Violent Political Imagery and Rhetoric Leads To Real Violence - Should We Be Shocked?

Violent Political Rhetoric Leads To Real Violence

I had been considering writing a Hub on the subject of violent political imagery and rhetoric for a few months now out of fear over what might grow out of it. Now on January 8, 2011 Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Federal Court Judge John Roll, a nine year old girl, and several others were shot in Tucson, Arizona by a deranged 22 year old man. One could see this coming especially in a state like Arizona where the political passions are running extraordinarily high. Tea Partiers and those on the right of the political spectrum often talk about taking their country back and using Second Amendment solutions. Political rhetoric such as this creates an atmosphere of fear and hate that can only inflame passions on all sides.

This type of speech is of course constitutional and legal. It is also most certainly irresponsible and dangerous. Now let me make clear that that I am not saying that public officials and figures that use this type of rhetoric are directly responsible for these shootings or any other incidents. I would also like to state that most Republican and conservative politicians are careful and moderate in their political speech. But there are those on the right wing as well as Tea Party leaders who relish pushing the political envelope with their rhetoric to advance their political views and prospects.

Texas Governor Rick Perry played the Texas secession card in his latest Gubernatorial campaign. Others have brought back the idea of state nullification of federal laws especially in response to the new Healthcare Reform law. These statements and ideas hearken back to the Civil War era when state nullification notions led to the secession of the southern states and subsequently the start of the Civil War. They also lead to incredibly heated situations in our current political environment. The Congressional town hall meetings held in 2009 in regards to the Healthcare Reform bill are examples of these. Citizens opposing the bill peppered their Representatives with constant barrages of negative statements and vindictive comments which rendered most of these meetings useless. Several shoving matches also developed. It was widely reported that healthcare reform opposition leaders had drawn up a tactics manual that directed these people on the best ways to disrupt the meetings.

The Tea Party demonstrations are another example of incendiary speech and actions that are becoming increasingly dangerous. Many of the signs and banners at these events depicted President Obama in very hideous ways. Examples of these are signs showing the President with a Hitler mustache and the President compared to Osama bin-Laden. Several Tea Party attendees were shown with clearly visible firearms while Tea party speakers advocated for Second Amendment remedies to take their country back.

It is within this atmosphere of vitriol that events such as the shootings at the Rep. Gabrielle Giffords "Congress on the Corner" event occur. Rep. Giffords is a quite moderate Democrat who is well liked on both sides of the aisle in Congress and with her peers in Arizona. She advocates for sensible solutions to the issues of the day including illegal immigration. Here she calls for greatly increased border protection in conjunction with small and steady steps towards a path to legalization for illegal immigrants. She is also a champion of gun ownership rights which in many cases is at odds with the Democratic leadership. She also voted against Rep. Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader this past week.

Yet one of the champion's of the Right, Sarah Palin, decided to place Rep. Giffords on her political hit list. Her district and name was highlighted by a gun's crosshairs. This example of incendiary political theater is obviously and prophetically dangerous. Mrs. Palin and other conservative leaders love to use terms of battle and war to illustrate their political fights. They argue that these are only metaphorical terms and not an actual call to arms. But not all followers and not all citizens are cognizant of these nuances. So now a 22 year old man, Jared Lee Loughner, shoots 20 people including Rep. Giffords and kills 6 at her community event. His MySpace page included among his complaints, a hatred for government and the illiterate citizens of his district. This sounds to me like a veiled reference to illegal immigrants. These are favorite complaints straight out of the Far Right playbook. This is clearly in my estimation an example of how this violent political rhetoric of hate can influence extremely disturbed personalities and send them over the edge into violence.

The Pima County Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik stated in a news conference shortly after the shootings, that the extreme and provocative political talk on radio and television have created an atmosphere of anger, hatred, and bigotry in this country worse than he has ever seen. He further stated that Arizona has become a mecca for prejudice and bigotry. Sheriff Dupnik is on the front lines of these problems which makes him an authority to speak out about them.

