(HOST) Commentator Bill Seamans is concerned that the demonstration of civility at the State of the Union address may be in danger of becoming just an empty gesture at an isolated event.
(SEAMANS) The atmosphere of incivility created by the indiscriminate use of the word "hate" by toxic talk show hosts and the gun-sight targeting of political opponents has called up another word du jour – the word INEVITABLE. It was inevitable that a general tone or mood has been created that has virtually rationalized and even excused political violence and vulgarian discourse.
After President Obama’s eloquent call for we the people to talk to each other in – as he said – "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds" – the violent tone of the nationally syndicated hate radio programs has not changed. The public again is roused to exclaim: "Yes, something MUST be done!" but that angry reaction is overwhelmed by the noise of pundits concentrating on the Blame Game.
The toxic talk show hosts blame the news media for generating a violent atmosphere whereas the media reply that they merely are honestly reporting what Rush, Glenn, Sean and Mark, themselves, are saying. Meanwhile, the public fears that yet another hand gun attack is INEVITABLE – the only question is when and where?
All of the 2012 Presidential candidates will be grip-and-grinning through Vermont as will the Capitol Hill cohort riding bandwagons and coattails. It’s evident that the Tucson tragedy involving a member of Congress will impose an even greater load on our security forces protecting the flood of political campaigners. Their task detecting the mentally deranged potential assassin will be enormous – especially if the tone of the hate-mongers is not moderated. The public must demand a change as loudly as it complains.
I sometimes wonder whether the billion dollar hate talk show industry has become so big and so politically powerful that it can no longer be restrained without compromising its Constitutional right to express its most egregious opinions freely. Have the people on Main Street given up hope? Some optimists were reported in the Washington Post as hoping – and I quote – that "The evening’s newly civil tone of Obama’s State of the Union audience would extend to the daily rhythms on Capitol Hill."
We have been called upon to exercise what is said to be "strategic patience" when questioning why the Afghanistan war goes on and on and, as in Orwell’s "1984," it has become such a part of our daily lives that we don’t even talk about it. Is the loss of civility in our public dialogue also becoming such a part of our daily lives and culture that we, in effect, are giving up and accepting it as INEVITABLE?