The outrage dance is a prominent feature of American society these days, played out daily on social media.

First, comes the ugly statement or action. Sometimes, the statement can be truly horrific, worthy of condemnation and even a loss of career or reputation. Other times, the offense comes after a poor choice of words or a lapse of judgment.

This week’s New Mexico outrage — and yes, this one truly is offensive — came courtesy of a Republican county commissioner out of Otero County.

Couy Griffin is caught on video saying, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” Loud applause follows. That’s the short version. A longer video from the same rally makes clear Griffin is speaking about political death, not actual lives lost.

The good county commissioner — founder of Cowboys for Trump — does not truly want to see all Democrats die. But he has demonstrated a willingness to make outrageous statements to fire up the crowd, knowing that what he said will be shared broadly.

And when that happens, he also should know that unhinged people could be listening. Those folks, with easy access to guns, have been known to threaten and, yes, take their weapons up against political foes. As they do so, these violent individuals often repeat loaded language from political leaders who sanctimoniously say they never, ever meant anyone to take their words for gospel.

For bonus points, Griffin and others who seek to outrage can use the uproar to criticize the media — it’s always the media’s fault — for getting the story wrong. The video was edited! His words were taken out of context! That’s not what he meant! More outrage, with the original statement buried, as intended.

The state Republican Party, busy with lawsuits against public health orders that have saved thousands of lives, finally issued a lukewarm statement Wednesday, without naming Griffin. It said simply that “for the record any statements, whether in jest or serious about harming another individual are just plain wrong.” Hardly sufficient.

Contrast that to this strong statement from Young Republicans Chairwoman Rebekah Stevens: “We value the personal and political worth of all New Mexicans, and to make such an outrageous statement is contrary to the pro-life Republican Party platform. Couy’s statements set a dangerous precedent for political discourse in New Mexico.”

Yes, they do.

Republicans, Democrats, independents, the nonpolitical: All who have opinions about everything from who is the best president in the history of the United States to how to restore the American economy must do better.

These are trying times, hard on body and soul. A pandemic that destroys both lives and people’s livelihoods is fraught with potential for disagreement. We have seen the sorry spectacle of open-up-the-country protesters marching with loaded guns and carrying signs that compare stay-at-home orders to slavery. The divide in our nation grows deeper and uglier.

First, we must confront ugliness when we see it, calling it out loudly. Use that outrage to make such language unacceptable, worthy of public shunning. Make it unthinkable for a protester to be armed, brandishing loaded guns outside of state capitols or on the streets of our cities. Seek to disarm our discourse, both in words and deeds, or there will be no opportunity to solve problems. It’s as Abraham Lincoln once said: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

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(7) comments

Dr. Michael Johnson

Old Inez is a total hypocrite, as if we needed more evidence. Interesting old Inez never objected to Tripp and the Guv referring to the GOP in his tweet: “You don’t have to ask the death cult their opinion or publish their quotes,” Stelnicki posted on Twitter" So what is the difference really???

Khal Spencer

The full quote.

“I’ve come to a place where I’ve come to the conclusion that the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat...I don’t say that in the physical sense, and I can already see where the videos getting edited where it says I want to go murder Democrats. No,” Griffin continued. “I say that in the political sense because the Democrat agenda and policy is anti-American right now.”

The problem here is that it is still ad hominem, i.e., made against the person and I suspect once Griffin realized what he said, he felt compelled to walk it back. If Mr. Griffin had said "I wish the Democratic Party would die off" or something like that, then he is attacking the ideas of the Democratic Party. But unfortunately Griffin cannot seem to see the difference. Frankly, I would like to see the Trump Cult of Personality movement die off and have Republicans and Conservatives be Republicans and Conservatives again.

As far as "the only good ____ is a dead ___", this also harkens back to the old Theodore Roosevent quote "the only good Indian is a ...". I'd prefer we stay away from this sort of rhetoric. We are polarized enough already. And when the polarization leads not only to wishing the other party members dead (symbolically or otherwise) but to Antifa gangs and angry people protesting with rifles displayed, what can possibly go wrong?

Tone

it

down.

Richard Reinders

I know what you mean like the Democrat that shot up a bunch of Representatives playing baseball in Washington DC.

Earl James

OMG, dude! Surely you are not supporting his potentially violence-inciting statement? Probably not, but too close for comfort. Just a heads-up that Ds and Rs alike need to tone it down and accept that we are all in the same boat ⛵️ like it or not. Let’s be grouchy pals rowing together, not haters, regardless of politics. I served in the Army to protect America, not so we could tear it apart. Hang in there with me.

Jim Klukkert

Richard Reinders~ Let's see, years ago, a troubled, mentally ill guy with a gun, thousands of miles away, or a Government official with a long history of calling for violence and insurrection, all the while organizing other right wing extremists into militant groups, a fire-breathing Frumper who has brandished weapons at the Capital and who lives in this state?

I guess Richard, my concern is for Couy Griffin, and for you, who is so willing to blow off the current and local threat.

You are a lazy POLITICAL OPPORTUNIST, more interested in scoring political points than in making the world a better place. The harder task is the latter, can you cowboy up, or are you just a Frumpest wimp?

Charles Andreoli

What is a Frumpest wimp. Is that the opposite of a babbling leftist nitwit.

Carolyn DM

LMAO!! Right! Kind of like the White Supremecist that ran over a young lady in South Caroline a few years ago and did indeed kill her. Mr. Trumpf mentioned there were, "many fine people", among that group just because he shares their beliefs and they support him in their ignorance. Gotcha!!

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