The Post-Tucson Propaganda Campaign-Civility…or Servitude?
by William L. Anderson
In the wake of the Tucson shootings, there has been a new call to “tone down” political rhetoric. Of course, much of the call to “civility” has come from the left – accompanied by hateful, uncivil rhetoric – which seeks to both politically exploit the situation as well as shut down its opposition.
One of the loudest voices for “civility” comes from Jim Wallis and the Sojourners group, which seek to espouse a “Progressive Gospel” in which Christianity is melded with the Welfare State. After the shooting, Wallis wrote that it was “an attack on the soul of the nation,” which is nothing less than a declaration that the only Gospel is a political gospel.
(I give credit to Wallis for not joining in with the New York Times in blaming Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin for the shooting, and the rhetoric on his own “God’s Politics” blog has been more conciliatory than what one sees elsewhere from the Left. I also support Wallis’ criticism of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his condemnation of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.)
Nonetheless, I do find the latest “call to civility” from Wallis and his group to be interesting, given the history of Sojourners and the political viewpoints that have come from the magazine Sojourners over the years. What I find is not that they support civility for its own sake; rather, “civility” is a political tool by which people accept the worst of what the state does, and do it quietly.
In 1979, the government of Vietnam was attempting to impose its communist “vision” upon unwilling people, and the government used summary executions, concentration camps, and other acts of coercion. The result was grinding poverty, starvation, and an exodus of refugees, called “the boat people.” Many people saw this refugee crisis as a natural outgrowth of tyranny, but Wallis saw things differently.