Political Rhetoric Gets Loud

The cable news channels are filled today with people shouting at each other, often from protest groups and frequently at town hall meetings, their rhetoric not only getting louder but more virulent.  The escalation of words, threatening though it may sound, is not a threat to American democracy, says Dr. Mark Jones, the fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies and a professor in the Department of Political Science at Rice University.  “This is due to heightened polarization in the United States, which has been occurring for the past 20 years, but is really at a zenith in modern political history,” he tells KTRH News.

Some are just calling it The Age of Trump.  “Certainly Donald trump is a new style president and it’s been much more hectic and frenetic during the first 30 days of his administration.  But I don’t think there’s any real call for gloom and doom on either side,” Dr. Jones intones.

 Sinister talk and conspiracy theories have been a part of the political landscape since the nation’s founding. We can all remember the mad ideas about the murder of Vince Foster.  Or Ronald Reagan’s threats about the evil empire rousing the ire of Democrats.  Not long after the country had been created, John Adams wrote: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” But Jones says that was a young America of which he spoke, whose continuation was still uncertain.  Come what may, he suggests, we’ll weather the storm.


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