Growing Intolerance and Incivility in Today's America

Growing Intolerance and Incivility in Today's America

© David Burton 2018


     When we have restaurants which ask a White House press secretary to leave on grounds that she worked for an "inhumane and unethical" administration unpopular with its owner, we have reached the nadir of intolerance and incivility in America. And we certainly don’t need a presidential response of "The . . . Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve {a White House press secretary.}” (Ref. 1)

     The White House Press secretary responded more appropriately to the restaurant owner by writing:"Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so. [Emphasis mine]"
      - - -
     “Hecklers recently shouted "Shame!" at {the} Homeland Security Secretary . . . hastening her departure from a Mexican restaurant near the White House . . .
     “And {a} Trump adviser and immigration hard-liner . . . also was confronted at a restaurant last week and called a ‘fascist.’
     “Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., has urged the public to continue such public harassment. {See more on Water’s despicable words below}
     - - -
     " ‘Trump haters still haven't realized how much they help him with their condescension of those who either voted for him or don't share their hatred of him’ . . .’And how much they help him with their irrational hostility towards those who work for him.’ (Ref. 1)

     Following up on the unconscionable bad behavior of a pair of restaurant owners toward members of the Trump administration, Democratic U.S. Representative Maxine Waters “should spend less time encouraging voters to harass Trump Cabinet members in public places and more time working with her colleagues to create immigration laws that both parties can swallow.
     “Instead, the loudmouth Democrat from California is telling supporters to heckle people working for the president.
     “ ‘Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd,’ she said. ‘And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. . . .” (Ref. 2)

     It’s not that long ago when similar calls for discriminatory action were called for against Jews, the Irish, the Italians, Hispanics and Blacks. Here in America, action of this type was supposedly ended with the enacting and enforcement of antidiscrimination laws. Now, we have a liberal Black Congresswoman calling for the same vicious discriminatory behavior, but this time against anyone associated with someone she hates. For shame!

     Our American Liberals and Trump haters put out yard signs that say “Hate Has No Home Here,” yet these are some of the very same phonies who are practicing hate and discrimination themselves on a regular basis. Talk about hypocrisy!

     When Trump’s press secretary went to a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky, she was booted by its liberal owner for simply working for the Trump administration.

     “How is this type of hate and blatant discrimination any different from a pre-Civil Rights Act restaurant in rural America refusing service to black patrons? Or if a modern-day restaurant were to refuse to serve an openly gay couple?
     “It’s not. Discrimination is discrimination, whether that’s refusing service for one’s skin color, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or political affiliation.
     “It’s also an assault on the core pillars of a democracy {- a} political system that supports a plurality of political parties {from which} voters can choose . . . One that distinguishes America from one-party dictatorships under Communist regimes.
     “. . . Earlier in the week{, the} Homeland Security Secretary . . . was forced to cut her dinner short at a Mexican restaurant in Washington after verbally abusive protesters shouted “Shame!” until she left.
     “Talk about harassment — not to mention textbook political discrimination.
     "And days earlier, Trump’s key adviser on immigration . . . was accosted by someone at a different Mexican restaurant in D.C. who called him ‘a fascist’ . . . Also on Friday, {the} Florida Attorney General . . . was heckled by demonstrators during a Mr. Rogers documentary screening. The abuse was so bad that {the} known Trump supporter, had to be escorted out of the movie by police.
     “The hateful intolerance that liberals are practicing against fellow Americans who support our president is not only unacceptable and a violation of their constitutionally protected rights — it’s flat-out dangerous.
     “Who can forget the charity baseball game practice last summer {when someone} who hated Republicans nearly killed Louisiana U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise?
     “Is this the outcome liberals want? If not, they should stop fanning the flames of hate with provocative, intrusive actions that they may consider to be justified forms of protest or ‘resistance,’ but which depart radically from any norms of civil discourse and create a heightened danger of deadly political violence.
     “When Barack Obama was in office, Republicans who didn’t support his left-wing agenda didn’t boot his press secretaries from their restaurants. Nor did they verbally abuse and accost members of his administration over political differences. . . .
     “It’s high time liberals did the same and start practicing the tolerance they preach.
     “Before another American gets hurt.” (Ref. 3)

     The separation of children from their parents seeking asylum may seem inhumane to some, “but it is completely irresponsible . . . to spread lies that kids are in cages. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “It may feel good for these Democratic activists to throw government workers out, but eventually this will lead to violence and the blood will be on the hands of liberals.” (Ref. 2)

