Posts tagged ‘Rhetoric’

September 7, 2011

The Civil Discourse Go-Around

by Vince

Jimmy Hoffa, the teamsters union leader, warmed up a Detroit crowd before Barack Obama took the stage by saying the following:

“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Hoffa told thousands of workers gathered for the annual event organized by the Detroit Labor Council.

“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march…Everybody here’s got a vote…Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he concluded.

The response to Hoffa intrigues me. The Tea Party, of all people, condemned his words, saying they were “inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric,” and that they have  “no place in the public forum.” This is the same Tea Party that since it’s inception has been spitting vitriolic bile and is known for it’s protesting signs that depict Obama as either a Nazi or a slave master. To this day, I have not seen one Tea Party leader call for condemning their own “inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric” that truly “has no place in the public forum.”

Now, to be fair, Obama has called for a transformation in our political discourse so it would only be fair for him to call out Hoffa for his comments. He has pointed out the rhetoric of Congressional Republicans. Can he do the same for his own backers?

March 13, 2011

Keeping Civil Discourse: Not Meant for Picking and Choosing

by Vince

This can be seen as part two in possibly an ongoing series. Sarah Palin first caught my attention by selectively upholding and condemning our First Amendment right to free speech. She now has selectively done the same in regards to the impacts of violent rhetoric.

After the Tuscon shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Palin was criticized because she placed a cross hair symbol on Gifford’s district prior to the shooting to highlight various districts that Republicans needed to “target” and win in the November 2010 elections. Palin rebuked her at times violent rhetoric (“Don’t retreat! Reload”) and said that her words, as well as anyone else’s, had no impact on Jared Lee Lougher’s decision to shoot Rep. Gifford’s through the head:

There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those “calm days” when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren’t designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders’ genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure.

As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we ‘take up our arms’, we’re talking about our vote.” Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.

No one should be deterred from speaking up and speaking out in peaceful dissent, and we certainly must not be deterred by those who embrace evil and call it good. And we will not be stopped from celebrating the greatness of our country and our foundational freedoms by those who mock its greatness by being intolerant of differing opinion and seeking to muzzle dissent with shrill cries of imagined insults.

You just have to love the idea of Palin hiding behind the wall of “humans are not perfect”, so sorry if things get messy and out of hand from time to time.

Meanwhile, Palin was on the Sean Hannity show this past week and beat her drum to a different tune:

During an appearance Thursday night on Sean Hannity’s TV show, Sarah Palin had a warning about the protests going on against the bill just signed by Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) to curtail public employee unions — saying that unions should “tone down the rhetoric” against the bill, because it will result in people getting hurt.

Hannity and Palin discussed the death threat delivered to the Republican state Senators, which the state is currently investigating. Hannity said: And as soon as cuts start being made, we see there the violent rhetoric, the threats, this reaction. Do you think we’re gonna see a lot of more of this? In other words, is this the beginning of things to come?”

“Well, these union bosses that are acting like thugs, as they are leading some of their good union members down a road that will ultimately result in, unfortunately, somebody getting hurt,” Palin said, “if you believe the death threats that are being received by those who just happen to support amending some collective bargaining privileges of state unions. Well, it is these unions bosses’ responsibility to turn down the rhetoric and start getting truth out there, so that nobody gets hurt.”

Again and again, the picking and choosing of when to support freedom of speech, when to denounce or cry innocent to violent rhetoric, all worded and guided so to protect her own character. Does she have a mental disability and therefore have these lapses on routine or is she that cynically picky?


January 11, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

H/T: Tony Auth