A politically motivated assassination attempt on GOP lawmakers Wednesday morning has media and political circles questioning whether the state of our nation's political discourse is to blame.
There are arguments for and against this idea.
Some have staked out the position that, yes, Wednesday's alleged shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, 66, was motivated by ugly political rhetoric. This side also largely believes that more must be done to rein in how we talk about our nation's leaders.
The other side of civility debate, the one this author falls on, is that of free speech absolutism, which holds that the shooter and the shooter alone is accountable for his actions. No amount of wild-eyed anti-Republican rhetoric should be held responsible for what he did.
(Underlying both of these arguments is the premise that modern-day political discourse is, in fact, uniquely ugly. History disagrees, but that's another article for another day.)
What's frustrating is that it's all too common during these otherwise interesting and probably necessary debates that activists see an opportunity to further their pet causes.
Take, for example, this ridiculous contribution to the civility debate from faithful Hillary Clinton acolyte Peter Daou:
"Let's cut through the platitudes: Anyone who participated in the unjust vilification of Hillary Clinton helped toxify our discourse," he said this week on social media.
What – sure. Okay. The rhetoric that supposedly inspired Wednesday's attack, which left Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and lobbyist Matt Mika in critical condition, can be traced back to media and politicos being tough on Clinton.
Those who (rightly) criticized the former secretary of state for being cagey, secretive and condescending are basically responsible for Scalise's getting shot. Or something.
Believe it or not — and this may come as a shock to members of Hillaryland — but not everything is about Clinton.
We've done it. We've found the silliest reaction to Wednesday mass shooting event. You can go home now.