I had a long back and forth with a conservative friend on FB yesterday. For once this was not with the Professor. On a related note, I think I need to find some liberal friends some time – seems like everyone I know is conservative. Anyway, the discussion came up because the friend was going off on the Liberals and the Left about how they’re blaming the Right for the shooting in Tucson. He especially defended Sarah Palin and her cross-hair map. So I chimed in to support the idea that there may be something to the accusation that inflammatory rhetoric and the current political climate have something to do with attacks like the one in Tucson. When my friend shot back (as some conservatives do) with the “both sides do it” rejoinder, I went off on my theory about how the, let’s call it lack of civility for this post (since that’s the title I used), stems more from the Right than the Left. My friend, of course, came back with the usual “hey, look at all this stuff people said about Bush.” And I said, “dude, you miss the point – the Right has made these kind of unfriendly (and worse) words and acts much more mainstream.” And by mainstream, I mean look at the elected officials, political party representatives and media mouthpieces and then tell me that what was said about Bush during his terrible, awful, no good, very bad reign, is anywhere near what conservatives and Republicans have said and done. It’s easy to try and make the false equivalence when you’re just comparing liberal and conservative blog commenters and people in the grassroots. But show me how it’s anywhere near to equivalent among the big names on the Left. One Ward Churchill (not that I think he meets my criteria of elected officials, political party representatives and media mouthpieces) or Keith Olbermann just doesn’t compare to the roster of such offenders on the Right (Beck, Hannity, Palin, Angle, Joe Wilson, et al).
So, I’m going to test out my theory of civility in the coming days and weeks (or until I find something else to focus on…squirrel?)