Sunday, June 18, 2017

Specks and Logs

Whenever I hear friends pontificating about "hate", I always cringe a bit. I know it's not "us" that they're talking about. Hate is very easy to spot in those who disagree with us. The Bible affirms that when it asks, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

That plank whopped us over the head this week. But the same week in which I heard much talk among friends about the 2nd anniversary of the shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston and the 1st anniversary of the shootings at the Orlando nightclub, we were strangely silent in church today about the shootings on the ball field in Alexandria this week. And the scary thing about the shootings in Alexandria is that the shooter's profile seems so normal to us.

In today's NY Times, Ross Douthat makes that very observation ...

So Hodgkinson’s seeming normalcy, his angry but relatively mainstream Democratic views, might be a warning sign for the future of our politics. The turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s generated segregationist terrorism on the right and a revolutionary underground on the left, but it did not produce much partisan terrorism, violence inspired simply by fear and hatred of the opposition party. Now, though, we hate each other simply for being Democrats and Republicans more than ever — and violence inspired simply by the polarization of the major parties would be a unique and novel threat. 

The second thing to say is that a murderous attack on Republicans by an angry liberal should be an important reminder for our media-cultural establishment that societies can be pulled apart from the left as easily as from the right. Of course, network anchors and magazine editors and editorial boards know this on an intellectual level. But because our centrist elites are actually center-left there is a constant, involuntary tug toward emphasizing what’s wrong on the right-wing side of the spectrum and excusing what’s wrong on the other.

It's our responsibility to recognize hate within our own ranks. Otherwise, we're simply the pot calling the kettle black.

Full op-ed piece by Ross Douthat: