Opinion: To be clear, “Half of you are Nazis” is not a unifying message

by Peter Heck · Nov 21st, 2020 8:39 am
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Last Updated Nov 23rd, 2020 at 9:40 pm

Last Wednesday, I read the original Veterans Day proclamation from former president (and veteran) Dwight D. Eisenhower. Besides just remembering the sacrifice of soldiers, Ike saw purpose in the day as one reminding Americans of the glory found in, "join(ing) hands in the common purpose."

I don't know if there has ever been a Veterans Day where I've been more consciously aware of the desperate need for our countrymen to identify and rally around a common purpose, if one still exists for our beleaguered people.

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like I live in a country perilously divided, and one where the warring cultural factions care little about accepting responsibility or feeling shame for the role they play in widening the gulf. We are a people trigger happy when it comes to accusation but quite gun shy in respect to accountability.

For instance, in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, we are hearing much from left-wing politicians and their co-travelers in the mainstream media about the need for the right to repent for the sin of Trump. In order to "heal," they say, Republicans have a duty to disavow the abusive conduct their president has engaged in for the last four years. There can be no forgiveness without contrition and confession.

Fair enough. I don't believe conservatives lose anything by acknowledging there was nothing productive, positive, or presidential about tweeting that Bette Midler is a "washed up psycho" or that Donny Deutsch is a "total loser."

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But the left's propensity to leave themselves out of the penitence category isn't going to cut it this time. Not if we're looking to embrace anything remotely resembling a common purpose. For instance, in Joe Biden's recent "unity" speech, he proceeded to call those who resist woke politics in the U.S., representatives of "our darkest impulses" at war with our "better angels." His insults may be presented in a more palatable tone and presidential form than what President Trump ever accomplished, but calling conservatives evil demons doesn't strike me as overly unifying.

Nor does this contemptible behavior of mainstream media:

Christiane Amanpour is no stranger to vile comparisons. Years ago in a CNN special called "God's Warriors," she outrageously – and without censure – equated Christian children attending summer Jesus camps to madrassa-trained Islamic suicide bombers. Her contempt for those with traditional religious beliefs is not even remotely concealable, yet somehow continues to pass muster at CNN.

Note that this impossibly offensive comparison of the Trump years to Kristallnacht did not come in a passing phrase, during an impassioned exchange, or even a spirited debate where intemperate words sometimes pass lips without being properly processed and moderated by a fair mind. No, this was an opening monologue, meticulously and intentionally designed exactly as delivered, read from a CNN teleprompter.

And don't think she's alone with this inflammatory ignorance. Here's David Frum, the former George W. Bush speechwriter turned rabidly anti-Trump editor at the Atlantic:

This garbage is astoundingly hyperbolic and irreconcilable with any pretense of unity and common purpose.

So here's where I think we stand. If those values – believing the best about one another, believing in second chances, believing in abundant life, responsible liberty, and the individualized pursuit of happiness – are truly things the majority of our people still want for one another, we have to stop celebrating, promoting, excusing, and defending such irresponsible voices of division, and start holding our ideological allies accountable for their sins.

That last point is what I fear is lost on the left. If you want the right to acknowledge the divisiveness of President Trump, that's fair. But you can't demand it from mouthpieces flagrantly guilty of the same.


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