I think it’s safe to say that George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign promise to bring civility back to Washington has been abandoned. No surprises there, considering the promises broken by this president.
Of course, the political climate today is decidedly poisonous, with both sides attacking each other.
And while a handful of Democrats have attacked Bush, it has been Republicans, and the conservative pundits, that have done all they can to vilify Democrats and liberals. They claim we’re terrorist sympathizers and that we’re guilty of treason for speaking out against the war in Iraq. They claim we’re on a campaign to persecute Christians and to destroy “traditional” family values by attempting to “legitimize” gay marriage.
The pundits have also written books attacking liberals. Ann Coulter, a frequent guest on shows like Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, has written a number of books slamming liberals. Sean Hannity of Hannity and Colmes also writes books, and includes titles that say “Deliver Us From Evil…defeating…Depotism and Liberalism.” As if liberals were a group that needed to be destroyed. Michael Savage’s latest book likens liberalism to a mental illness.
On cable news, most conservatives are free to spew their hatred of liberals with little opposition. Hannity and Colmes, which stars Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, is a perfect example of this dynamic. It’s not an exaggeration that at times the show will feature one or two (or three) right-wing guests “debating” with a lone liberal guest.
Alan Colmes, representing the liberal point of view, is not nearly as aggressive as Hannity in defending liberals or Democrats. Colmes may at times attempt a sort of aggressive response to a comment made by a conservative guest, but he doesn’t come close to the hatred espoused by Hannity. His technique for a liberal guest is to simply barrage the guest with questions (or, more typically, statements) and demand that a liberal respond. Hannity has a number of pet liberals (like Colmes) he likes, such as “liberal” Fox News contributor Susan Estritch, who more likely than not will agree with Hannity. So much for “fair and balanced.”
It’s time for Democrats, liberals and progressives to take a stand against the onslaught of liberal hatred by the Republican politicians and pundits. Liberals like to take a beating, it seems, at the hands of conservatives.
I think many liberals believe it is better to take the high road and not sink to the level of a conservative who can scream over and over about how liberals hate America. It’s not better. We need to defend ourselves and aggressively promote an agenda. Democrats in Congress seem to spend most of their time on defense against Republicans, rather than coming together to put forth a bold agenda on what direction to take America. Polls support the idea that Americans are not happy with the direction Bush is taking the country; in some polls that number was about 60%. Democrats have a chance of taking a step towards removing the Republican majority in the 2006 mid-term elections. With bold leadership and clear ideas on how to make America better, we may just make it happen. Here’s hoping it will.