Last week was Thanksgiving. A friend of mine has a 15-year-old tradition of spending turkey day at his sister-in-law’s. Not this year. The sister-in-law is a Hillary supporter. When she discovered that my friend’s wife—her sister—voted for Trump, sister-in-law cancelled Thanksgiving. The same thing happened with another friend’s niece and nephew. My friend invited both of them to his house for turkey. Niece declined because her brother voted for Trump and she could not stand to be in his presence. Two of my oldest friends have closed the Thanksgiving door on me because they are offended that I am a Trump supporter.
For the first time in my experience, something really vile is happening to our political discourse. Family is pitted against family. Friend against friend. We are witnessing a vicious intolerance by the left of any and all conservative opinions. If you supported Clinton, your conservative friends are willing to let it go. But if you supported Trump, you are vilified in the most caustic way. Many liberals agree with actor Robert DeNiro’s malicious and juvenile accusation against Trump and his supporters. In case you didn’t hear about it, DeNiro called Trump “racist, dog, mutt, bozo, and pig,” and that was just for starters. What a charming vocabulary he learned at the Actors Studio. The star of Raging Bull is so angry that he wants to punch Trump in the face. Oh, you didn’t know that every liberal is entitled to a temper tantrum? It is a fringe benefit that goes with membership in the Democratic Party.
Don’t you find that frightening? I do. In 1996, Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole with 49 percent of the popular vote and 379 electoral votes. If you supported Dole, Clinton backers would still talk to you. Not anymore. The simple fact that you are conservative is enough to turn your liberal friends and family against you. It all began with Obama. In 2007, when many acquaintances learned that I was not voting for their hero, they called me a racist. They didn’t care about my reasons. To them, no reason was good enough to justify my decision. One of my closest friends told me that I was stupid and has never talked to me again. For the past several months, my Facebook feed has been crawling with nasty, abusive statements charging that all Trump supporters are racists. Conservatives, by and large, don’t behave like that.
What accounts for this intolerant behavior by liberals? Throughout history, some human beings have used their religious beliefs to brutalize non-believers. The same Stone Age approach to conflict resolution that drives Islamic suicide bombers has wormed itself into the liberal playbook. Progressive liberals behave as though their ideology has been handed down from the mountaintop. Progressivism has morphed into our newest religion. No longer regarded as merely a political contest, elections now represent a duel between good and evil.
Charles Krauthammer said, “Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”
You can tolerate stupidity but you can’t countenance the devil. When one half of the population perceives the other half as evil, we are in big trouble. When a belief system is enshrined in a religion, it cannot tolerate criticism. In conformity with this new religion, a Hillary Clinton victory might have placed us closer to a political inquisition in which conservatives would be given the chance to confess and recant. In that scenario, unrepentant conservatives would be deported and replaced by Middle Eastern radicals. Is that so far-fetched? I don’t think so. Not when millions of our friends are adopting a holier-than-thou attitude about how to run the country.
Ed Brodow is a negotiation expert, political commentator, and author of In Lies We Trust: How Politicians and the Media Are Deceiving the American Public.
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