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Violence, hypocrisy and clichés: The Democratic party in 2017


Looking back on last year, the buzzwords which Democrats chose to describe Republicans seem quite polite in the hindsight of 2017.  “Misogynist, racist, and deplorable” have now given way to the less diplomatic “fascist, Nazi and KKK,” as millions on the left now live in fear that their church lady neighbor may be “#literallyHitler.

It is a strange and divisive new world we live in, and one that is only made more complicated by the fact that most of what seems to be Trump’s most controversial positions were just recently part of a moderate Democratic party platform.  

{mosads}Over the last decade, for example, building a border wall has gone from the rational stance of both Obama and Clinton to the Nazi dictum of the GOP.

In 2006, then-Senator Obama said in support of the Secure Fence Act:

“But those who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of the immigration laws.”

Yet nearly 10 years later to the day, with the unapologetic proposal of Donald Trump’s wall looming, Obama’s mocking advice to America was “Good luck with that!” and called the plan “half-baked.”

Other Democrats who voted in favor of the Fence Act now questioned the morality of Trump implementing it, including Senator Ron Wyden, who called it “divisive” and “polarizing.”

In the House, one Texas Democrat called it a “racist reaction to a racist myth,” another bluntly wrote a letter telling Trump to “take your border wall shove it up your ass.”

These are not quite the same bipartisan cheers that were heard when Congress passed the bill, nor a decade before that when President Clinton spoke in the strongest terms about securing the border in his 1995 State of the Union address.

The Democratic Party is changing; there is no question about that.  But the most significant shifts might be their collective amnesia about the party’s recent past, and their zombie-like belief that all of the president’s actions are somehow trumpeting the Apocalypse.

If you listen to Democratic politicians and gay-rights activists, Donald Trump is the most anti-LGBT president in our nation’s history.  The fact that elected officials and advocacy groups are huddling to protect their rights is unsurprising when you realize that mainstream liberal news sites are publishing op-eds on Trump’s soon-to-be built death camps for gays … seriously.

Trumps position has evolved on gay marriage.  That part is clear.  

It should also be understandable to Republicans that many individuals could have rational concerns about LGBT issues in a 5-4 conservative court.  But the vitriol and harsh rhetoric to which the left saves for Trump is somewhat hypocritical given two facts.

The first is that he has positioned himself as the most pro-LGBT candidate in the Republican Party’s history, even going as far as bucking the GOP on the controversial “bathroom bills.” The second is that many of the most prominent champions of the Democratic Party have also similarly evolved in their positions on the issue.

Barack Obama spent the first twelve years of his public life citing his Christian faith as justification for his non-support of same-sex marriage, and ran for president as a declaredly traditional marriage candidate.

Similarly, Hillary Clinton was publicly against gay marriage for at least a decade before flipping in 2013, potentially just to appease future primary voters.   

Yes, there was disappointment among Democrats in the positions these leaders took. Clinton was even spoofed by SNL for it. But where were the rallies, name-calling, and venomous hatred?  Where was the fear of death camps?

The answer is that partisanship blinded their displeasure, just as it continues to with respect to Trump’s travel and immigration ban.  It’s okay to be opposed ideologically, but it is very much duplicitous when no similar outrage emanated from the same crowds when Obama implemented a similar refugee pause, or when 90 percent of his drone strikes resulted in civilian deaths in many of the same countries now banned.

Even when President Obama earned the distinction of deporting more immigrants than any other president before him, many Democrats may have been angry, but he was never attacked with the same jackboot and brownshirt descriptors that have been become mainstream in popular left-leaning publications.

This rhetoric has no sign of ending, and Americans may want to settle in to at least four years of this new brand of liberal protest and pandemonium.  

Media, politicians, pundits and the public all most reject this form of political discourse, both for its outrageously incendiary and insulting false equivalence, and for its hypocritical application to people with broadly similar positions.  

Sure, Donald Trump is not the first president to be compared to Hitler, but the mainstream calls for violence, the growing number of riots, and the justification of assault in defiance of this new “fascist” regime and its supporters is simply absurd, without precedent, and downright dangerous.

Joseph Borelli is a New York City council member, Republican commentator, professor and Lindsay Fellow at the City University of New York’s Institute for State and Local Governance. He has been published in the NY Daily News and appears on CNN, Fox News, and BBC. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeBorelliNYC

The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of CUNY ISLG.

The views of contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Ron Wyden

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