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Check yourself: Is your whole life about how much you hate the other political side?
How far are we going to let this go?
I wouldn’t want to go out of this world the way James T. Hodgkinson did, but it appears to have suited him perfectly. Before he showed up at that baseball field in Alexandria and opened fire on Republican congressmen, he seems to have identified with few things more than his hatred of Republicans.
Dan went over some of this last week, so you’re up to speed on Hodgkinson’s desire to terminate Republicans, and on his belief that the road to Hell is paved with Republicans. If Mr. Hodgkinson was about anything, it was about hating Republicans. And he ultimately brought his own life to an end by taking this hatred to its logical extreme and trying to kill some of them.
So far he’s the only one in the current political environment to take his hatred to that extreme (although we’ll give a dishonorable mention to Kathy Griffin here), and we certainly pray there will be no others. But given the way things are in the country right now, you know perfectly well that Hodgkinson was not the only person out there seething with political rage.
Go to any college campus and see the rioters setting things on fire because someone dares to show up and express an opinion you don’t agree with. Go on Twitter and read about how Republicans want to kill you by “taking away your health care.” Or go on YouTube and check the “pussy hats” of the Trump-hating protesters who raged about how the new president was going to ruin their lives.
If that’s not enough, go on Facebook and read the angry debates between partisans. Or go to a congressman’s town hall and watch as people try to shout down what’s being said, or in at least one case, shout down the opening prayer.
Angry people do pretty disturbing things sometimes, but they are usually somewhat restrained by what they perceive to be the limits of societal acceptance. If you’ve ever seen a mob rise up, you’ll notice that many of the people committing horrible acts as part of the mob would surely not do such things if they were alone on the street. They would fear exposure, shame or embarrassment. But they perceive that there’s safety in numbers, so they’ll join in burning that car, or looting that building.
That nation’s political atmosphere is getting to be like that mob. You can mock the president’s daughter for praying for people. You can hold up what appears to be the president’s severed head in a video. If you’re unhinged enough, there are places where you can express that you wish James Hodgkinson had been a better shot, and people will affirm your righteousness in saying so.
There has always been political anger in America, but I’ve never seen such extreme manifestations of it so widely accepted.
It seems like this is mostly coming from the left at the moment, but I think all of us need to examine ourselves at a time like this. You have strong political opinions? Great. Obviously, so do I. But are your thoughts dominated by the rage you feel toward the other side? Is that how you come across to people – whether on the Internet or in real life?
Because if that sounds like you, I’m going to suggest that you step back and give all this some thought. I’m not saying you need to get out of the game. There’s a lot at stake and we need all the good people we can get advocating for the right things.
But there’s a difference between advocating the right things and seething with anger toward the people who disagree with you. It’s not healthy for you, and it really doesn’t help us to achieve our goals either.
I’m not saying everyone who feels anger toward the other side is going to end up like James Hodgkinson. What I am saying is that, if you don’t go down that road – even a little – both you and everyone else will be a lot better off.
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