We’ve Got to Find a Way to Disagree Without Hatred Again

Demonstrators protest against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in Washington, Oct. 4, 2018. As senators read FBI interview transcripts Thursday, the White House is confident that the new background check on Kavanaugh has improved his claim to the Supreme Court. (Zach Gibson/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)

“When the Left is already screaming at people in public and doxxing them and staking out their homes, what does it look like for them to fight all the harder?” asks Ben Domenech in a column today for The Federalist.

It’s a sobering question.

A common tactic in politics is to portray the opposition in a given debate as deranged. To try and define the other side by the most extreme views of its fringe. Both the right and the left deploys those sort of talking points, and unfortunately it’s obscured a very real rise in condoned violence on the left.

Look at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests which saw months of violence perpetrated by left wing political extremists in the name of environmentalism.

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise and two other people were shot last year on a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. Scalise may never walk normally again. Senator Rand Paul was attacked at his home in Kentucky and left with painful injuries which left him with difficulty breathing for months.

“Just this past week we saw a Democratic staffer who doxxed multiple Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee indicted, facing nearly 50 years in federal prison for his crimes,” writes Domenech. “We saw Cory Gardner revealing his wife had received graphic texts of a beheading after his vote for Kavanaugh, along with their home address.”

These are extreme anecdotes, sure, but they’re also examples of something most on the left seem to believe these days, which is that there is no way to disagree with their political orthodoxies without being an evil.

To illustrate how far down these extreme attitudes have filtered, get a load of this Facebook post from David Thompson, the candidate for Attorney General nominated by the North Dakota Democrats. In it he accuses my colleague, reporter April Baumgarten, of pro-Republican bias for “liking” the campaign Facebook page of Public Service Commission candidate Brian Kroshus. He also complains that the company which employs April and I, Forum Communications Company, is at fault for daring to publish my work:

The accusation against April is silly. I’ve known her for years and I have no idea what her politics are. I spoke with her last night, and the “like” in question was about her work as a reporter. She wanted to keep up with the Kroshus campaign. Some are saying it would have been better for her to follow the page, as opposed to liking it, but at this point given all the weird stuff Facebook has been doing with their feeds and notifications a “like” probably doesn’t hurt.

For a statewide Democratic candidate to go on a social media tirade because a reporter “liked” a Republican page, much as reporters covering politics “like” the pages of all sorts of candidates and groups for the sake of staying on top of developments, is telling.

As is his attack on me. His claim that publishing my work is giving me “legitimacy” means he feels my points of view, representing a generally conservative/libertarian bent, are illegitimate to begin with.

This is the problem our friends on the left are struggling with. They can’t tolerate disagreement, but they can’t just say that, so instead the denounce opposing points using terms like “bigotry” and “legitimacy.” Even something as innocuous as a reporter “liking” a Republican social media account for the sake of following it is cast as sinister.

I hope our friends on the left pump the brakes on this stuff, because it’s not good for our country.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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