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Chris Stigall Column: On the Contrary, Hate Has A Home

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- I can't do it anymore. I won't. After a politically active Democrat-Socialist attempted to assassinate every Republican he could see on a baseball field – I'm supposed to rethink MY political rhetoric? I'm supposed to work harder to come together with Democrats to display unity? Yeah, no thanks.

First, a perfunctory disclaimer: crazy is crazy and I don't believe anyone or anything can honestly be blamed when an individual loses control of oneself. However…

The man who attempted to assassinate scores of Republicans this week was not garden-variety mentally ill. He was politically active and mentally ill. He was a Bernie Sanders supporter who recently, passionately engaged in political campaigns and issues both in person and online. He cared deeply about politics just as I do, and I suppose you do if you're reading this. But it's time to be clear, fair, and honest about what's going on rhetorically in this country.

There's a woman named Michelle Carter currently on trial in Massachusetts accused of encouraging her suicidal boyfriend Conrad Roy, via text, to follow through with his plans to kill himself. "You need to do it, Conrad. You're ready and prepared. All you have to do is turn the generator on and you will be free and happy," she reportedly wrote. "No more pushing it off. No more waiting."

Roy did tragically take his life the night of that text exchange. If a jury finds Carter guilty of pushing her boyfriend to kill himself, she faces 20 years in prison. For texting. See where I'm going here, Democrats?

If we're going to have a discussion about tone and our rhetoric, OK, let's have it, but it's not going to be one-sided anymore.

I tire of having to defend Trump voters when a candidate for Congress roughs up a reporter in Montana while Hillary and Bernie voters don't have to explain this shooting.

No more will I accept or listen to arguments about the NRA or the pro-life movement causing movie theater, school, or abortion clinic shootings while Democrats don't have to explain this one.

I'll not entertain the notion politicians like Sarah Palin should be blamed for Gabby Giffords because she once used figurative targets in a political ad while Democrats fall silent after one of their voters used Republicans for literal target practice on a baseball field.

And no, "repudiating violence of any kind" and "we must demand better of our politics" platitudes aren't enough.

It's time Democrats acknowledge the game they've been playing for years almost turned deadly. When you assign ill intent, meanness, cruelty, and evil to your political opposition – this day was bound to arrive.

Republicans have endured being called "mean" by their opposition for a long time. So effective has it been as a rhetorical weapon for Democrats, most of the GOP lives in constant fear of taking a vote on anything meaningful. The terms "moderate" and "reach across the aisle" were born out of some Republicans' need to say to voters and mainstream media, "See? I'm not like my party. I'm nice. I'm not mean."

But in the era of President Trump, they're not just mean – they're "hateful" and they're knowingly participating in pushing legislation that will "kill Americans." (See Sen. Corey Booker's May comments about the Republican health care bill for a refresher.)

Let's just consider this for a moment. If respected leaders in one political party speak with authority on television, the Senate floor, and to their constituents in private about their political opposition knowingly killing Americans if they get their way – can we honestly be shocked when a disturbed, deeply partisan man in Illinois decides he's going to have to take up arms against these monsters who want to kill his family?

It goes without saying you can't turn on cable news without thinking we're living through Watergate after just six months of a new presidency.  Not a shred of wrongdoing or illegality has been offered or proven.  Nevertheless, Democrats with their hopeful and willing mainstream news media pals are tossing "constitutional crisis, treasonous" Trump chum on the hour.

How about bloody, headless Trump? Trump as Julius Caesar?  Madonna thinking aloud of blowing up the White House? And of course, the countryside dotted with "Hate Has No Home Here" signs telling neighbors your Democrat-voting home is like some underground railroad of decency should anyone need shelter from the wicked forces that elected President Trump.

The American left has provided a legitimately unstable, partisan man - in his mind - totally legitimate reasons to grab a rifle and start picking off these Republican monsters.

Enough is enough. If you Democrats are serious about unity and toning down rhetoric, stop suggesting every Trump voter is as bad as you believe Trump is. You know who you are. You people who have stopped talking to your friends and family because of a vote. You people in churches who can't worship alongside KNOWN Trump voters. You people who hate the president so much, you need to display an ironic "Hate has no home here" sign in your yard. It should read, "I hate everyone who didn't vote as I did."

But that's too honest, I suppose.

Don't misunderstand; I'm 100% pro-free speech. Say, behave, believe, act any way you want as long as it's within the law. My career depends on the same First Amendment protections. But don't you dare assign some of the worst elements of the human condition to my vote or the man I voted for then lecture about unity and civility when one of your "hate has no home here" clan decides it's time to go Republican hunting with a rifle.

Hate has a home, all right. It's the Democrat Party. And at present, there are plenty of spare rooms for deranged, would-be assassins to lay their heads.

How's that for rhetoric?

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