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Swamp People: Ease Up On The Extreme Rhetoric

by Jeff Powers, published

Video Credit: New York Times

Today’s horrific events in Washington D.C., crystalize just how sick the swamp has become.

The divisive rhetoric from our media, both social and over-the-air is infiltrating other areas of society. A comedian beheads the president, an off-broadway play depicts a scene where he is fatally stabbed. Violence begets more violence.

And the President isn’t helping matters either. His use of twitter, poking fun at the media and members of congress, only serves as sandpaper on an open wound.


The political divide in this country is enormous and becoming more and more dangerous.

The hope is this heinous act will be the catalyst for change. That more moderate voices will emerge on the cable news circuit.

The best tracking indicator of this might not be in party affiliation, but rather in our ages. Recent polls conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal point to this:


When asked if respondents approve of the President:

When asked how they feel about the Travel Ban:

This also likely gives a window into why the press is so left leaning.  The 18-34 demographic is the most coveted in the ratings game. So, as noted in a recent Harvard study, 93% of the coverage of the president is to the left and negative.

Maybe coincidentally, we have already seen a congressional retreat from the media. Just this week, Senate Republicans told reporters they would no longer be allowed to film or record audio of interviews in the Senate side hallways of the Capitol without special permission.

Yes it’s true, a Bernie Sanders supporter was the perpetrator of this heinous act, and we have seen Sanders supporters’ distance themselves from the assailant, adding not to paint all of them with this horrific brush. But that opens the door for a two-way conversation that Sanders supporters will have to accept.

Don’t paint all Trump supporters with that broad brush.

And don’t suggest all Clinton supporters are out to get your candidate.

As for the impact of the shooting. It took place just two blocks from where former Congressional Chief of Staff Steven Moore lived. Today Moore wrote an eloquent thought on the events of the day:

“The Congressional shooting took place about two blocks from where I once lived in Virginia. I was a member of the YMCA next to the baseball diamond. I know most of the people who were practicing there this morning. I have a lot of thoughts on this.

Still processing.

It could have been so much worse had Majority Whip Scalise's security detail not been there. Rank and file members of Congress don't have Capitol police assigned to them, so it is a blessing that a member of leadership plays baseball.

I find it painful that the over-the-top rhetoric that characterized the last campaign and the last six months has continued to escalate. This seems to be the logical next step of demonizing people with whom you disagree, and the result of an environment where people make money off of driving that demonization.

Some of the reactions I see to the violence are startling. If your reaction is anything other than sympathy for the victims and their families, you might want to stop and reconsider your relationship with politics. You may be part of the problem.

Today is clearly a turning point. I am hopeful that this will be a wake up call for a return to civility, rather than an event that emboldens the radical elements in society and further drives us apart.”

Steven Moore

Former Congressional Chief of Staff to Peter Roskam

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