Rep. Giffords barely defeated her Republican challenger, Jesse Kelly, in November. One of his campaign promotions was an invitation to his supporters to join him at a rally entitled "Get On Target For Victory In November". One theme of the rally was to shoot an M-16 automatic rifle to defeat Rep. Giffords.

Now I know that it is Jared Lee Loughner who is primarily responsible for this massacre. There are many that feel that it is wrong to assign any blame to anyone else except the suspect. I strongly disagree. The poisonous political atmosphere that I have outlined in this Hub especially in Arizona must have influenced this young madman and gave him the impetus to act on his lunacy. Both the political right and left are guilty of over the top political rhetoric. This needs to stop on both sides for the sake of our democracy.

Violent political imagery and rhetoric, especially from the Far Right who are the prime proponents of this tactic, must also cease. It is the fuel that fans the flames of the unstable personalities of some of our citizens. This has now become a public safety issue. No more talk of taking our country back with Second Amendment remedies. No one's country was ever taken away. Fair elections were held both in 2008 and 2010. The Democrats won in 2008 and the Republicans won in 2010. Our democracy worked both years as it always does. The Constitution is being followed. If laws are passed that may be unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will strike them down. The checks and balances written into our Constitution to prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much control is working as it should.

Therefore it is time for public figures both in government and the media to stop employing these violent rhetorical tactics. My hope is that we all might start using a novel idea that I and other common sense people have been proposing for a long time. Debating issues honestly without hyperbolic language. Also listening to the other side in a serious attempt to reach common ground. Media commentators should stop going to extremes in their arguments and their tone just to garner higher ratings. Yes, this includes all media and not just FOX and conservative radio.

Politicians should do the same and stop playing to the extreme wing of their party. Yes, I know they are the ones that vote in the primaries, donate money, and volunteer for candidates. But political courage is now in order. Our democracy is being subverted by these tactics and sensible solutions to difficult issues is being delayed or crushed. Public safety both for public figures and private citizens is also in danger. Let's stop all this nonsense and come together for the sake of our country.

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Comments 54 comments

gregas profile image

gregas 6 years ago from Corona, California.

Hi H, I like your hub and agree that politics are growing on the violent side, even if it is only for show. They need to get back to politics and discusions without anyone making threats or so-called hit lists. You make a lot of good points. Good job. Greg

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Gregas. I normally take a lot of time to write my Hubs. But this incident outraged me. The violent political rhetoric is destroying our country. You are right. Let's all get together and listen and discuss. Our country will be better off and maybe the violence will stop.

lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 6 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

Bravo HSchneider!

But I would go further to say they know EXACTLY what they are doing, and the consequences of it. They are home-grown terrorists...the KKK, Operation Resuce, and the Coroporate-Funded Tea-Baggers.

Jake Duke profile image

Jake Duke 6 years ago from United States of America

Total crap that you mention the Tea Party creating fear and hate. I support the Tea Party and I do not promote fear and hate and violence and murder. You are irresponsible in your writing and you know zero facts except what has been reported thus far.

Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 6 years ago from California, USA

Great job! I felt the same outrage on the morning of January 8th. I think many of us did. This massacre is the work of just one person, but I think we have all seen this coming. If the violent rhetoric doesn't stop, we will see more of the same. My fear is that those who are the most responsible will fail to change or even recognize what they are doing.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Lovemychris. I do think some are aware of what they are doing but not all. Some are simply irresponsible. Irregardless, this type of political rhetoric must stop for both public safety reasons and so we can arrive at more effective public policy solutions.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Jake, I'm sorry that you are interpreting my Hub as an indictment of you and all of the Tea Party. I most certainly do not mean that. I do blame those that preach second amendment remedies, brandish guns, or use violent rhetoric to get their points across. The Tea Party's main theme is to shrink government and balance the budget. I agree with much of this because our debt is going to hurt our children horribly. But I do not support those Tea Party leaders or any other leaders that use violent imagery to get their points across. This type of atmosphere sets loonies such as the Arizona shooter off. Rep. Giffords' opponent in June held a rally that I mentioned which was to shoot off M-16's to defeat her. If that is not over the top and violent rhetoric and political theater, I don't know what is.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I felt the same way that morning. I went off for my daily walk enraged and intent on writing about this. I normally take 3 or 4 weeks to write on a subject but I put this together in 30 hours. Also, I tried to temper my anger which I believe I did. This violent political rhetoric must stop. By the way, check out my Healthcare Hub. Jon wrote another comment directly answering your last comment. I think he's ready to do battle with you now lol. Thanks for commenting as always.

