MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, October 30th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, commentary from Cal Thomas. And a challenge to both sides of the political divide to temper the rhetoric.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Just in time for Halloween comes the strange tale of a former male stripper who drove a van adorned with Trump stickers, being charged with sending pipe bombs to some of the president’s most vocal critics.
Media reports describe the accused, Cesar Sayoc Jr., as a lost and “sick individual.” Estranged from his family, Sayoc eventually “found a father” in President Trump. He also hates his mother, according to Ronald Lowy, his Miami attorney.
Well, yes, you wouldn’t expect a stable individual who loves his mother to do what Sayoc is accused of doing.
Predictably, many of those targeted by the pipe bombs blame President Trump for inciting people like Sayoc to go beyond verbal attacks and engage in dangerous, unlawful behavior.
Some on the right claim left-wing rhetoric is mostly responsible for widening the political divide and polluting civil debate.
How about each side take responsibility for its own language and behavior?
People attending Trump rallies dislike big media, but their rants haven’t changed what conservatives believe is biased reporting. Why don’t some in the Trump crowd invite a reporter to lunch and calmly explain their feelings and political points of view?
On the left, why don’t some of those people confronting Republicans out for a quiet dinner with family and friends respectfully ask for an appointment to explain why they oppose conservative ideas and offer their own proposals for making America better? Whose mind is changed when their dinner is interrupted by people accusing them of treason?
As a conservative, I understand the anger felt by many on my side about the way our political positions, faith, and worldview are portrayed by the media and wider culture. But behaving as conservatives sometimes do only reinforces long-held stereotypes in the minds of secular progressives who think of us as uneducated Bible-thumpers, intolerant, judgmental, and a “basket of deplorables.”
While many in mainstream media deplore everything conservatives stand for, I think they secretly enjoy the conflict because it boosts ratings and sells newspapers. Conflict always attracts a larger audience than comity, but that is no excuse for contributing to the conflict.
Our anger at government and politicians solves nothing. The country is divided. It has always been that way. The focus should be not on winning a war of words. That is impossible so long as the name-calling continues. The focus should be on winning the battle of ideas and what works best in promoting the welfare of most Americans.
If that sounds naive in our polarized environment, what would you suggest? Clearly, what we are engaged in now isn’t working. As the late Glen Campbell sang, “Try a little kindness.” That’s better than behaving rudely in restaurants. And much better than sending bombs through the mail.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.