You knew it was coming. Someone was certain to blame President Donald Trump for the swill that came out of Rep. Stephanie Kifowit's mouth.
Kifowit, a Democrat from Downstate Oswego, said this about Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard, who asked reasonable questions about a bill that Kifowit sponsored:
I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one, so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die. And we are talking about our nation's heroes.
All hell broke loose after she conferred the death wish on Breen's family. She first attempted a shameful and lame explanation that it's not what she said or meant. Later, after even some her Democratic colleagues scolded her, she issued an apology.
But as I was reading about how some of her own had turned on her, I came across this headline, "Democrat's Legionnaire's disease comment shows the Trump effect on rhetoric." This I gotta read, I said to myself.
The headline was over a Chicago Tribune column written by Rex Huppke. After an extended criticism of Kifowit (in order to inoculate himself from sounding like he's defending her), we finally got to the heart of the column:
But the real issue here is that we have a president who has eviscerated the boundaries of decency with his political rhetoric, behaving as if bullying and mean-spiritedness equate to toughness.
Other politicians, if they want to be on the right side of history, have a responsibility to rise above the language and offhand meanness the president embraces.
What Kifowit said to Breen, and her attempt to deny she said it, was downright Trumpian.
She spoke without thinking. And that’s something we see far too much of these days.
So true. Just as some people write without thinking.
First the obvious, but rarely acknowledged by orthodox media, hateful speech comes from the left as well as the right. (Here's one list of hateful left speech. Liberals can provide their own examples of conservative hate speech.)
There's no argument from this corner that Trump has helped poison the troposphere. I wish he's just shut up and focus on the issues. Everything is not about you, Mr. President.
But here's the thing. I won't join the mob screaming for Kifowit's head. I don't think she should resign, as some Republicans demand. I won't join the calls for House Speaker Mike Madigan to punish her. I don't care whether or not she apologizes. These all are knee-jerk strategies employed by many liberals.
There's no law against saying stupid things. "Hurtful" is not reason enough to shut down debate. Whining about "offensive" language is a liberal tool. The speech codes that silence free speech on college and high school campuses are crafted by virtuous leftists. Here I won't claim that Kifowit's evil thoughts reflect what liberals really think about people who challenge their dictums. As liberals assert that Trump's rants reflect secret conservative thinking.
Let Kifowit blather on. It's only a window into her own mind.
Related: It's as if she never said it. House Democrats expunge her remarks from the official record.
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