     “We should not encourage political newbies {like the two restaurant owners} to employ bullying tactics based on their anemic understanding of modern politics.
     “Likewise, we should not encourage the president to use the prestige of his office to denigrate a small business. . . .
     “Bad form.
     “We need a time-out in this country.” (Ref. 4)

     “Just when you think the relentless vilification of Donald Trump by his unhinged critics has reached the bottom of the ethical barrel, we’re dismayed by the realization they can reach a lot lower still.
     “Warmonger? Xenophobe? Misogynist? Predator? Ruthless?
     “Oh, he’s been called all of that and more, and now you can toss in heartless, as in oblivious to the gut-wrenching scenes of sobbing children who’ve been separated from their parents along our porous border with Mexico.
     “It’s a knowingly vile accusation, shamelessly distorting what’s really taking place down there [Emphasis mine], but we all know that’s the game Trump’s critics are playing: They’ll throw everything they can at our 45th president, then see what sticks.
     “But this is truly despicable.
     "An anguished child is painful to behold. We all know that. There’s nothing partisan about it.
     “Tears always flow when a kid’s world is turned upside down, whatever the reason.
     “Maybe Dad’s in uniform, heading off to war. Maybe he’s in handcuffs, heading off to prison. Maybe he’s holding a suitcase, having washed his hands of Mom.
     “Whatever the scenario, our hearts ache for kids caught up in painful situations over which they have no control.
     “We are not a country without compassion.
     “In New York Harbor, arrivals to our shores are greeted by this warmest of welcomes: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’
     “Our national motto, E Pluribus Unum, describes us perfectly: ‘Out of many, one.’
     “But since the earliest days of this republic we’ve also identified ourselves as ‘a nation of laws, not men.’
     “That’s not complicated, and there’s nothing hateful about it.
     “Immigration is an integral component of America’s history, but it’s always been an orderly process.
     “The world is not, and should not be, welcome to just barge through our doors, especially now with concerns over admitting criminal, subversive elements.
     “Only an agenda-driven demagogue would trash Trump for reaffirming there’s a traditional, accepted way of coming to America to breathe free air and pursue a dream. [Emphasis mine]
     {My father and all my grandparents came to America this way. My wife and her parents came to America in the same way – they entered as legal immigrants! In my wife’s case, she and her entire family had to take a detour through South America because our immigration laws wouldn’t allow them to enter directly from pre-World War II Europe.}
     “If you’ve never heard of Ellis Island, look it up. It’s a proud chapter of American history.
     “Those weeping kids whose plights weigh heavily on our hearts are, truth be told, offspring of parents who placed them in those situations by brazenly thumbing their noses at our laws.
     “That’s bad enough. But now those kids are also being exploited as political pawns by Trump critics who’d have you believe the president couldn’t care less about a traumatized child.
     “That’s inaccurate, indecent, and even by their shallow standards, it’s exceedingly vicious.” (Ref. 5)

     Recently, a television news crew reached out to see if they could do their news program from a café in Duluth, Minnesota. The program would be covering President Trump’s speech in Duluth. The restaurant owner agreed. “That is when the progressive thugs attacked.
     “The news program was ‘Fox & Friends,’ and the progressive mob had to punish {the restaurant owner}. Her family came under attack on social media. Organized mobs posted fake reviews of her cafe to rate it negatively. The store itself saw protests. All {the owner} did was allow a television news program to broadcast from her cafe. The anti-fascists and so-called democratic socialists are increasingly engaged in a sustained effort to harass those they disagree with while calling anyone who disagrees with them ‘Nazis.’
     “Federal law requires that children crossing the border between Mexico and the United States be placed in detainment facilities to be processed into foster programs. Though President Trump throttled up the program to separate parents from children, and reversed this policy . . . , Presidents Bush and Obama were already placing children in these camps. The law requires that the children, many of them actually arriving without parents, be interviewed to ensure they are not being abused or trafficked into the United States.
     “The American media, overwhelmingly sympathetic to progressive causes, ignored reports of awful abuse of these children during the Obama years. In fact, when reports trickled out of serious abuse, reporters pushed the stories until they realized it all happened in the Obama years. But the reports mobilized the progressive mobs even more. Irresponsible media coverage fueled their cause, which progressives increasingly wrapped in moral language. Trump, doing what Obama did, was somehow now a Nazi, though Obama was not, and Trump had to be stopped.
      - - -
     “This is a dangerous game the left is playing. During the Bush years, the left-wing mob showed up outside Karl Rove’s house to intimidate his family. Now, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who dared roll back Obama-era regulations, has seen the mob attack him and his family. Individual government employees are being harassed. Now, even private citizens and private businesses are being targeted. The left is no longer just trying to drive Christian bakers out of business. Anyone who disagrees with them may be a victim of the mob. As they justify each attack as a moral act, they will only continue." (Ref. 6)

     After the deadly shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, many people erroneously and instantaneously blamed those on the right for their violent rhetoric.

     “In the wake of that tragedy, President Barack Obama called for civility. ‘At a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do,’ Obama said a few days after the shooting, ‘it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.’
     “Those seem like happier, saner times now. When a man opened fire on a congressional baseball practice a year ago, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise became the first representative to be shot since Giffords. This time, there were fewer calls for civility, fewer warnings about how violent rhetoric was to blame.
     “One reason for the disparity was obvious. In 2011, the victim was a Democrat. In 2017, the victim was a Republican. The outcry was fainter even though the baseball shooter was clearly motivated by murderous partisan rage, whereas the Tucson shooter was motivated by voices in his head. . . .
       - - -
     "Partisan identity is now stronger and more meaningful for many Americans than race, ethnicity or religious denomination — and is viewed as a more legitimate justification for discrimination.
     “When liberals cheer the mob to harass government officials and are encouraged by hacks such as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, when businesses shun not just members of the Trump entourage but anyone who voted for him, when conservatives rationalize any wickedness . . . I don’t see something new so much as the revival of something very old.
     “It is the return of ‘No Irish Need Apply,’ but with Republicans or Democrats replacing the Irish. It’s the tribalism that split Protestants and Catholics, each believing the victory of the other would spell doom for their ways of life.
       - - -
     “Partisans are convinced that the answer to our woes lies in total victory over the other. This is disastrous, because the embrace of partisan identity exacerbates the problem, and because our government was never designed to fill the holes in our souls.” (Ref. 7)

     These days in America the concept of “reasoned discourse” appears to have disappeared from the American scene.

     “The president’s press secretary . . . was asked to leave a restaurant in Lexington, Va., where she was having dinner {simply} because . . . she works for Donald Trump.
     “{The} owner of the . . . restaurant, said she asked {the press secretary} to depart because ‘there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions.’ . . .
     “But what exactly are {these} ‘convictions’ . . . ? That you refuse to talk, associate, do business with anyone you disagree with? This is America? [Emphasis mine]
     “A few days before, {the} Secretary of Homeland Security . . . was harassed in a D.C. restaurant and then at her Northern Virginia home.
     “Longtime Congressional Black Caucus member Maxine Waters followed, calling for all out warfare on the Trump administration.
     “ ‘If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,’ Waters told a crowd in Los Angeles.
     “According to the vision statement of Waters’ Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: ‘We envision a world in which all communities have an equal voice in public policy through leadership cultivation, economic empowerment, and civic engagement.’
     “Another dose of liberal hypocrisy. [Emphasis mine]
      - - -
     “The worldviews of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, secular humanists and Christians, regarding what America is about, regarding what life is about, are so entirely different that all common ground seems lost and we appear to have arrived again to the ‘breakdown of reasoned discourse.’
     “Half the country is on one page and half on another. We can’t seem to talk to each other, let alone respect each other anymore.
      - - -
     “. . . the kind of civil discourse that is essential for a country like ours to function as intended is becoming increasingly impossible, and something will have to give.” (Ref. 8)

     What we are seeing here in the United States today is a growing intolerance to any point of view opposite to that which a person holds. This intolerance, along with the resultant incivility and outright resort to invective and hostility, is all too similar to the past behavior and actions in other countries – the Germany of Adolph Hitler in the early 1930’s being just one prime example!

     I’ve had it up to here with loud-mouthed entertainers who take advantage of captive audiences to put forth their personal messages of hate and bias. If I buy a ticket to see/hear an entertainer, I paid to be entertained – not to listen to that entertainer’s personal opinions, prejudices, or political/social agendas. The same goes for award ceremonies and the like, such as the Oscar Awards, the Emmy Awards or the Tony Awards. “Robert De Niro took the stage at Radio City Music Hall for the 72nd annual Tony Awards Sunday night, but CBS completely bleeped out his first words.
     " 'F--- Trump,' he said, referring to President Donald Trump.
     “De Niro threw his arms in the air defiantly as the crowd cheered and gave him a standing ovation.” (Ref. 9)

     Shame on Di Niro – but even more shame on the audience! They should have booed him off the stage and not applauded his temper tantrum! Enough is simply enough! You don’t reward a spoiled child for throwing a temper tantrum and the audience should have known better than to applaud Di Niro’s boorish behavior.

     Then we have the idiotic and washed-up actor Peter Fonda issuing a twisted Twitter call to "rip Barron Trump from his mother's arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles." (Ref. 10)

     Fonda also called for violence against the Secretary of Homeland Security and called the White House Press Secretary an unprintable vulgarity.

     In many democratic and liberal countries around the world, actions such as Fonda’s would be ample grounds for arrest and prosecution. Maybe it’s time for a similar response in this country. As a minimum, all decent Americans should respond to this kind of offensive behavior by boycotting Fonda’s latest movie and by censuring anyone else who makes similar threats or supports those threats! The privileges of free speech should only extend so far.

     When we have Robert De Niro screaming obscenities at the Tony Award ceremonies, Peter Fonda threatening a child with kidnapping and rape and restaurant owners blatantly discriminating against government officials because of party affiliation or support of an elected president, we know we have reached a new low in tolerance and civility. Conduct like this is certainly not a shining example of American ideals and behavior!

     And those opposed to President Trump and his policies are not the only ones guilty – President Donald Trump himself can easily be designated the Instigator-in-Chief of intolerance and incivility in America with his vituperative rhetoric and mindless tweeting!

     Today, we face the growth of partisan media that harkens back to a time when newspapers were the only media and used to be owned by political parties. Now, however, the American media has national reach through cable news and other outlets. The Internet allows us to retreat into our own political realities. Too often, now, the media - particularly social media - has become an incubator for extremism, where people who are like-minded can incite each other to still greater heights of fanaticism.

     The time has come when all Americans must get back to a policy of agreeing to disagree. Disagreeing with someone or someone’s position on a particular issue does not require vituperation, name-calling, and disrespect. If we disagree, we need to disagree respectfully. If we are opposed to an elected official, so be it. In America, we have the privilege of turning that elected official out of office in the next election. While one may not respect the person in office, we should still show respect for the office itself. Civility never goes out of date.

     Certainly, the Instigator-in-Chief, Donald Trump, shoulders a lot of the responsibility for the explosion of bitter narrow-mindedness among many Americans. His uncontrolled mouth and his flood of insulting twitters have fanned the flames of intolerance as no other president before him. But there is plenty of blame to spread around. Let’s not forget the bitterness produced by the “it’s my way or the highway” attitudes of former President Barack Obama and Democratic Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi - the bitter fight over Obamacare being the prime example of the consequence of their behavior. Contrast the abrasive performances of Obama and Trump with that of Ronald Reagan, who is known as the “Great Communicator”. Ronald Reagan had an uncanny ability to connect with his supporters, many blue-collar Democrats, and the American public without resorting to affrontery, insult or abrasive rudeness. His time in office was marked by tolerance and civiity. If only it would be so again!


  1. Trump attacks restaurant that ejected Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Jaclyn Cashman, The Washington Post,
    26 June 2018.
  2. Waters should quit the rhetoric and do her job, Jaclyn Cashman, Boston Herald, Page 4, 26 June 2018.
  3. Left must practice what they preach, Adriana Cohen, Boston Herald, Pages 2-3, 25 June 2018.
  4. Time for political time-out, Editorial, Boston Herald, Page 14, 26 June 2018.
  5. Trump haters exploit crying kids, ignore immigration law, Joe Fitzgerald, Boston Herald, Page 9, 25 June 2018.
  6. Left playing a dangerous game, racking up victims, Erick Erickson, Boston Herald, Page 11, 25 June 2018.
  7. Partisan Hatred destroys civility, Jonah Goldberg, Boston Herald, Page 13, 27 June 2018.
  8. ‘Reasoned discourse’ again breaks down, Star Parker, Boston Herald, Page 14, 28 June 2018.
  9. Robert De Niro said 'f--- Trump' at the Tony Awards and got a standing ovation, Rebecca Harrington,
    Business Insider, 10 June 2018.
  10. Peter Fonda tweets he wants to 'rip Barron Trump from his mother' and put him in a 'cage with pedophiles', Sasha Savitsky, Fox News, 20 June 2018.

  1 July 2018 {Article 327; Suggestions?_11}    
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