Invectives Don't Count for Civil Discourse
Gathered at the Library’s entrance monument was a collection of about 35 people holding signs of various persuasion. Chief among the signs were protests about Rove’s presence. There were, however, a couple of signs about bringing the troops home and one about ending the occupation of Palestine. This was certainly no big thing as demonstrations go. There were no battles with counter-demonstrators and no battles with law enforcement. In fact, there wasn’t much of a police presence that I could see. That brought to mind a far different demonstration on a similar quiet Saturday morning in Pasadena sometime in the latter 1970's.
In those days, there was a porn shop named a Little Bit of Heaven sitting on Colorado Blvd., smack dab in the middle of downtown Pasadena. Marching peaceably in front of the shop were about a dozen men dressed in the all too familiar brown uniform, with swastikas, of the Nazi regime. It seems that the American Nazi Party took exception to the presence of the shop, and they demonstrated their discontent by exercising their First Amendment Rights.
I joined a growing crowd of people watching the spectacle and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who appeared to be the age of my father. It turned out this man was a World War II veteran, just like my father. The veteran stated that he had fought in the Great War and opined that this sort of activity should not be allowed. I pointed out that these misguided individuals were exercising precisely the rights of a free country for which he and his generation had made such a tremendous sacrifice. He nodded his head in agreement, and the two of us stood there watching as a contingent of the crowd began heckling and taunting the Nazis. Suddenly the hecklers attacked the Nazis and the fight was on. The police ended the skirmish by carting off the attackers and escorting the Nazis from the scene. Newspaper reports identified the attackers as members of a leftist group, the name of which escapes me after all these years.
So, the Simi Valley demonstration certainly feel short of the high drama of Pasadena. But, what caught my eye, and undoubtedly triggered my Pasadena recollection, was a sign with a swastika prominently displayed below the pictures of both Pres. George W. Bush and Karl Rove. Another sign stated “Evil Behind the Idiot.” These two signs were clues to the political persuasion of the sign holders.
A search on the internet revealed that the Ventura County Progressives posted on their web site a call to demonstrate against Karl Rove. The site had a picture of Rove that morphed into a Rove with horns when the cursor passed over it. Spending a little time on the site, and other like minded sites, revealed the deep seated leftist animus against Bush, Rove and all things conservative. I can only imagine the bile that these folks must feel rising in their throats. The spewing of invectives reveals an inability to engage in persuasive civil discourse and diminishes the credibility of the message.