Racist Terrorist Violence Is Not the Same Thing as 'Incivility'

Tue, 2018-10-30

VICE | Harry Cheadle

Don't compare white nationalism to everyday partisanship.

The horrific mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday, hours after a man was arrested for sending pipe bombs to people and institutions denounced by Donald Trump, has prompted politicians and pundits of all stripes to embrace the sacred virtue of "civility."

The chairs of the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees called for more bipartisanship and cooperation, with Ohio Republican Steve Stivers saying "we all bear some responsibility" for the state of the country's overheated rhetoric. Trump himself denounced "political violence" and "the politics of personal destruction" at a rally before complaining about unfair media coverage. USA Today quoted the executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse saying, "Our civil discourse is so off track that it is becoming a national security threat.” Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on ABC that "the attack yesterday and the attempted pipe bombings over the course of last week should be a wake-up call for all Americans to demand change," and those demands should include "a more civil discourse, and a more civil environment generally." White House adviser (and frequent cable news opinion-haver) Kellyanne Conway took the opportunity to denounce "anti-religiosity" among late-night comedians in particular.