I became embroiled in a mini-controversy in a diary last night, one which I feel is disturbingly representative of a coarsening of opinion on this site. I read a diary by a popular diarist. It was a diary that I was in almost complete agreement with, What I did not agree with was the use of the allusion of cockroaches scurrying for cover. I attempted to have the offending language removed by way of a Kosmail appeal to the diarist. I was dismissed, but "thanked for my concern". And so I HR'd the tip jar. There was another comment the diarist made that referenced roaches, but since I could only HR one of them I chose the TJ.
As a result I was accused of HR abuse and had a number of comments telling me how wrong I was because of what sleazy people the Walkerites are. These people criticizing me and calling this HR abuse miss the point. We are discussing fellow human beings, no matter how flawed they may be. They are HUMANS, not animals, not insects, not some lower life form. What is considered the appropriate things to do with cockroaches? Exterminate them.
Now obviously, the diarist wasn't imploring their readers to exterminate members of Walker's cabal, but the use of dehumanizing language starts us down that road regardless of their intent. We are at a very ugly time in US political history right now. The right wingers are itching for a fight, a real fight with bullets and dead people. Ramping up the hatred on the left will do nothing but help feed their desire for conflict.
We, as progressives, are supposed to be better than this. It has traditionally been the authoritarian hatemongers who have used these kinds of attacks on their political opponents - people like Limbaugh and Hannity. When we descend to their level then we are no better than them.