The coarseness of our public debate has been augmented over the last couple of decades via social media and the Internet. It is an affliction that infects the Right as well as the Left. Which is an admission I never would have made prior to corresponding with those on the Right through Face Book in the last year or so. I mainly acquired a Face Book account, and friended like-minded people simply to drive traffic to this blog. But what I found was an odd assortment of the reasonable, the irrational, and the downright kooky.
I can deal with the conspiracy theorists and delusional paranoids, after all they have some mental or emotional issues which leads them to such behavior. What I find hard to stomach are those who prosecute President Obama for being divisive using the most disgusting and discordant terms possible. They are the very embodiment of a line from a Bob Dylan song that states, "...fearing not I've become my worst enemy in the instant that I preach..." That pretty much sums up some on the Right who engage in the same behavior and rhetoric of which they accuse Barack Obama.
I by no means am defending the president for his reckless abandonment of constitutional principles, or for his engenderment of warfare between disparate segments of the American population. But if I am to hold him, and others on the Left, to a higher standard, then it must also be applied to his political opponents. And many who I have met on Face Book have allowed themselves to be dragged down into the gutter of human debate by using the language of ideological barbarians.
These political flame throwers do not only deny respect to anyone who disagrees with them, even those who may be mostly on their side of the political spectrum, but they fail to respect themselves by marginalizing their beliefs with a scatological thought process. True respect of one's own position comes from the belief that it is worth gaining converts to, not repelling potential converts with insult and invective. Some may say they are not trying to convince anyone, but they are keeping the choir "informed" and "motivated."
There is no gain in preaching a poisonous sermon meant only to spread hatred of political opponents like the president, instead of developing a network of articulation against his policies. If defeat of President Obama is the goal of these "patriots," then respect for the office, even when there is none for the man in the office, is essential. For what does it benefit the constitution to use its charter of free speech to destroy its spirit of civility? For there is no love of the constitution nurtured by the churlish acrimony born of malice of heart instead of thoughtful reflection of the intellect.
I hope that my brethren on the Right will take to heart what I have said. And if they truly wish to save the republic, they will do it with sagacious intellects, and not the dull tongue of brutish emotionalism. The greatness of the United States of America is in the tradition of thoughtfulness, not in outbursts of emotions that are the enemy of Liberty and the principles of self-government.