As January 8 becomes more distant in the past, I would like to offer my thoughts on the topic raised by the events that day in Tucson: Civil political discourse.
As we now know, there is plenty of reason to believe that the motivation for the shooter was related to mental illness and that the motivation was unlikely to have been related to political rhetoric. Premature and unfounded reports may have suggested otherwise at first, but now that has primarily changed, although certainly there are places where political opponents of the conservative movement persist in a version of events that suits their politics rather than which fits with reality.
But the idea was posed that political discourse needs to become more civil. Conservatives have taken this as a veiled insult directed at them, as it may well have been intended. That aside, there is nothing wrong with a call for civil political discourse. There is, however, something wrong in calling for civil political discourse and acting to supress civil political discourse.
Political discourse becomes uncivilized for a reason. Politics today is a product of a large population of Americans with a disagreement with the direction set for the country by the Democratic Party, and that state of being is compounded by the fact that the Democratic Party has failed to give that disagreement an appopriate level of disrespect.
Instead of discussing the relative merits of differing visions for the way forward in America, the Tea Party’s calls for limitted government, the political ideas of the movement have been disregarded and instead the movement has been called names and accused of acts on a systematic basis which have been unrelated or even staged by opponents.
If Democrats are truly interested in civil discourse, then it is time to remember they have a part to play in that as well.