Monday, May 30, 2016

Opuscula

Demonizing
Political foes:
Nothing new

 

I WAS COGITATING under the shower's hot water and it came to my mind that never have we demonized politicians as we are doing now.

The two politicians that came to mind are Donald Trump in the U.S. and Avigdor Lieberman in Israel. I am sure there are others, but these two make the headlines in the media I watch.

Then, once dry, I realized Solomon was right: there is nothing new under the sun, including demonizing politicians.

I am told that in America's early years politics was a vicious occupation. Not only were opponents slandered, libeled, and otherwise publicly abused, but duels were fought. The one most Americans remember - at least those who paid attention in History classes - was fought between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

Most abuse was limited to words - verbal and print.

An article titled Founding Fathers' dirty campaign describes the verbal battles between Thom. Jefferson and John Adams.

Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."

As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.

Perhaps worse that what happened in the U.S.' formative years was David Ben Gurion's order, passed from Yigal Allon to Yitzak Rabin to fire on Menachem Begin's ship, the Altalena in obvious hopes of murdering his political opponent. He did manage to murder 16 men on the ship, men bringing weapons who came to fight for Israel's independence. Ben Gurion was not satisfied that the weapons on board the vessel would be shared with Ben Gurion's troops; he wanted it all.

TODAY we have riots against Donald Trump by people who support illegal immigration but want to deny free speech to those with whom they disagree.

The previous time there was organized violent reaction to politics was at the Democratic Party convention in Chicago in 1968 when, according to CNN, violence between police and anti-Vietnam war protesters in the streets and parks of Chicago gave the city a black-eye from which it has yet to completely recover..

While I got myself into a lather (literally and figuratively) in the shower, a little research convinces me that while I think it is disgraceful how we are behaving regarding politicians with whom we disagree - and those who have the "chutzpah" to disagree with OUR opinions - there really is "nothing new under the sun." Only the names are changed.