adagio4639 6 years ago

Excellent Hub H. Spot on accurate. Nothing occurs in a vacuum. The shooter in this incident didn't come up with this idea out of nowhere. He was clearly under the influence of something. Something motivated him to do this. The target of his attack was Ms.Giffords, a politician with whom he violently disagreed. Those that claim that the Tea Party doesn't create an atmosphere of hate and violence fail to recognize that words have consequences, and need only examine the words of those candidates such as the TeaBagger in Florida that claimed "if ballots won't work, then bullets will". Or those like TeaBagger Sharon Angle, that claim that we need to take 2nd amendment remedies to get what "we" want. The metaphorical use of targeting your opponents ( Sarah Palin) by putting them in your crosshairs takes on a real meaning to those that can't seem to separate the metaphore from reality. The Sheriff that spoke out about this is a good man who refuses to dance around the issue of violent rhetoric and the dangerous effect that it has. Freedom of speech like all of our freedoms demands that the freedom be used responsibly. We don't yell fire in a crowded theater just to demonstrate that we have that freedom,nor do we issue death threats to the president without repurcussions. And we don't advocate the overthrow of the government through violence and wear firearms to a political rally just to demonstrate our free speech or right to bear arms. Perhaps the founders should have included the right to intimidate others in the Bill of Rights, but they didn't. For a group of people that claims to adhere to common sense, these are the most irrational people in our society.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I couldn't have said it better Adagio. I am also not trying to stop these people from exercising their free speech. I champion that right. Please just be responsible when doing it. The day after Sarah Palin put Rep. Giffords on the crosshairs on her map, she held a McCain rally in Arizona. During her speech she used the term, 'Do not retreat, re-load". Some people just don't get it. Thanks for commenting.

Abecedarian profile image

Abecedarian 6 years ago from These United States, Texas

Excellent hub. As long as you have people like Mr. Duke here, sadly, things won't change because they never see anything wrong in what they say or do. Maybe you should have mentioned the GOP also, however, the Independents, Green Party, Libertarians and Democrats didn't run on the fear mongering route.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Jake Duke is a good man. I think he interpreted my Hub to be exclusively against all of the Tea Party. Actually I meant anyone who employs violent rhetoric and imagery. Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck are other examples who are not directly attached to them. You are right I should have explained that better. Thanks for your comments and let's hope this type of rhetoric stops or at least eases off.

Credence2 profile image

Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

A very timely and well written piece, H. Schneider. So many on the right, ducking for cover, will try to tell you that the shooter was a-political and just a nut. I remember the Freeman of Montana and mcVeigh back in the 90's and there are stark similarities. This isn't a universal problem but one coming from the right, intimidation through violence when they are not satisfied with the decision of the electorate. When it looks like it, smells like it, you call it what it is, fascism!

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Credence2. I was so upset on Saturday that I felt compelled to write this Hub. I am encouraged that this subject is getting a lot of airplay and debate. Many on the Far Right are responsible for this violent rhetoric and the more moderate conservatives have given them a pass on it. I suspect it's because they wanted to keep them energized and going to the polls. Maybe things will change now. I like to remain optimistic.

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LBMod 6 years ago from Long Beach, NY

Political rhetoric while despicable and outrageous is not to blame for this and neither is the second amendment. From all accounts so far this lunatic did not listen to political talk shows, is not a follower of Sarah Palin, and his actions were not politically motivated. I wrote a hub on this earlier today and I think it provides a good counter point to this author. Although let me say I think the author did a good job of not directly blaming the people spewing what agree is garbage for the shooting.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for commenting. I agree that in this instance Jared Lee Loughner was a lunatic that probably would have committed this massacre anyhow. I still assert that the political atmosphere created and reinforced by violent political rhetoric in the U.S. and especially Arizona was an ideal test tube for this twisted mind to percolate. This will not be the last incident if these disturbing political tactics do not halt.

