By David Bozeman — According to syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, no, not directly, but Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, etc. polluted the rhetorical waters in which Henry Hamilton swam.
Hamilton, 64, of Key West, FL, was found dead two days after the election with empty prescription bottles by his side, one for an anti-anxiety medication and the other for a drug to treat schizophrenia. The tanning salon owner had reportedly been stressed about his business and, according to a witness, remarked that if Obama were re-elected, “I’m not going to be around.” Supposedly written on his will was “[expletive] Obama.”
Aside from the heart-wrenching tragedy of any suicide, one is left to wonder why this story didn’t make a greater impact nationally. Apparently the media was too busy gloating to indulge in their favorite dessert: rich, decadent liberal outrage. Still, Pitts took up any slack, blaming the aforementioned, along with Cal Thomas, Ted Nugent and Donald Trump for nudging Hamilton over the edge with their “nonstop litany of half-truths, untruths and fear-mongering.” According to Pitts, they are zealots who believe the “garbage” they say.
Just countering Pitts’ drama-queen hysterics continues the overheated cycle — we’re not likely changing many minds here, rather we’re continuing the tit-for-tat, surface-level narrative that makes rational, informed discourse all but impossible. But at the same time, we on the right must not surrender our passions in the name of “civility” or forgo the truth for the sake of “changing the tone.” Rule of thumb: whenever anyone complains about the negative tone in politics, they usually mean that conservatives are exercising their First Amendment rights again.
Of course, it will never dawn on anyone that the anti-business, you-didn’t-build-that rhetoric of this administration might drive someone to despair. Oh, no, couldn’t happen. Someone who has never held a single day of elective office must bear the blame before the president or America’s reigning party that actually enacts policy.
To those who claim that conservatives are overreacting to the election and need to get over it, consider the vow of Barack Obama (yes, the same Obama who was nurtured by the soothing, dispassionate oratory of Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright) to fundamentally “transform” the United States of America. That’s his word, not Rush Limbaugh’s, not Sean Hannity’s.
Would I be contributing to the national suicide rate if I asked if maybe Obama wasn’t over-reaching just a little? Even if you write that one-off as standard pre-election hype, consider ads that ran in swing states claiming “Mitt Romney: Not one of us.” Nice. Just a sample of the unifying, civil dialogue emanating from the left.
Not one of us. What is he, a Martian?
Instead of countering the supposed half-truths and untruths of prominent conservatives, Pitts avoids the heavy-lifting and just writes them off as bad people. According to PItts, we on the right think our fellow Americans are “idiots.” No, we don’t, and that is the very point of conservatism. We consider our fellow citizens far better equipped to handle their own affairs than Washington bureaucrats far removed from their day-to-day lives, which is why we find the election outcome so disappointing.
Conservatives tend to view their fellow citizens individually, while liberals see them collectively. The death of Henry Hamilton, by all accounts a productive member of society and a fellow human being, elicits sadness, regardless of party affiliation or choice of political commentary. The fact that this American citizen died an apparently troubled man makes his passing all the more poignant. Period. He was one of us.
David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.