Levine: Talk show field day

Levine: Talk show field day

July 26th, 2019 by Deborah Levine in Opinion Columns

From left, Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, Alexa­ndria Ocasi­o-Cor­tez, D-New York, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, during a news conference on Capitol Hill on July 15, 2019. The four progressive lawmakers leaned into their nickname, "the squad," to present a united front against President Donald Trump. (Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times)

Photo by ANNA MONEYMAKER

The latest thing in political discourse is a doozie. The liberal "Squad" has become the hate target of the week, revving up the president's recent campaign rally in Florida. Charges of racism are flying all over the place after the "send her back" chant. Thirteen seconds went by as the president stood back and took it all in while pushback was furious with much "racist" name-calling applied to Trump. He disavowed those chants the next day and claimed he'd immediately started to talk to silence the unruly crowd. Talk show hosts had a field day with that one. The Daily Show's Trevor Noah inserted a video of Olympic track star Usain Bolt winning a medal in the same time it took before Trump spoke.

Trump basked in the congratulations of a right-wing British commentator known for hateful anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic remarks. But I doubt anyone in the UK or the U.S. was surprised when Trump immediately turned around and ranted about the Squad's anti-Semitism and racism. Our political warming is producing unprecedented heat waves, stoked by increasingly divisive leadership.

Deborah Levine

Deborah Levine

Photo by C.B. Schmelter /Times Free Press.

It's been more of a cyclone than political spin as "Send her back" was replaced with "Love it or leave it." This latest chant supposedly circumvents the racism issue, but us '60's folks know full well that it targeted protesters for civil rights and against segregation. Yet the disavowal of the implied racism continues to be a popular talk-show feature even as we moved to a new level of accusation: un-American. Not quite ready to wage a culture war yet? No worries. Trump tweeted that the Squad doesn't even have the ability to love America. That should make our collective blood boil.

We've become a national talk show on steroids, frenetically throwing out every politically charged term in history. Is the tidal wave of accusations rational? More to the point, does anyone care? Attempts to make logical arguments, point out discrepancies, or call out lies apparently fall on deaf ears. Why would a nation that prides itself on being a beacon of reason be reduced to Gotcha Mode? The answer has nothing to do with reasoning and everything to do with power and control.

A psychiatrist friend likened the situation to an 8-year old in a group therapy session who'd say something he knew would get everyone all riled up. Then he'd sit back and enjoy the unleashed fury. His impulse to instigate chaos came from a deep, primitive place, triggered by fear of being overlooked and ignored. It didn't matter which side of an argument he took. The point was affirmation of personal power from the divisive rage generated. If emotions cooled down, he'd step in with something else outrageous. The room went wild with accusations and the Blame Game went beyond cruel.

Folks looking for civility and tolerance may be chasing their tails. Their goals are admirable, but our giant melting pot is over-heated and exploding. Until we all recognize the root cause of the chaos and our role as pawns, intolerance will only intensify. The temperature can be lowered with peace-making efforts, but they need to be intentional and constant. Expect that attempts to chill will be countered with super-charged tweets. Be inspired by those who resist being sucked into the maelstrom, even as rage becomes the new normal. True civility may not be achieved until, and if, instigators are sidelined. Even then, don't be too sure. This fiery talk show isn't going off the air anytime soon.

Contact Deborah Levine, an author, trainer/coach and editor of the American Diversity Report, at deborah@diversityreport.com.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com


Loading...