DTR0005 profile image

DTR0005 6 years ago from Midwest

This is a well-written piece by the way, very well-written. And it expresses the concerns of "centered Americans" - both right-leaning and left-leaning. I think that with the insane and inflammatory political rhetoric of the last two years, moderates on both sides have been either marginalized or "forced" to take more extremist views in order to fall in-line with their parties. So we experience this polarization - otherwise rational people behave in irrational ways. It's been a feeding frenzy and frankly one that has left me exhausted.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you DTR. That's a great point that many of the moderates in both parties have been forced to move to the extremes of their respective parties. We saw this with the GOP this past election. So many long time firm conservatives such as Rep. Mike Castle and Sen. Robert Bennett lost their primaries to extremist candidates. Sen. Lieberman lost his Democratic primary in 2006. We need all party members to regularly vote in their primaries instead of only the motivated extremists. I too am getting sick of the partisanship and nasty rhetoric. I hope it stops soon for this country's sake.

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Thank you HS! I too have been mentally formulating a hub on this topic. You have a more social political focus, while I am very concerned about what all this rhetoric is doing to the rest of us in terms of increased stress. It was inevitable that someone would act out in response to the rhetoric. I did read today that John McCain took a stand on the issue, and admitted his own part in it. That was refreshing. Thanks for the thoughtful and though provoking hub HS.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

You are welcome Kim and thank you for commenting. I look forward to reading your upcoming Hub. I saw the John McCain statement and I was very impressed by it. Sarah Palin should take lessons from it. The stress this rhetoric causes especially for border line personalities such as Loughner, I believe certainly contributes to pushing them towards the edge.

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I have long wondered, as a non-US citizen, at the kind of rhetoric employed by someUS politicians and political commentators. It seems many of them compete with each other to see who can say the most outrageous things to attract attention. Add guns and other weapons into the mix and it's a pretty potent brew which is going to bubble over sometime.

Should we be surprised at these things? Well I think we should but also we should try to understand where they are coming from.

Yeats said it in another time of tribulation: "Things fall apart / The centre cannot hold." It's not a question so much of blaming individuals but seeing the general climate which is promoted by this kind of rhetoric. People in the public eye have a duty to watch their words, because words can create reality, and often do.

There is a quote by a sociologist whose name I have just forgotten for the moment along the lines of "what people define as real is real in its consequences."

Thanks for this well-written Hub.

Love and peace


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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

The United States being born from a Revolution included the "Right to Bear Arms" in our Bill of Rights" so our citizens cherish their use. I believe this legacy of armed rebellion remained with us and has caused our political debate to often be violent in tone. It seems to have gotten much worse the past 15 to 20 years and is now peaking. I believe and hope the Tucson incident will tone this down and put the brakes on this alarming trend. As you always end your Hubs, love and peace are what we need as well as spirited but civil political discourse. Thanks as always for your wise comments.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

The TeaParty they so dearly love, is backed and financed by the Koch family of billionaires who have absolutely no interest in the TeaParty people, but instead, use it for their own political gain and their own greed. Being a tool is not a good idea, as those Party goers may one day find out. Great hub.

American Romance profile image

American Romance 6 years ago from America

As BobbiRant knows Zoros pays and controls the left openly! Her claim of the Kock family has no proof, or connection to reality!

I guess hate doesn't come from your side?

Wanda Sikes saying she hopes Rush dies of kidney failure right in front of a laughing Obama isnt hate speech?

Wasn't Oswald a left wing fanatic who killed Kennedy?

Seems Jane Fonda is a hero to the left after she incited the deaths of our own military children?

Weren't the Democrats responsible for the Davidian Branch torching that killed woman and children without invoke?

This blatant rhetoric is horrible and you should all be ashamed!

