It seems that our country is experiencing an unprecedented level of anger and division. Heated debates in our society focus on how our country should address issues such as illegal immigration, healthcare, and religious freedom, to name a few. Some suggest we seem headed to another civil war. I can’t say that I disagree.
In the last week or two, there have been some very disturbing examples of people harassing public officials because of their political affiliations. DHS Secretary Keirsten Neilson was shouted at incessantly while she tried to dine at a local D.C. restaurant, to the point that she had to be escorted out before she could finish her meal. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was told that she had to leave a Virginia restaurant because the owner didn’t like her boss, Donald Trump. Also, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was heckled and swarmed by an angry mob shouting her down while trying to attend a movie. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had supporters of President Trump shout “Go home Jim” to CNN reporter Jim Acosta at a rally in South Carolina.
One nearly deadly event triggered by political rhetoric was the shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) last year. According to USA Today, shooter James Hodgkinson ranted frequently about his disdain for Republicans and even said it is time to “destroy Trump & Co.”
The list of violence and dangerous rhetoric on behalf of Democrats and influential people goes on and on.
This has to stop. While the vast majority of mob-like behavior is being perpetrated by those on the left side of the aisle, I find it important to also note the Jim Acosta example. No matter how much you think Jim Acosta of CNN might deserve to be shouted at because of his persistent anti-Trump reporting, this type of behavior by Trump supporters is counterproductive. The reason is that this is what the left does. They shout and bully those they disagree with. Those of us who support President Trump are better than that.
Back to the disgraceful behavior by those on the left. These are Antifa and Occupy Wall Street type folks from what I can see. They have taken notes from the Saul Alinsky playbook, Rules for Radicals, with their main goal being to intimidate their opponents to the point of submission. They don’t use logic. They have no moral compass and they don’t want to have a civil discussion about politics or ideology.
One item that has fueled this fire is the social media world of instant response and gratification. We have all participated in or experienced the daily drama of personal attacks that take place on the internet. Half of the things people say on Facebook or Twitter they’d never say to people face to face.
It’s not likely that any appeal to tone down the rhetoric and harassment will be heeded by the left but to my fellow Christians I say, “Let’s take the high road.” In Romans 12:18, when talking about the marks of a true Christian, Paul says “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” This doesn't mean that we forfeit our beliefs and convictions, in order to live peaceably. But it does mean that we are to show love and respect for all that we come in contact with while maintaining our biblical values.
What makes our country great is that each American citizen has the right to dissent. While those we disagree with might continue this streak of intimidation tactics, it is important that we don’t start a tit for tat strategy because that is exactly what the left wants.