Now that Van Jones, the so-called Green Jobs Czar has resigned, one might say the cost of fighting words has risen. While he signed onto the cause that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration, his amazing foul mouth line against Republicans says something about the hubris of the Democratic power elite. Evidently, there is an assumption that thoroughly rotten behavior is forgiven if one is a Democrat and in power. Others feel that this kind of lunacy and profanity are now par for the course in our national dialogue. Perhaps that's why Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett, close advisor to the President according to Politico, heaped praise on Van Jones rather recently. Perhaps only Republicans are accountable for wretched speech or insane conspiracy theories.
That words now count differently for some who lead rather than others comprises a fundamental distortion in our national discourse. It also exposes the craven. If say, a Republican now votes for Obamacare after Democrats have called them un-American (Pelosi/Reid), racist (Patterson, Rangel) or asshole (Van Jones), that person is a punk. If someone called you these to your face, you'd dispute it, to say the least, if not take a swipe at them. These are fighting words. Do nothing and you deserve the abuse you will receive. Anyone who's vaguely aware of how people interact knows there are certain words and phrases which are certain to inflame a conversation. It's that attempt by someone to make general attacks personal that is so evil. To sink a phrase hook into someone's consciousness is to try to intimidate on an intellectual plane.
Unless one replies in kind, the verbal smear artist has achieved a hold over the target.
However, this verbal intimidation has not worked, so far. Barack Hussein Obama's big speech to Congress can do little to fix things. As Walter Ong wrote, once something is uttered, all else afterward is simply patchwork on the previous oral expression. Obama's soothing words can do little to stop the rancor that has engulfed the national conversation this summer. Sure, we'll get a speech about the grand visions and the individual sob stories, but for most, the system works. Look, once someone has called you a vile name, no amount of sweet words can change your opinion.