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Bobbi, The Tea Party is financed by the Koch brothers and other rich corporate types that want their taxes to remain low so they may continue to rake in their huge profits without giving anything back to society. The Tea Party are their ready made vehicle to do so.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

American Romance, first off I agree that George Soros contributes a lot of money to the left but that has nothing to do with my Hub. Jane Fonda and Oswald are old news and have nothing to do with current times. Wanda Sykes is a comedienne playing for laughs. I am talking about both current politicians and current media commentators. I apply this to both left and right but unfortunately the right is overwhelmingly guilty of the violent rhetoric now. I believe in rigorous debate. Why must such violent imagery as second amendment solutions, crosshairs, don't retreat but reload, etc. be employed? Why do you and others have to always go over the top and resort to name calling? I read your comments in these Hubs and it is indeed rare to have an instance where you fail to call the Hubber some sort of name. It demeans your argument. It makes you sound like some sort of nut who is here for our amusement. I understand that you have a far right, hands off government, low to no tax political view. That is fine. Why not stick with that? I am willing to debate you and others on these views all day long. William Buckley and Barry Goldwater got the Conservative movement going by articulately and firmly conveying their ideas and debating them honestly with anyone. Finally it fully took hold in the President Reagan era. Stick with that tactic and drop the violent and insulting rhetoric. You will gather many more converts that way. This also goes for Sarah Palin and her ilk who spew this nonsense but have nothing else behind them but these vivid sound bites. I believe you have more to offer behind your views than Palin, Beck, etc. Stick to arguing these views and don't resort to being one of the clowns.

JodiVee profile image

JodiVee 6 years ago

Excellent hub. I find your rhetoric against violent political rhetoric very compelling.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you JodiVee. I appreciate your comments. I hope I came across relishing vigorous debate by all sides. Eliminating or at least ratcheting down the violent rhetoric by all sides is my sincere wish.

James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

It turns out this fella's favorite book is the Communist Manifesto. This book is in every public school library in the country. The Bible is prohibited. The book is all about the exploitation of poor working people, kept sleeping by the Christian Faith, which is nothing more than a set of myths. If you ask me this whole book is hateful and spawns hate. Nobody is more violent that committed Marxists.

The Democrats, it has come to light since you wrote this, also used maps with bullseyes on the districts they thought they could take back in the last election. Perhaps this is unfortunate.

You are off base about the Tea Party. I went to one event held by the Tea Party and it was so non-violent only a few cops were there—falling asleep—to control thousands of people. There was no violent rhetoric and no arrests. There may have been signs of Obama with a Hitler mustache. Did you complain when the same caricature was on signs of George Bush?

The Arizona sheriff was way out of line. He is supposed to be in law enforcement and his statements are supposed to be based on evidence—not his personal poiticial feelings.

The Left is expert at twisting people's feelings. Any opposition to Arizona being overrun by millions of people violating our laws and borders and the left says "prejudice" and "bigotry" are on display. Excuse me? If ten million Czechoslovakians overran our border and I said we've got to stop this would I be a prejudiced bigot?

I'll tell you what poisons the atmosphere: the constant use of the word HATE by the left. This is their favorite word. Are you for traditional marriage? You HATE gay people. Are you for only legal immigration? You HATE illegal brown people. Are you against abortion? You HATE poor women. Do you oppose Marxism? You HATE President Obama. Are you opposed to socialized medicine? You must be RACIST. Are you opposed to any progressive ideology? You are a HATER, a RACIST, a prejudiced bigot. I'll tell you something: that has to stop.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I am for the ratcheting down of all violent political rhetoric by both sides of the political spectrum. The left is guilty of this also but I have never heard it so bad as now. The Far Right have lost their minds since President Obama took office. They constantly state that they want to take their country back. It was never taken away. The Democrats won the elections in 2006 and 2008 fair and square. The Republicans won in 2010. No revolutions needed. The country has been all of ours throughout this period. I believe this preponderance of hate that you feel is being thrown at the right from the left is greatly exaggerated on your part. Yes, the far left exaggerates and is prone to hyperbole. This is wrong but it is a small percentage. Jared Lee Loughner's reading material was both the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf. He killed because he was a deeply disturbed man. No doubt. But the toxic environment, especially in Arizona, I believe gave added impetus to cause him to take the leap to kill. Rep. Giffords opponent last election, Jesse Kelly, urged supporters to come to a June event and shoot an M-16 to defeat her. This type of atmosphere is what spawns a Loughner.

