It appears that tragedies are going to be a regular part of 2016, and that means the political blame-game will be going into extra rounds. When something tragic happens, loving our neighbor is rarely our first instinct. That first inspirational tweet is all well and good, but we really just want to know why such an atrocity occurred and who is responsible. Lately, we’ve been asking who or what “incited” someone to act.
Since we haven’t developed the technology to read minds, looking at a person’s rhetoric is the next best option when it comes to determining motives. Incitement is defined by the dictionary as “to provoke and urge on.” It has become a powerful political weapon to smear opponents, especially for the left. Liberals concoct such headlines as this one found at the Huffington Post: “Do Words Kill? Is Political Rhetoric Inciting Christians to Violence?” (To answer the writer’s question: no, I don’t think Christian rhetoric incites violence, because Christianity does not teach violence. If it did, then I would hold Christians responsible.)
Recently, inciting bad conduct in others has become a dangerous tool of the left, and it exposes progressives’ double standards.
Perhaps the most recent and harshest example of this lies in the divisive language surrounding racial tensions and our nation’s police forces. Some representatives of the Black Lives Matter movement have, unfortunately, incited the violence behind the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings of police officers–no matter how much some news outlets have tried to argue otherwise.
There are legitimate concerns within the black community regarding law enforcement, and we need to listen to them. Before any of that can happen, though, everyone needs to take a deep breath and consider the implications of what they are going to say.
In an ironic twist, President Obama has also picked up on this trend, urging “those protesting the recent shootings of black men by police officers to avoid inflammatory words and actions, which he said would worsen tensions and set back their cause.”
Obama is right, but I would reply: “physician, heal thyself.” Whenever there has been a shooting of police, he continues to bring up the crimes of the statistically few bad police officers stoke the anger felt by many of the protesters. In the process, however, he also fails to mention the heightened crime rates of the community he feels is being targeted. It is almost as though he is incapable of finishing a speech without including a negative comment about police, indicating that justice must be served against them.
Outside of a funerary context, that definitely may be a topic for discussion. But that is outrageous rhetoric to use in the face of a tragedy.