Why American politics has become vulgar and violent

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In September, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer relaxed the House. dress code – Coat, tie and trousers for men, but no separate dress code. Women – to host Sen. John Fetterman in a Senate robe, hat and gym shorts. After an outcry, the Senate voted unanimously to reinstate the code.

“Getting Dressed” The Washington Post Editorial Board Comment“It gives legislators an opportunity to think for a moment about the special responsibility the people have entrusted to them and at least the deliberate process for the ceremony. With voter approval at an all-time low, the organizers added, the Senate “might want to avoid looking even a little like a high school cafeteria.” Senator Joe Manchin affirmed the importance of “some basic rules of decorum, etiquette and decency.”

A formal dress code, alas, has not diminished American politics, and is increasing at an alarming rate in Congress and across the country. The new norm of vulgar and violent rhetoric against political opponents is destroying the basic elements of democracy: civility, cooperation, consensus, trust in the integrity of government officials, “loyal opposition” and the rule of law.

In June, representative Marjorie Taylor Green It is called Months after Rep. Lauren Bobert found a “little dog” on the floor of the house, a security camera caught Bobert partaking in what she later admitted was “unacceptable” behavior (also known as growling). offended Calling Boibert a “whore” is not new to another member of Congress, as a colleague says, “she’s been doing that for a while.”

This month, after Rep. Darrell Issa Green said she lacked the “maturity and experience” to use the proper process to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, she It is called He “pot” Greene was cognitively mocked by Republican Rosa DeLauro. decreasedAn 80-year-old congresswoman falsely claimed to have forgotten to fund the government a few hours earlier for a further resolution.

At the same time, Rep. Tim Burchett, one of eight Republicans who voted to fire House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, accused McCarthy of walking down the aisle. Delivery “A shot to the kidney,” explains Burchett. “Hey Kevin, do you have any courage?” Burchett asked before calling the former speaker “a bully,” “pathetic” and a “bully.” “I guess our shoulder got hit or something,” McCarthy later said.

The “shots heard around the Capitol” are yet more evidence of an escalation of decorum unlike anything we’ve seen since the pre-Civil War era. he said. Representative Matt Gaetz, who is leading the effort to remove McCarthy.

Meanwhile, during a Senate committee hearing, first-term Sen. Markwayne Mullin faced Teamsters Union President Shane O’Brien. Mullin, a former mixed martial arts fighter, read a tweet from O’Brien saying he’s a “greedy CEO who pretends to be self-made” but is “actually a racist and a fraud…you know where to find him.” Anywhere, anytime, cowboy.

“We’re done here,” Mullin said. O’Brien shot back, “I’d love to.” “Then shrug your shoulders.” As the pair prepared to do battle, committee chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders shouted, “Stop it! No, no, sit down. You know, you’re a United States senator. As they took their seats, Mullin and O’Brien used language rarely heard in US Senate proceedings.

Mullin went on to say that his request to O’Brien represented “Oklahoma values.” In the fight he Added, “I bite 100%. .. I bite. I’ll do anything. I’m not over it. And for that matter, I don’t care where I bite.

While Matt Gaetz was talking about Speaker McCarthy, there is no doubt that he concluded that “the rot starts at the top.” Donald Trump They say it in 2016 – after using profanity to convince voters that it was right, Donald Trump earned the title of “blasphemy.” PresidentHe said. His powerful rhetoric continues to legitimize white nationalism, xenophobia, vigilante justice, and the demonization of political opponents.

Trump called for the death penalty for former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Miley. Treason. He told the California GOP convention in September that shoplifters should “expect to be shot” when they leave. Stores. Undocumented immigrants, as Trump declared in October, “are very cruel.” They drink, they have drugs, and they are “poisoning our blood.” CountryHe said. This month, he said, “Communists, Marxists, fascists and radical leftist thugs live like weeds in this region.” CountryHe said. In the year If elected in 2024, Trump has promised to “completely eliminate this.” Deep condition“Either you win or we win,” he accused Joe Biden and others who interrupted him.

When the behavior of these “role models” is widely publicized and celebrated on social media, it’s no wonder that many Americans are angry and belligerent. And 23 percent of them, including a third of Republicans, to believe “Patriots may resort to violence to save our country.”

The stakes are too high. January 6, 2021 was a close call. And it seems that American democracy is now close to the point of no return.

Glenn C. Altshuler is the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies at Cornell University. He is the co-author (with Stuart Bloomin) of The Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century.

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