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jblogys 6 years ago

Excellent hub. Fair AND balanced-and quite well written! Yes, all sides need to tone it down. But will they?

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you jblogys. One can only hope that they will. The Republicans in Congress have done a great job keeping the debate more civil. Sarah Palin failed to do so with "Blood Libel". I think this will carry through the State of the Union message. After that, when heavy legislating and campaigning starts, who knows. I remain an eternal optimist though.

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JBunce 6 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thanks much for this very needed hub. I will be linking it to a similar hub of mine, "Nobody Has All The Answers". The more people read this, the better.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you JBunce. You are right that nobody has all the answers. But we need to begin to ask the right questions which I believe you and I are trying to do. Everyone should put more thought into their speech and actions and stop the knee jerk spewing of violent and hateful rhetoric.

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Fay Paxton 6 years ago

Brava! Kudos to you for this well-written hub. There is so, so much I want to say, I think I'm better served to be brief. For readers to always inject that "it happens on both sides" is a false equivalency and they know it. If they don't, why bother.

I have republicans friends who are very clear that they believe in the ideology, but they are equally clear that they disapprove of their tactics.

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HSchneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Fay. I have debated several conservatives vigorously but civily here on HubPages. I enjoy the debates and I consider them fruitful. But I have also read and received many hideous and disgusting remarks that only intend to demonize the other side. How they cannot understand how this vile atmosphere pollutes the political atmosphere and can push the insane to violence is beyond me.

Progressive86 profile image

Progressive86 5 years ago

You point out an interesting phenomenon that is occurring with the Tea Party. Essentially, the revolution starts eating its own eventually, right? It seems that the Tea Partiers are, in some states, turning on political leaders who they have supported in the past who are not meeting the rigorous libertarian test on a consistent basis.

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

This is true Progressive86. The Republicans may have won the Senate in 2010 if they had not defeated some real conservatives in the primaries. Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah, Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware, Sue Lowden in Nevada are just 3 that come immediately to mind. They have driven the party so far right that i believe the Democrats will win big in 2012. The only thing that may stop that from happening is if the economy stops its already slow growth or slides back. This could happen if oil prices rise too high because of Middle East tensions. Thanks for commenting.

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Mimi721wis 5 years ago

I agree both sides are over the top. It's scary and irresponsible. Beautiful hub.

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you Mimi. Hopefully both sides will continue to cool their rhetoric. The biggest test will be the 2012 elections.

Mark Monroe profile image

Mark Monroe 5 years ago from Dover De

Excellent hub

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you very much Mark.

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M. T. Dremer 5 years ago from United States

I'm a big advocate of 'don't blame the product'. In other words, if someone watches a violent movie and then performs a violent act in real life; it's not the movie's fault. It is the fault of the disturbed individual who committed the crime. To an extent, I believe this is also true about modern day politics. What scares me, however, is how the violent rhetoric of today seems to seek out and grab hold of these disturbed individuals, almost like it is recruiting them. A movie will depict whatever is necessary in the interest of a story with no dynamic elements that change depending on who is watching it. Political pundits seek out the most minuscule things to support their cause then use it to appeal to whatever is making people angry that day. They shout it out as if it is a religious sign of the apocalypse. It's one thing to see fictional violence and be influenced by it, but another thing entirely when a real person is looking at you and telling you that violence is necessary.

