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Violence is Now the ‘Norm’ in Politics

David Coyle, Staff Writer

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To many, this may not be a very obvious thing, and truthfully it wasn’t even that obvious to me until the recent events that occurred last month in the Czech Republic. What was more of the wake up call for me was during a press conference with the President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman. The Czech Republic at the time was just undergoing a seismic shift in their political landscape, as the populist ANO party secured a victory in their legislative election. The president (a former communist) is by no means a conservative in the typical sense, but loves to mess with what he sees as the establishment in the Western world, in particular: journalists. At this press conference on Oct. 20th, President Zeman held a mock Kalashnikov rifle, pointing it towards journalists, on it was inscribed “for journalists.” During this conference he repeatedly said it was for the “lying press.”

In recent history this is probably the boldest, and most threatening action a western politician has done. This did not even turn into a scandal in the Czech Republic; he is more popular than ever, even in a nation that clearly leans to the right. Couple this with the incident of assault involving Senator Rand Paul, and you start to see a bit of a trend.

For those who don’t know what happened, Rand Paul was assaulted while mowing his lawn at his home in Kentucky. The assailant claims that he tackled Sen. Paul because of a dispute related to lawn clippings, which left Sen. Paul with six broken ribs, but there most likely is a political motive to the attack, as Sen. Paul is a prominent libertarian-leaning politician and a face for their party, who has created a great deal of controversy across the country for his viewpoints. The assailant may face felony charges for the violent act, although he maintains that he is not guilty as it relates to a political motive. These two stories on the surface may appear very different from each other, as they happened in nations that we normally see as vastly different from each other, but come from the same mighty tree of Western civilization. The reality is that what happens in other Western nations also has an influence on what happens in the United States and vice versa. This new sense of nationalism and populism has angered many politicians, elites, and citizens alike. This is part of the problem. As the political landscape changes so rapidly, and the hunger for change only grows as change happens, people are becoming more bold, more frightened, even defensive, as they see their world changing around them at a pace they can’t seem to handle.

The neighbor of Sen. Paul most likely attacked him, not over yard clippings, but over what Sen. Paul represents, and the neighbor feeling hopeless to  prevent this kind of change, took it upon himself to attack his fear. Same thing with the case of the Czech President. As a few victories have gone in the favor of his allies, as he finds anti-immigration sentiment growing across Europe, with an overall skepticism in elite organizations like the mainstream media, he has gotten bolder and has had this event strengthen his resolve. Change is often rocky, and we are certainly in that phase of rockiness right now. It is hard to know whether or not this violence can be stopped, or whether as the world continues to change at such a fast pace, the people will act accordingly. The death of the moderate, and the polarization of politics is the main cause of this anxiety, but maybe it is about time for change to happen. We can only hope that when the smoke clears, we will come out of it as a reformed society, one that values civil discourse and cherishes all that has made our civilization so great.

From freedom of the press, to speech, to religion, to property rights, to gun rights, and free enterprise. That can’t happen without moderates again, with those willing to reject more assertive ideas, people who can then pull our great nations back together.

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About the Writer
David Coyle, Staff Writer

Well, here it is at last, senior year. I don’t really have that much to say but what  I can say is that I love economics, adventure, and debating anyone, and I mean anyone, could be the little old lady at Wegmans, or the bus driver, on politics. I hope to be able to study in Ireland for college, if not you will find me in a hut in Appalachian country with my banjo in one band, and the flag of the old south in another. That’s about all peace out.

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Violence is Now the ‘Norm’ in Politics