The Triumph of David Hogg — And the Death of Civil Discourse


The American tapestry is woven extensively with stories of conflict — from the first settlement at Jamestown, to the Civil War and the numerous battles in-between that took place as the United States developed and grew as a nation. Men fought at great cost to both defend and advance policies that ultimately shaped the country we are now. Even today, divergent opinions have remained both a source of discontent and a source of motivation for change. That has always been the case where humanity is concerned, and will probably remain unchanged in perpetuity.

What has changed, however, is how dialogues take place between parties with inconsistent ideals. Where great leaders once maintained civil discourse to make their positions known and to effectuate change, our culture now embraces the profane, the vulgar, and the intemperate bellows of whoever can shout the loudest over the clamoring of other voices.

Take David Hogg, for example — the outspoken adolescent who became the darling of the progressive left anti-gun movement and the subject of copious media attention on both the Right and Left since the shooting in Parkland, Florida. He embraces and is embraced by the mainstream culture of profanity, vulgarity, and juvenile tirades, a far cry from the great leaders of our past such as the late Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, or Frederick Douglass. Hogg has a cause, as did King, Mandela, and Douglass; the difference between them being civility, eloquence, and non-violent advocacy. Hogg illustrates the great chasm that has grown between opposing ideas. Rather than civil discourse, the Left now espouses tormenting and intimidating adversaries into submission. Emotion, not logic, commands the day.

Whereas a leader like Martin Luther King, Jr., faced opposition with calm, clarity, and eloquence, the Left’s present rants are venomous, heavily laced with the f-word (Hogg’s use of it is prolific, to say the least), suggesting and often promoting violent protest. King encouraged a movement for change, but did it by advocating non-violent protest — impassioned, not scourging.

Nelson Mandela faced an arguably more daunting task as he worked to deconstruct a system of  apartheid in South Africa, and for which he spent much of his adult life in prison. Yet, Mandela overcame bitterness, seeking to reconcile rather than retaliate. In our current political climate, the Left consistently seeks to destroy. When David Hogg wilted under the criticism of Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham, he did not suffer slings and arrows with the courage of Mandela. In contrast, he bitterly attacked Ingraham’s livelihood by prompting a full-scale attack on companies who purchased ad time on her show.

From a former slave to one of the greatest anti-slavery leaders, Frederick Douglass could have allowed anger, resentment and hate to consume him, as well. He had endured enormous cruelty throughout his life, but chose reason and forgiveness to change political momentum. When MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell asked Hogg if he would accept Ingraham’s apology, Hogg said that he would not (and went on to mock the apology, and Holy Week, in subsequent tweets). Forgiveness is no longer part of the equation. Resentment has been amped up to ever higher levels.

Imagine what the world would look like today had leaders such as King, Mandela, and Douglass, lapsed into infantile pouts and tirades. Thankfully, great leaders of the past uniquely recognized that self-control and the reigning in of the most primal of human emotions created an atmosphere more conducive to civil discussion. The present-day mob mentality of the Left, by contrast, is incapable of summoning emotional restraint. There is no discussion to be had because progressives are too busy silencing anyone and everyone who espouses a belief different than their own.

Worse, attacks have become bitterly personal — dangerous, in fact, especially toward conservative women and blacks. Within the last few days, Kanye West was on the receiving end of leftist, racist hate when he tweeted support for Candace Owens, a conservative black commentator.

Candace Owens has similarly been the subject of hateful attacks. Progressive actor Tom Arnold referred to her as a “race pimp,” and worse, in a now-deleted tweet, told Owens she could do a certain something to a certain body part. Classy.

No one, by the way, has demanded Arnold apologize to Ms. Owens for his foul language, as Laura Ingraham was pressured to do following David Hogg’s teeny-bopper meltdown. The Left has not come to the defense of a woman treated extremely callously and with utter disrespect, and feminists are conspicuously silent. Arnold is unadulterated proof that leftists are a growing societal miasma.

There can’t be change in the face of such hostility, or compromise in the face of provocation. No issue of great importance has ever been resolved when so-called leaders of a movement kick, scream, attack the opposition with schoolyard taunts, and set fire to police cars. History bears that out. But the Left has severed itself from calm, reasoned, eloquent discussion. Their modus operandi is symbolized by Hogg’s clenched fist salute reminiscent of Stalin, Chavez, Hitler, and Amin — something King, Mandela, and Douglass would find unproductively chilling to real change and a foreboding sign of things to come.

Photo credit: Screenshot via YouTube

Lisa Hudson

Lisa Hudson is a founding member of Arizonans Against Common Core and an advocate of classical Christian education and the protection of student privacy. She graduated from Michigan State University School of Law in 1996 and is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan.

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