Opinion: Insults and Threats of Violence Are Never Acceptable

Walter Rhein

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The United States would be better served if people limited themselves to respectful comments. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Too often in this country when you offer an opinion, you’re attacked with baseless insults.

“You are a moron.”

“You are an idiot.”

“You are a liar.”

All you have to do is watch political advertisements and it’s clear where the hostility lies. For example, many politicians have proposed the idea of spending less money on the police and instead using that money to create opportunities for our children. However, some people respond that this will create a tidal wave of crime that will overrun the whole country.

In the United States, it’s common for people to reply with worst-case scenarios that don’t seem very plausible.

“Let’s offer lunches at schools for disadvantaged families.”

“If we give even one lunch to one starving child that child will become dependent on government hand-outs for the rest of his life.”

No, the only result will be that some kids will get a good meal who otherwise wouldn’t have gotten one. Meanwhile, the same side has no problem handing out free government money to struggling corporations.

It’s hard to have a rational discussion about anything when people take the issue to unreasonable extremes. The proposal to defund the police isn’t a call to radically cut all police funding. Instead, it’s a gradual reallocation of funds with the intent to use taxpayer money in a way that brings about a greater benefit to everyone.

Maybe it's a problem that the United States has so many people in jail. Have you noticed that nobody tries to use the argument, “If we don’t defund the police, your children are going to end up in jail!”

Nobody uses that argument because it’s not a fair argument to make. However, there is one side of the political spectrum that claims it’s “unfairly” targeted by investigations. They’re pro-police right up to the point where they get caught doing something illegal.

But ask yourself, why shouldn’t we examine how we allocate tax dollars? Why are proposals for change so often met with ridiculous, hostile, and exaggerated claims?

“If you do that, it will be the end of the world.”

“No, it won’t.”

This is the same side of the political spectrum that showed up at the Capitol and built a gallows. That’s completely unacceptable behavior. It’s like their answer to everything is to beat people over the head.

Meanwhile, issues like climate change, which do represent a real threat to the survival of the human race, are met with scorn and derision. We’re seeing dangerous examples of climate change on a global scale. It’s not theoretical. It’s happening.

You can’t build a gallows and hang climate change. That’s not going to work. Violence is not the solution to everything. We need more appeals to reason. I can think of only one side of the political spectrum that has built a gallows.

On top of all that, that side becomes angry when you criticize them for constantly making calls for violence.

As you look around the political landscape, you see a lot of hateful comments. Unfortunately, there has also been a lot of violence and destruction of property. Again, if you look at arrest statistics, it’s clear what side of the political spectrum this lawless behavior is coming from.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of dishonest commentary surrounding who is responsible for dividing our country. It has gotten to the point where if you say, “Please do not indulge in hate speech,” the other side says, “Why are you being so intolerant?”

It’s not an example of hate speech to denounce hate speech. It seems like the United States is becoming a nation full of victims. Everybody wants to claim that they are the victim. However, the truth is that some people are victims and some people are oppressors. The oppressors are the ones who feel entitled enough to march on the Capitol and build a gallows.

I can’t think of anything more distasteful than when oppressors try to present themselves as victims.

All American citizens are subjected to a lot of false messaging, particularly in the lead-up to an election. Every single day you encounter political ads on the television, on the radio, and on social media.

The only advice I can give is that American citizens must look for the side that’s offering solutions instead of fear. Which side wants a rational discussion and which side capitalizes on hysteria?

No matter what side of the political spectrum appeals to you, it’s clear that our nation is divided. When somebody says, “Hate speech is not acceptable,” why is it so hard to agree? Instead, many people want to fabricate examples of hate speech from rational discourse so they can pin the label on their political opponents.

That’s dishonest.

Think for yourself. Ask yourself which political ads use tones of fear and anger. Which political party makes calls for violence? If you’re honest with yourself, the choice is very clear.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

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