James Watkins pointed out above that similar signs of hate were directed towards President Bush, which is true, however the level of anger towards him took time to reach the boiling point we saw at the end of his presidency. It seemed like President Obama was in office less than a year before the same escalated levels of anger were forced upon him. How could U.S. citizens possibly hate one president in a year as much as they hated another in eight years? I don't care how far right winged you are; Obama is not THAT bad. All of it boils down to the violent rhetoric. I don't know what has gotten corporations into such a frenzy to destroy the democratic party, but it worries me. For every step we take towards civil debates, we take two steps back towards insanity. I don't think we'll have another civil war, but sometimes, when I hear the most violent rhetoric flying through the airways, I fear we're that much closer to killing each other over absolutely nothing.

I give you a lot of credit for undertaking a hub like this.

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I totally agree that Jared Loughner is absolutely and completely to blame for the Arizona shootings. If his defense team ever tries a politicians made me do it defense, I'll be the first one to express my outrage over it. But there is no doubt this atmosphere sets the tone and temperature of a society that individuals like Loughner live in. Arizona seems especially susceptible with their lax gun laws, immigration problems, and the Jesse Kelly campaign stunt I wrote about in this Hub. I am somewhat encouraged about the decreased use of this rhetoric since the shootings. I fear that this is only temporary and will quickly ramp up as we get closer to the 2012 elections. You are also right that the venom directed at President Obama is simply unprecedented. I fear that racism is at the bottom of this. Corporations and others feed off this fear and exploit it. Then they exclaim that it's about his policies not his skin color. 2012 is going to be a bumpy ride. I hope for better but I fear the worst. Thanks for your insightful comments.

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Business Success 5 years ago

I came here to get to know the person who sounded so well rounded and insightful that had commented on a hub I recently wrote. This is not a back handed compliment or mutual admiration society, I like to know the folks who take the time to read my hubs. This isn't the only place I write...

While reading this well written, well thought out Hub (which didn't surprise me after briefly meeting HSchneider on my hub), I have to ask, Why are apologetic statements like the following consistently offered when talking about those who have a Right leaning (being polite here) philosophical or political outlook:

"I would also like to state that most Republican and conservative politicians are careful and moderate in their political speech" this taken from the first paragraph above....

Sir, this is not true, and after reading the views of the right and the left about the argument over their (our) President's religion, birthright, world view, actions he as taken in the office he holds, actions as a person, an Individual, I have just had enough of this kind of ill thought out and false statement about the right and how docile and polite and forgiving their vocabulary is and insidiously comparing it to the "vitriolic words of the insane Left."

It's just not true, you are not watching enough of a variety of TV channels.

Michelle Bachman, "I want people in Minnesota ARMED and DANGEROUS on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back." This is one of her milder ones.

Just one example of many. I could have quoted John Bainer, Newt Gingrich, Trent Lot, Joe Wilson, Richard Nixon, George dubya etc., etc., etc.. As well as a host of Democrats, but you made the reference as the others I've been reading have to Republicans and Conservatives being such nice folks... horse pucky.

Just Google the subject, and it doesn't matter whether you use Republican or Democrat in your hunt. All I'm asking is for us to pull our head out of the sand, quit making apologies for the ignorant and narrow minded, and tell it like it is, with out our own little narcissistic self important, divisive opinions based in our own limited little worldview.

I'm sorry for tearing into your post like this, it is a well thought out essay, and you are added to my reading list, although hesitantly, only because I follow the words of Sun Tzu regarding knowing the opposition. And because too many of the same opinion holders in one room is not only boring, but makes the learning process more drawn out than it needs to be. :-)

Keep thinking sir, and sharing for in a democracy this is how we change our political system for the better, not by shooting those with whom we disagree, as you so well point out.

