Mary Katharine Ham: The Swift Death of the New Tone

Posted: Apr 05, 2011 9:09 AM
Threats. Violence. Racism. Extremist rhetoric. Liberal activists are doing exactly what the Left and the media falsely accused the tea partiers of doing.

In the April issue of Townhall Magazine, Mary Katharine Ham takes on the hypocrisy of the American Left that loves to falsely accuse conservatives of violent rhetoric but then engages in it frequently. They are the two-faced liberals who make up the modern progressive movement, and they have brought about what Ham calls "The Swift Death of the New Tone."

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Here's an excerpt of her April column, "The Swift Death of the New Tone":

A child’s handwritten sign that reads “We hate Scott Wacre” is seen taped to a wall in the rotunda during protests against budget cuts proposed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, R, at the state Capitol in Madison. The “new tone” the Left has been demanding from conservatives was nowhere to be seen during the union protests. (Reuters/ Darren Hauck)

Remember the days, in August of 2009, when conservatives merely raising their voices at health care town halls portended the sure destruction of the Republic? There were large numbers of conservatives gathering peacefully (and, yes, sometimes angrily) to express their discontent with Obama’s health care law. The media decided these protests were threatening and dangerous on their face.

The mere gathering together of conservatives critical of the president caused Chris Matthews to sputter and Rachel Maddow to whine about the closed-minded, racist and surely violent crowds that would be the undoing of the Union. The only problem was there wasn’t much violence to speak of.

During the most heated month of the health care uprising, when more than 500 town halls took place over one month across the country, there were exactly 10 instances of documented violence. Most of them were confined to the ripping of signs and minor tussles (though there were a handful of punches thrown), and seven of 10 incidents were perpetrated by ObamaCare supporters on protesters, according to photos, police reports and witnesses.

Nonetheless, the media kept up its “Climate of Hate” narrative through 2010, tsk-tsking over the tone of protest posters, often erroneously blaming tea partiers for Lyndon Larouche activists’ Hitler signs and generally making a giant, scary deal out of the least errant word from any right-leaning protester in any place at any time.

There was evidence in 2009 that the stringent requirements for polite protest were not going to apply to everyone. Concurrent with the health care protests that made the media to tremble with their ferocity, the international community held the G20 gathering in Pittsburgh. There, a collection of liberal and anarchist protesters did approximately $50,000 of damage to local businesses, and 190 of them were arrested for blocking traffic and rolling trash bins and throwing rocks at police.

The CBS headline for that story? “Police fire gas on G20 protesters.”

By 2011, the “violent right-wingers” narrative took its most irresponsible turn yet and blamed Sarah Palin’s political speech for the shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz. Giffords is recovering, praise God, after being shot in the head by a mentally ill man who had been fixated on her since at least 2007. To this day, there is no evidence that he was motivated by anyone’s political rhetoric, martial words or imagery. The 28-page federal indictment of Jared Lee Loughner does not mention Palin’s now-infamous crosshairs map as a cause of the incident because it wasn’t.

Nonetheless, the country was called by all of national media to a time of soul-searching about our “tone.” There should be a new tone, they said, and President Barack Obama echoed that in his Tucson speech saying our rhetoric should “honor” those who had been killed while engaging in our democratic process in that Safeway parking lot.

Several right-leaning pundits joined the call to civility, giving credence to the idea that rhetoric and Loughner’s crime were somehow connected -- among them David Frum, Joe Scarborough and Jeb Bush.

But the new tone didn’t last long. After all, it could last only until it was necessary for liberals to protest again, at which point all the rules imposed on conservative activists would be swiftly jettisoned in favor of celebrating the “passion” of those who carry Hitler signs for “justice.”

Remember, HamNation is exclusive to Townhall Magazine and the full version of this piece can be read only in the April issue of Townhall Magazine.

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