Most people are familiar with the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Our political system has been engulfed in incendiary rhetoric, which has shown that even violent words can cause harm, even death, to others.
The most recent example is the California man who arrived last week at the Maryland residence of Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Police claim he had a gun with him, bullets and zip ties. He also claimed to be suicidal before calling 911.
He’s been charged with attempted murder.
Two years ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stood outside the Supreme Court and delivered these fiery words to a crowd of demonstrators opposed to the reversal of Roe v. Wade: “I want to tell you, [Justice Neil]Gorsuch; I have something to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have allowed the whirlwind to take over and you will be the one who pays the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
Schumer later said, “I shouldn’t have used the words I used.” Too late. The damage was already done.
While Republicans cannot claim purity when it comes to radical rhetoric, Democrats seem to use harsh words more often and then deny any responsibility for what comes next—from attempted and actual murder, to looting, property damage, and violent crime.
While many Democrats (and the two Republicans) on the House’s January 6 committee blame former President Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol riot, they are curiously unconcerned about the rhetoric of Schumer and others within their own party.
Here are some examples of incendiary language used by Democrats, as compiled by The Federalist.com.
In 2018, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California said on MSNBC that if Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller, there would be “widespread civil unrest” as people would “take to the streets.”
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper agreed that if Trump fired Mueller, it would “set off a firestorm not only on the Hill, but also in the streets.”
That same year, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., urged people to answer a “call to action” to protest at the Capitol. “Please, get up in the face of some congresspeople,” he said at a conference.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., called for protesters to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” should a Minnesota jury acquit former police Officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd. On another occasion, Waters said about Trump supporters: “You get out and create a crowd. You push them back. You tell them they are not welcomed anymore or anywhere.”
Hillary Clinton declared in 2018 that civility was only possible if Democrats controlled the legislative branch. “You can’t be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for and what you care for,” she said.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder quoted Michelle Obama and added his own thought: “Michelle … always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that, in politics, “when you’re in the arena, you have to be ready to take a punch, and you have to be ready to throw a punch … for the children.”
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., went even lower when he encouraged people to “punch Trump in the face.”
When rhetoric gets heated, perhaps the best way to be heard is to speak in a tone Scripture attributes to God—”a still, small voice.” As noted by the writer of Proverbs: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
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