“Those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”
Former President Richard Nixon, in a 1977 interview with David Frost describing the most important thing he had learned from the Watergate experience.
It has been 45 years (this week) since Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. President Nixon was as complicated as he was brilliant. Even Bill Clinton, who spoke at his funeral, came to value his insight.
Today we see a party and their activists elevating hate to an art form. The media, which used to serve as a regulator, has largely joined in the hate-filled chorus. So there are no guard rails. The most specious invectives are treated and repeated as reasonable statements of fact. Expressions like “without proof” are reserved solely for President Trump and his supporters.
Some of their venom has lost its sting. Terms like racist have been so overused that they’ve become shopworn. The new slur of choice is a white supremacist. Most Americans don’t really know what a white supremacist is. They’ve never met one. The way the media cleverly repeats the term, we assume it must be worse than a regular racist.
There is an old expression in the legal field that if you have the facts, argue the facts. If you have the law supporting your case, argue the law. If you have neither the law nor the facts, pound the table.
Today’s political corollary is that if you have superior ideas, argue the ideas. If your political adversaries have failed to keep their promises, argue their failures. If you have neither, slur and demean the opposition with angry hate-filled rhetoric.
They don’t just pound the table. They don’t just disagree. They hate anyone who disagrees with them. They want us silenced. They hate capitalism and God-fearing Americans. They want this President not only impeached but imprisoned. Their sense of humor and of proportion have been totally consumed by their hatred. They have become divorced from reality.
They are destroying themselves.
A Bernie Sanders supporter takes a high power rifle to Congressional baseball practice with the expressed intention of killing as many Republicans as possible, Democrats blame the gun. Angry, hateful partisan speech from the Left had nothing to do with it. But, if a lunatic walks into a Walmart and kills a dozen innocent shoppers, he must have been driven to act by something he heard at a Trump rally.
This is lunacy.
By fanning the flames of hate with their base, Democrats have created a firestorm that is destroying any chance that they may have had in next year’s elections. Their candidates have been actively starting backfires and now find themselves surrounded by the flames.
Not only is this despicable behavior turning off ever-larger chunks of the electorate, but it is also causing the Democrat tent to collapse from within. AOC and her minions now set the terms and conditions of the debate. Candidates must bow and grovel, even though she speaks for only a small sliver of the American electorate. They have been forced to support foolish ideas like the Green New Deal and free healthcare for illegals. Policies that could muster only a handful of votes in Congress.
The angry Left has spawned the Democratic Socialist movement. If you haven’t seen some of the highlights of their recent conference in Atlanta, you must! It is the definition of comedy becoming a farce. They tie themselves in knots as they pretend to have a serious discussion. The politically correct language, the thought policing and virtue signaling are both troubling and hilarious. It gives us a picture of just where the progressive movement wants us to progress to. Their vision of our future is totally unworkable. But understand, it is the vision that is now embraced by nearly all of the Democrat presidential candidates.
President Nixon also told us, “I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” Returning hate for hate is a fool’s bargain. We should all reflect on his words, keep a sense of humor and grow braver as we confront those who hate this President and all who stand with him.
Gil Gutknecht served six terms each in the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives.