The politics of civility

Hours after her swearing-in as the new representative of Michigan’s 13th congressional district, Rashida Tlaib said the following to a crowd at a MoveOn event:

And when you’re son looks at you and says ‘mama, look you won, bullies don’t win.’ And I say ‘baby, they don’t’ because we’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherfucker.”

No sooner had these remarks gone viral that the Beltway pundit class’ brains oozed into their smoothies. “Morning” Joe tut-tutted her. His guest Donny Deutsch, co-writer of Often Wrong, Never in Doubt: Unleash the Business Rebel Within, turned into Ms. Gonzalez in the fifth grade announcing Tlaib had earned a C+ in conduct. FOX News has fresh meat for its white carnivores: a Muslim woman who wore a thobe to the ceremony and took her oath with hand on Thomas Jefferson’s Koran had sullied herself.

News cycles crave these stories. As Donald Trump’s prospects dim, the hypocrisy loop will turn ever faster. Excommunicated conservatives may assemble words that turn into sentences about the GOP forever relinquishing its moral authority after bowing to Trump for the sake of judicial nominations, but everyone else on the right want nothing more than to pull Democrats into the mud with them.

And I say it’s about time. In A Fish Called Wanda, Kevin Kline’s moronic psychopath couldn’t quash his contempt for what he considered the effeminacy of the English. “I didn’t think they liked women from the way they talk,” he observes. To support his point, the script includes a moment late in the picture between Kline and a young Stephen Fry in which the latter’s only to happy to be relieved of his passport. Courtesy works when all parties agree on its effectiveness; otherwise, our enemies will bop us on the head even after we’ve willingly surrendered our passports.

In the last fifteen years, the vice president has told a senator to go fuck himself. A representative yelled, “You lie!” during a State of the Union. The president has admitted to sexual assault on a tape. Calling this same president a motherfucker at a progressive event will lose her no visible support, changes not a comma of the mountain of evidence accumulating against him, and, despite the Joes and the Deutschs, will cause no one in her district to say, “That’s it, these Dems are as crazy as the GOP.” Finally, a difference exists between talking about impeachment and impeachment.

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