In my post yesterday, I defended Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg against inaccurate claims that he wasn't in school on the day of the massacre, falsely spun out of an answer he gave during a CBS News interview. I argued that even when we disagree on policy, and even when we abhor their framing of issues and dissenting views, we should not repeat hoaxes or smears against victims and survivors. Or anyone else, for that matter. But I also argued that targets of ugly vilification shouldn't feel obligated to sit and grimace through the abuse without responding. Measured replies and thoughtful criticisms are warranted. Hogg, who is the nastiest communicator among his activist clique (which excludes 'inconvenient' victims and survivors), is showing no signs of tamping down his grossly inappropriate -- and increasingly self-defeating, frankly -- rhetoric. The Free Beacon aggregates some of the demagogic lowlights:
"[The NRA are] pathetic f***ers that want to keep killing our children. [Pro-gun politicians] could have blood from children spattered all over their faces and they wouldn't take action 'cause they all still see those dollar signs."
I bring fresh attention to these quotes because Hogg has taken to attacking Republican politicians for pursuing "the goal of dividing America:"
Maybe because so many of us are gunned down before we even become 21 @SteveKingIA you prove exactly why so many American's are done with politicians like you who only have the goal of dividing America to make us weaker. https://t.co/uInfoCNLlb— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) March 27, 2018
Someone -- yes, even someone who's young and traumatized -- cannot credibly decry divisiveness when he or she routinely and crudely slanders his opponents as murderous monsters. Especially when he or she reflexively defends cowardice and inaction from someone who could have literally done something to halt the carnage but did not, turning that revelation into yet another occasion to hurl partisan mud. Hogg is rarely challenged on this approach because he's carrying a media immunity card. Allahpundit exposes the cynical game adult leftists are playing in elevating people like Hogg as serious leaders while casting any criticism of them as the unseemly dirty work of 'bad guys:'
The Parkland students also have a dual identity that can be switched out as political circumstances require. When they’re attacking, they’re the inspiring young leaders of a policy push that’s going to succeed where so many adult-led efforts have failed. Don’t dismiss them because of their age. They know what they’re talking about and they deserve to be heard. Then, when they’re heard and criticized for their arguments or their rhetoric, they’re the apolitical child victims of a horrendous tragedy. You want to bicker about policy with … a kid? Whose friends were just murdered? What is wrong with you?
AP also wonders if Hogg's extreme language is approaching, or has passed, a threshold of diminishing returns. At some point, doesn't the dialed-to-eleven viciousness become simply too much for even many sympathetic observers to stomach, despite Hogg's 'survivor status'?
Here’s a truthbomb for you. Hogg, precisely because he’s so inflammatory and ubiquitous on cable news, has become a political liability to his classmates and his cause. You’re not going to see that show up in polls because people don’t want to be considered “bad guys” for saying so. Everyone does (or should) have sympathy for him and the other student gun-grabbers for what they’ve been through; Lemon’s not wrong to suggest that some of the rhetorical bombthrowing is just catharsis to blow off the stress of trauma. But there are adults at CNN and elsewhere who are happy to exploit that for political reasons and the law-abiding gun owners who are being called child-killers by their teenaged proxy naturally resent it. If Hogg’s adult allies were smart they’d ask him to rein it in, if only as a tactical matter, in the interests of the cause.
What's the likelihood of that happening, though? Here's a clue: Hogg has declared that his commentary hasn't been "provocative" enough thus far. So it seems like he's more likely to go the route of unhinged Nazi gas chamber comparisons long before he even considers a modest walk back of any sort. Behold, our "debate."