This opinion piece from the New York Times writer, Michelle Goldberg, is quite brilliant (I also recommend, if you can, looking at the readers' comments). It spells out the factors and issues at stake surrounding the refusal of a small restaurant in Virginia to serve White House Press Secretary - and inveterate liar - the self-proclaimed "Very Christian" - Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. Goldberg puts it down, not to a breakdown in civility, but a breakdown in democracy itself.
She points out the inherent asymmetry of the right-left "war" in the US. The right have all the guns, do all the talking and fantasising about killing, shooting, scalping and destroying liberals. They are the obnoxious bigots, the bully-boys who threaten and insult. She reckons that the left show none of these serious pathological traits. No one on the left is urging their followers to beat-up opposing demonstrators - as they are on the right. The right ignores reason and spews bigotry, prejudice, falsehoods and hatred while liberals want to argue, convince and compromise when necessary.
The right takes what it can and gives nothing. And this has been so apparent since G.W.Bush stole the 2000 election. Even though his victory at the ballot box was a forgery (aided by a partisan Supreme Court decision) his regime came into power (driven mostly by the Darth Vader role played by Dick Cheney) in a wholly uncompromising way. From Day 1 there was no respect shown for the aims and desires of the slighted Democrat voter, no attempt to build consensus or compromise. Obama did try to reverse this when his turn came but, by the time he got into power, it was a complete waste of time. Every time he held out the hand of compromise - or kindness - the Republicans and Christian conservatives bit it - and worse, the scum that comprise the far-right - the Breitbarts and Alt-Right - (and in The Netherlands, Geen Stijl) simply went to war to radicalise the right and demonise (often quite literally) Obama and liberalism and everything he tried to do. (see also the States of Mind feature link to the abuse of Obama on US TV).
Democracy is broken when there is no shared middle, no centre to create the glue and ballast that nurture and protect the soft values of fraternity, compromise and respect for the other. Reason has no role left to play. The right wing authoritarian (RWA) mindset is prevalent in much of America and the fact is, it's no more amenable to, or suitable for, democratic thinking than is radical Islam. These are the racist and paranoid people who kill abortion doctors, refuse to serve gay couples, who think Obama was a Muslim, adore guns and the transparently hysterical fakery of televangelist preachers. It used to be that they couldn't spot a fake if they tried. Now, they couldn't care less since fakery is what put them into, and can keep them, in power. They are, to use an old Anglo Saxon term, absolute fuckers. And Europe's next in line for a taste of this.
Goldberg argues that, "Liberals are reverting to cultural power against the right because it's the only power they have left." I'm not so sure. But there's no denying that electoral districts are being rigged and gerrymandered in favour of the right. The counting and voting mechanisms used by (privatised) voting machines are not transparent; the electoral register is subject to abuse and many Republican politicians are refusing to meet with their concerned liberal electorate. The article concludes that "there’s an abusive sort of victim blaming in demanding that progressives single-handedly uphold civility, lest the right become even more uncivil in response." We should never be inhibited. We cannot compromise on democratic values.. and showing them the door is one way of doing that.
We can always try to be civil when we ask them to leave......
Would you like to be seated beside someone who justifies the caging the children by quoting the Bible?