What's the point at which rhetoric forces action? When do words become incitement? At what point do political attacks get so reckless and unhinged that you can no longer heal the divide they create with politics? It's hard to know exactly, but the left is getting very close. Take, for example, this exchange on MSNBC, in which frequent guest Malcolm Nance accuses the president of the United States of sending secret messages to neo-Nazis:
"These people feel that they are the foot soldiers and executors of the disenfranchisement that the white race is feeling, and Donald Trump is giving them subliminal orders in their head," Nance said.
Subliminal orders? Whatever Trump's faults, you can be certain he isn't doing that. Trump is the least subliminal politician in American history. He has no subtext. If he's thinking it, he says it. The claim is ludicrous. But at MSNBC, it wasn't even the weirdest thing recently said on air. That distinction goes to Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI official turned talking head-conspiracy nut. He used numerology to explain the president's coded messages:
"It's the little things and the language and messaging that matters," Figliuzzi said. "The president said that we will fly our flags at half-mast until Aug. 8. That's 8/8. Now, I'm not going to imply that he did this deliberately, but I am using it as an example of the ignorance of the adversary that's being demonstrated by the White House. The numbers 8, 8 are very significant in neo-Nazi and white supremacy movement. Why? Because the letter H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, and to them, the numbers 8, 8 together stand for 'Heil Hitler."
Got that? Eight is a racist number. That's MSNBC's position. In other words, things are getting dangerously crazy on the left. How crazy? On Monday, former Jeb Bush spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace explained that Trump is planning a genocide of Hispanic Americans:
"President (Barack) Obama used the power of the presidency to try to pass comprehensive immigration reform with the Latino community, Latino leaders at the table," Wallace said. "You now have a president ... talking about exterminating Latinos."
"Exterminating Latinos." Keep in mind Trump got a higher percentage of the Hispanic vote than Mitt Romney did. It turns out that not all Latinos believe in open borders. A lot of them agree with Trump. And yet, the left is now telling you — and demanding that you believe — that anyone who supports Trump is a white supremacist and must be destroyed. They're telling you that for political reasons. It's election season, and they want more power. But there are other reasons, too.
Ever wonder why rich people seem the most hysterical on the subject? Ever notice that it's the highest-paid people on TV who are the most determined to convince you white supremacy is America's biggest problem? Why is that? Simple: Every minute you spend angry about race is a minute you're not thinking about class — which, of course, is the real divide in this country. Working-class people of all colors have a lot more in common with each other than they do with some overpaid MSNBC anchor. If you were allowed to think about that long enough, you might start to get unauthorized ideas about economics. That would be disruptive to a very lucrative status quo. So they whip you into a frenzy of racial fear so that it never enters your mind. It's a diversion. Everyone else hates each other. They get to keep their money. Pretty tricky. Unfortunately, it's destroying the country. This is the path to civil war.
So we want to take a second to pass on a sincere message to official Washington: Please, for the sake of the nation, calm down. Yes, America has problems. Racism is one of those problems. But so are a fading middle class, a terrifying drug epidemic, and a national debt that is growing by $1 trillion a year.
People realize their country is declining, and it's making them turn to new political leaders. Trump was one of them. Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are others.
This is a time of frustration and change. But America is not on the brink of genocide, not even close. This is not a white supremacist country, plotting the slaughter of its own people. It's a kind country, full of decent people of all races who, like all people everywhere, make bad decisions from time to time but mean well and generally try their best. Going forward, give them the benefit of the doubt, even when you disagree with them — maybe especially when you disagree with them. These are your fellow Americans. Cut them a break. They deserve it. Remember: The alternative is a disaster.