To see Alinskyites, radical intellectuals, and Woodstock yuppies lecturing fellow Americans on the virtue of civility is tiresome but unsurprising. No one is more authoritarian than a successful left-wing revolutionary: he rises to power by extolling dissent, then stays in power by suppressing it.
Were the Tea Partiers rabid left-wing professors instead of patriotic Americans, they would receive tenure and places of honor at high-brow luncheons. Were they veterans of UC Berkeley's Free Speech Movement, they would serve as nostalgic subjects for a Time retrospective. Were Tea Partiers "demonizing" the American government in the deepest sense -- teaching the young to view the Founding Fathers with patronizing contempt and the documents they wrote as reactionary relics to be replaced by a "living Constitution" -- they would have jobs in the Obama administration.
Barack Obama would have the public believe that placard-waving grandmothers sitting in lawn chairs pose a greater threat to the country than Bill Ayers. One would think a former Alinskyite like Obama who wrote a gushing blurb for a book by that domestic terrorist -- a book addressing the subject of educating the young, no less -- and sat placidly through the "God damn America" sermons of Jeremiah Wright might approach the topic of civility a little more gingerly. . .
Nothing is more perilous to public discourse than the "demonization" of government, Bill Clinton solemnly warns. But all he means by "government" is liberals in power, and all he means by "demonization" is resistance to the contempt that those liberals show for the constitutional authority underpinning just government. . .
Then as now, "civility" was nothing more than a euphemism for the docile acceptance of liberalism's advance and "incivility" was equated with effective resistance to it.
Once again blaming conservative talk radio for the Oklahoma City bombing, Bill Clinton says, "The words we use really do matter because there are, there's this vast echo chamber. And they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike." This is as fatuous as saying that 9/11 wouldn't have happened if America had spoken more nicely about the Taliban. Moreover, if "words" mattered as much as the self-appointed custodians of civility now claim, they wouldn't waste their time trying to purge Tea Partiers and talk show hosts from politics. They would spend it clearing out the Ward Churchills from their academic lounges and editorial luncheons.