They can go ahead and stop lecturing us on civility now.

21 Jun 2011 09:02 pm
Posted by: Donna

Y’all know I’m not the kind of blogger who engages in faux indignation over lapses in decorum by politicians and activists. I’ve found the past few months of hand wringing over “tone” and “name-calling” to be grating at best and missing the point completely at worst. Public figures like politicians and high profile abortion providers aren’t shot because people are calling them stupid doodyheads. They become the targets of violence after months and years of intensive hate-filled eliminationist invective.

Eliminationism is the belief that one’s political opponents are “a cancer on the body politic that must be excised — either by separation from the public at large, through censorship or by outright extermination — in order to protect the purity of the nation”

Recently some emails between Tea Party and Republican district leaders in the Phoenix area landed in the hands of Mayor candidate Greg Stanton’s team (emphasis mine).

Jeni White, Chair of the LD 20 Republican Committee, sent out this e-mail on June 16:

Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2011 17:04:38 -0700
From: townhall@principlesinaction.com
To: bill.baxter@freescale.com; lemonsplash1@gmail.com; wwharris@msn.com
Subject: Action Opportunity: Greg Stanton’s scheduled appearances

As I’m sure you’ve heard, multiple Republicans in the race notwithstanding, Greg Stanton is the candidate to beat for Phoenix mayor. He’s a liberal Democrat, he’s Union-owned, and he’s the frontrunner. Below are a link to his schedule of events and a list of the next few that don’t charge at the door. If anyone you know is interested in showing up and asking him some real questions, maybe even shooting a little footage where possible… it looks like he’s going to be a very busy boy this Saturday. Please pass this along if you’re so inclined — preferably without my contact information on top since the subject is him, not me.

What kind of candidate is Greg Stanton?

– Endorsed by police union.
– Endorsed by LGBT special interest group.
– Proudly says he would have voted for the food tax.
– Waves away criminal charges when the perpetrator is connected enough.
– Protested SB1070 in the parking lot of the Heard Museum last year.
– Tagged by the DLC in 2003 as one of the country’s 100 “Rising New Democrat Stars”.
The next day, Wes Harris, chairman of the North Phoenix Tea Party, responds with this e-mail:
From: WES HARRIS
Date: Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 9:02 AM
Subject: FW: Action Opportunity: Greg Stanton’s scheduled appearances
To: WES HARRIS
Cc: Jennifer Wright , Wes Gullett

Hi,

Here is the schedule of the real enemy of the citizens of Phoenix…Greg Stanton. If you can show up at any of these events to respectfully ask the appropriate questions, please do. Jenni is right on…he is a front runner and must be forced to voice his true stand on the issues which have been revealed by his past actions. Remember, he left his City Council elected seat to take a high paying job with the then Democrat Attorney General Terry Goddard. He is a liberal professional politician and nothing more…interested in advancing his career and not us. I would recommend Saturday June 25th as the event we should attend.

Wes

Wesley W. Harris
wwharris@msn.com;
http://www.originalnorthphoenixteaparty.ning.com;
Go to http://www.wethepeopleaz.com; and sign up to be informed.
visit our blog: http://www.harristimes2011.blogspot.com

I don’t believe that calling Stanton an “enemy of the citizens of Phoenix” in an email exchange not meant for public consumption rises to the level of hateful eliminationist rhetoric, per se. The statement is directed at Stanton individually and not an entire group of people, such as his supporters. Still, describing Stanton as an “enemy” of Phoenix coupled with the call by Tea Party Republicans for opponents to show up at a campaign event en masse where he and his supporters will be seems a tad aggressive. And uncivil.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by Neil on June 22, 2011 9:02 am

    Donna, I’m let down. You had me sitting up in my seat expecting to see something really significant – especially with the set-up about abortion doctors getting shot….but this amounts to a false alarm.

    Yeah, I think labeling any mayoral candidate as an “enemy” is over the top. Both sides use this kind of silly hyperbole, it’s all over facebook and it doesn’t surprise me to see some activist use it in an e-mail.

    Keep in mind that the top Democrat, Barack Obama, told supporters: “Argue with neighbors, get in their face.”

    Nice.

  2. Comment by Donna on June 22, 2011 2:23 pm

    Neil, I did make it clear that I don’t think the statement in the email rises to hateful violent rhetoric against a person or group. Still, it’s irresponsible to be calling a politician an “enemy” while encouraging opponents to show up at his campaign events.

  3. Comment by dude on June 22, 2011 10:43 pm

    Here’s something not civil, that some people might not like hearing, and that may be used as proof that “both sides” are equally right and wrong, and equally responsible for the tone of our debate:

    Wes Harris owns a company called Harris Gunworks. He directly benefits from keeping teabaggers terrified that THEY’RE GOING TO TAKE OUR GUNZ!!!! er I mean, our freedoms.

    So calling a neighbor of his an enemy of the state is good business for Wes.

    But I doubt the Arizona Republic would print that. There’s only so much room for politics in a newspaper, and Montini needs the space to whine about how uncivil Democrats are for not being Republicans.

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