Before the thread goes over to another discussion about guns in America, I'd just like to say that there is a problem with political discourse, in my opinion. It's become almost tribal and much of it appears to me to revolve around the use of selective facts at best and deliberate lies at worst. The truth gets lost in the spin and the misinformation.
With the rise of social media and the proliferation of the media in general there isn't enough factual news to fill the time available and sell the advertising, so the news is polluted with opinion pieces and we get to listen to the "news" that we choose to listen to.
The result appears to be that we each end up living in a bubble of our own making. Maybe it was always this way, at least to an extent - we would buy the newspaper that reflects our own worldview - but it seems to me that we had better balance when I was younger, with more sources that would challenge the version of the news that we received from any one source.
I'm now becoming aware that many people rely on Facebook and Twitter for their news - and both sources are unreliable, to say the least.
I have a Facebook account. I barely post on it (I set it up to see what my kids were up to when they were younger, if I'm honest!) but I do look at it to keep up with what people are doing and to see any messages I have been sent. In the latest election, it struck me that I saw very few dissenting voices in my "news feed". It was dominated by one political point of view which likely reflected the type of people I "friended". I suspect this is true of most people, and it isn't good if we want a balanced view of the world and don't look elsewhere for that balance.
We can also find ourselves thinking in a certain way about the world because we see things repeated and because memes can be powerful. But are they true?
Let's take the "political hate" and violence thing, as that is what this thread is about.
I believe that there are people at each end of the political spectrum who are violent. There are also people who are violent and/or disturbed, irrespective of their political leanings. They have always been with us and they could be stimulated into violence by the hyperbole and nonsense around the political discourse. However, the vast majority of people are NOT violent, even when they attend political protests. A protest can attract the violent and any violence will attract the media's attention, but I believe that most protesters are peaceful, from all sides.
Is the rhetoric from the left violent and hateful? Well, yes, some of it is - and this isn't new. It comes from all sides of the spectrum, left and right.
Yes, there was a version of Caesar put on in Central Park that had Caesar played by a Trump lookalike and that has caused some outrage. It is perhaps interesting to note that this isn't the first time the play has been staged using modern political figures - there was a version while Obama was President with an Obama lookalike and there has even been a version with a female lead, based on Hillary Clinton. It's a way of bringing the play into modern times and make us think about the story in a fresh way. However, as Cicero says in Act 1 Scene 3 "Indeed it is a strange-disposed time; but men may construe things after their fashion, clean from the purpose of the things themselves".
What about Kathy Griffin and the severed head? It was poorly judged and wrong, of course.
Is this type of stuff new? Well, let's see ... here are just a couple of examples ...
It's not OK when either "side" does it.
Has it always been this way and we are only now seeing it on a daily basis because it can be posted up so easily? Maybe. Does that encourage it to escalate so we see more of this kind of stuff? Maybe.
Either way, it isn't OK.
But we live in bubbles. Barneyboy says he didn't see anyone on the left condemning the shooting. All I saw was condemnations.
Was Scalise the first person to be shot? Well, it brought to mind Gabrielle Giffords back in 2011 who was also shot by a deluded individual. There was some talk at the time that a Sarah Palinl ad could have inspired it - which was nonsense. Linking things that happen around the same time is something people do, but that doesn't mean there is any causal link.
So, what's my point? I go back to the start - that there is a problem with political discourse (and with the increasing polarisation of society as we sink into our bubbles). I don't think it is about one side or the other and the vast majority of people are peaceful - but we all need to pay more attention to how we discuss our disagreements and we need to take far greater responsibility to question the memes and spin that surrounds us on a daily basis - to question what we are told and to make ourselves better informed.