Thank you,

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for both your compliments and your criticisms Business Success. The point I was trying to make was that most conservative Republican politicians do not invoke the violent political imagery that I was writing about in this Hub. They are often critical of the President but do not use this type of violent speech. I will take them to task for not criticizing and admonishing their Republican brethren who do use this violent rhetoric. My point is that the ones who use this speech are the ones always hitting the news. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann are two prominent examples but there are many of them out there. I do not believe it is a majority. They all should speak out against this violent political rhetoric. They never do though and that is political cowardice. This cowardice is not in short supply for the Republicans. None of them really criticize that buffoon Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin. I do believe I know the opposition and believe me I do not trust most of the GOP. Read my latest Hub. I think you will agree that I go off on them and the Koch brothers and pull absolutely no punches. I do try to listen to the reasonable and thoughtful politicians from the other side. That is the only way we can come to sensible solutions. We need to try to listen so we can solve some of our pressing problems. Thank you again and I look forward to reading your writings also.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Great hub. The tea Party is of course about hate. The individuals have to deny it. You don't have to say it - I will. But the GOP is the money party. The Tea Partiers have the whole world and it's not enough. Most of them couldn't really do manual labor. But they'll swear the rest of us are lazy if we disagree with them. Don't mind me, just a Vietnam Vet who has been lied to and cheated by these lawyers and business scum too often.

Great hub. I have to go now- this hate machine I've been talking about makes me a little ill. Whenever I see the money take jobs like textiles out of the US to sweat-shops around the globe and bring shirts back to us for $150 apiece - well I get ill thinking about these businessmen. I think we can make that nasty Hifrigger shirt right here in the USA for $149! What a joke these people are! Thank you for a wonderful hub.

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Many in the Tea Party invoke hateful speech but certainly not a majority. I believe they have been duped by the GOP moneyed party. Most Tea Party organizations are funded by corporate people like the Koch brothers. Those who invoke violent political rhetoric or depict President Obama as Hitler or Osama bin Laden certainly are under this hateful umbrella. Luckily a lot of this hateful speech has calmed down since the Tucson shootings. Unfortunately I expect it to pick up next year during the heat of the 2012 election campaigns. Thank you for your insightful comments Micky.

PoliticsNOW profile image

PoliticsNOW 5 years ago from New York

The tea party driven by the likes of Glenn Beck pushed the idea that violence is comming from the left. Beck kept saying it when he was on fox news. Now they have the attitude of you first. I really hope the tea party and the GOP tear each other apart.

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

I hope the Tea Party domination of GOP politics takes them down in 2012. They are so far right that independents cannot vote for them. Beck and FOX help to crank this vilont rhetoric up and stating that the Left is doing this is just plain false. Thank you for your comments PoliticsNOW.

Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 5 years ago

I just found this hub. It rings as true today as when you wrote it. Well done.

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HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you very much for your kind comments Xenonlit. Most politicians have calmed their rhetoric down since the Arizona murders but we still unfortunately have a few knuckleheads on both sides of the political aisle.

Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

I haven't actually heard any liberals saying ugly things -- except me of course. But I used to be a Republican and it hasn't all been cleared out yet.

In fact one can hardly hear a liberal speak with conservatives rudely interrupting to make sure their lies are the loudest.

Death panels? ObamaCare is going to kill women and children?

IRS targeting Tea Baggers when it was a conservative who was running the show and set that in motion. In fact Tea Baggers weren't asked any questions nor their applications for tax exempt status any more scrutinized than anyone else's, but apparently, as is common amongst Conservatives, they believe they are above the law and should get special favors.

This is all garbage created by Conservatives and some people have the mistaken belief that the loudest mouth is the correct mouth. WRONG.

Very good message. Except that Conservatives must yell and interrupt to keep the truth from being told and their lies from being discovered. The American public really isn't very smart or there would be no Tea Baggers at all. Shock tactics and violent messages are what keeps people from actually thinking about what Tea Baggers and Conservatives are really saying. Take that away from the Conservatives and they have nothing at all.

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HSchneider 3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey Author

Thank you for your comments, Aunt Jimi. The Conservatives are by far the worst culprits of this violent demagoguery. They do interrupt a lot and cloud issues. But my main problem is when they use the violent rhetoric. I wrote this Hub in 18 hours, a record for me, directly after the Gabby Giffords shootings. I was enraged and felt compelled to write this. It eased at first but still persists especially against our President. I truly believe his race has a lot to do with it. The NRA also promotes this in general and for the benefits of their gun seller benefactors. I wish it would stop and we could all just debate vehemently but with civility.

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