor who broke several of his ribs.

The Left has not just crossed a line — they have run well past it.  Free speech famously doesn’t include the right to falsely yell “fire” in a crowded theater, because people could get hurt. How much more harm can this kind of activity cause? Unless our society quickly decides to once again enforce consequences for this kind of behavior, mass violence is likely inevitable in the near future.  The idea of it is being normalized by the day.

Let’s hope the GOP has found a spine and will continue to highlight this trend.

On the edge

Today’s shooting at Republican Congressmen practicing for a baseball game is but the latest (and possibly most worrisome) example of ever-more violent rhetoric leading to more violent action.  Our entire nation needs to take a deep breath and look hard at the road we’ve been traveling to this point.

Nearly a quarter century ago, shortly after Supreme Court Clarence Thomas was confirmed by the Senate, PBS pundit Julianne Malveaux infamously said on air ““You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.”  A number of people on both sides of the aisle considered this sort of statement to be well beyond the pale.

How far we’ve fallen.

Politics has long borrowed military language: campaign, objective, tactic and so forth.  It used to be understood these were metaphors.  Then Sarah Palin put out a campaign graphic putting “crosshair” targets on key districts in the election.  The Left went melodramatically berserk over her “eliminationist” message, trying to pin the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Palin’s activity.  (For the record, Gifford’s shooter turned out not to be a ‘right-winger,’ but rather, a mentally unstable person who had a bizarre fixation on her.)

Now the shoe is tied tightly on the other foot, and hopefully it pinches hard.  The militant vocabulary used today is not a metaphor: there are two broad worldviews in competition in the U.S., and both increasingly see the other as a literal enemy (and for many, one that must actually be destroyed, not just voted out of office).  I’m sure many Democrats were greatly disappointed when Wednesday’s shooter turned out to be a Bernie Bro and Rachel Maddow fan, instead of a militia member or such rot.  (That didn’t stop their automatic pleading for more gun control.)  Facebook apparently was quick on the trigger to take down the shooter’s page, but not before some of the wiser denizens of the web captured it all for posterity.

Trump is easily one of the most questionable occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and continuous scrutiny is prudent.  That’s not what the other party offers.  They’re trying to nullify the last election by waging an overheated rhetorical war on two fronts: obstructionism in Congress and the courts, and riling up their base to vandalism and worse with some of the most vile language imaginable.  (Note to the Democrats: increasing the frequency of F-bombs in your public addresses might endear you to some of the college crowd, but for the rest of us it just shows you to be a crass juvenile who feeds on emotion, not careful thought.)

College campuses seem out of control, to the degree that self-appointed vigilante groups of students have to be asked by administrators to stop roaming campus with baseball bats and other instruments.  Attempts by conservatives to speak on a campus are now met frequently with vandalistic temper tantrums.  And protestors on both sides of issues like immigration are now showing up suited for battle, not just to carry signs.

Why write all this?  Because I’m concerned our nation crossed a critical line today, and the path we’re on is leading to disaster.  There are plenty of nuts in both camps, and a continuous backdrop of violent rhetoric (particularly on the internet) only encourages them.  As each side looks warily at the other, the mutual distrust leads many ordinary people to wonder if they need to be making preparations for war.  Thus does the divide get wider and more hostile.

We all need to realize that when ballots no longer settle issues, bullets do.  Is that really how we want to go forward?  Do the posturing online ‘toughs’ really want to see their friends and family caught up in the bloodshed of civil war or anarchy?  I spent 24 years in uniform believing I was helping defend America.  I’ve seen firsthand what a country looks like in a civil war (spoiler: it isn’t pretty).  Now it seems we’re determined to destroy ourselves.  If Wednesday’s any indicator, I have a feeling those who are playing with fire to score political points are going to be among the first to get burned.  But probably not the last.

God help us all.

Trump vs. the “slow roll”

These paragraphs are a very true statement:

Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.

You think I exaggerate. But consider this: When a former Defense official who teaches at Georgetown Law School takes to Foreign Policy to propose “3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020,” and when one of those ways is “a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders,” we are in unknown and extremely unsettling territory.

Up until now, the more powerful of those “two governments” has been the career Civil Service bureaucrats, who more than once have pretended to go along with a reformer’s agenda, all the while throwing logjams in the way.  Trump’s firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates seems a positive indication he is unwilling to put up with that longtime practice.  The next question is what he will do with the hundreds of State Department employees who are publicly disagreeing with his policy.  They’ve cowered behind a whistleblower system that is meant to protect actual reporting of malpractice, so the House has warned Trump not to retaliate.  Fine, but I’d say the signatories now bear close watching.  If they are not complying with current policy, that’s grounds for firing with cause.

We are long overdue for civil service reform, and I say that from personal experience.  Whether it’s a twenty-year civilian careerist telling a military commander “that’s just not how we do things around here” or senior executives who don’t actually have the credentials they claimed in order to get hired, or longtime employees who are unable to contribute productively and yet are impossible to fire (I’ve seen all these cases, and more), the system is rife with dead wood and personal fiefdoms.  This is part of the “Deep State” that never really changes, no matter who’s in the White House or Congress.

If Trump can shake that up so that the ENTIRE government is responsive to the people, not just the figureheads, he will have accomplished more than most presidents in the past century.  Here’s hoping.

And as for the leftists who’ve lost their mind and are even entertaining the thought of a military coup to remove Trump before the end of his term, such statements are ***already illegal*** and should land you in jail.  Maybe there they would have time to come to their senses.  That’s one genie we don’t want out of the bottle in this country, so be careful what you wish for.  Political violence has already become far too acceptable to the Left, based on all the rioting before and since the election.  What’s sauce for the goose usually becomes sauce for the gander, and as they say: payback’s a *****.  These people don’t realize the forces they’re trying to conjure up and will later greatly regret.