NTC’s last campaign brought out some pretty angry responses. The campaign, if you missed it, focused on a Republican MT state rep who claimed that the Constitution calls for socialists to be shot. His own party had already called on him to resign, and we thought it was a no brainer to join the call. Isn’t the whole point of American Constitutional freedom that the government can’t punish you for what you believe?
Here are just a few of the many responses that we got to our email announcing the campaign:
“Go get f***ed you left wing b*tches!”
“His concept is great! Gitmo would be more humane for the Socialists and Communist Leftists in America.”
“When you can be a true American and support the president in the American people then I listen. But you know what Nazis that’s what you are. That’s all you are.”
The troubling thing is that these people were on our email list because that had participated in a past campaign calling for some other entity to stop enabling intolerance. In fact, most of them had participated specifically with a campaign asking Congress to retract support for CAIR because of their history of alliances with anti-Semites like Linda Sarsour, a Bernie Sanders surrogate, and Ilhan Omar, a Democratic representative from Minnesota.
To be clear, NTC is non-partisan and non-political although our campaigns do occasionally involve politicians. We take action on a wide variety of issues because tolerance touches a wide variety of issues, and true tolerance means calling out intolerance no matter who perpetrates it. That’s why we’ve targeted both Democrats and Republicans.
While these email responses were a new level of vitriol and labeling, the basic pattern is nothing new. Since we launched in October, NTC’s social media channels have been full of commenters speculating about our politics and coming to wildly different conclusions based on the most recent post.
As a society, we seem to have lost the ability to engage with other people or organizations as unique entities instead of members of “my team” or “the other team.”
This tribalism that has gripped our nation has given everyone blind spots. Far too often, we will strongly condemn bigotry against some groups, then shrug off bigotry against others, or worse, quietly speculate about whether the victim deserved it…. or openly speculate that they should be shot! This needs to stop.
When our society has so strongly sorted itself into us vs. them, it’s not surprising that people make assumptions about NTC. But ultimately, that’s why we exist.
Bridging the divide starts with consistent standards. Bigotry is bigotry, no matter which “team” the victim or the aggressor is on.
That’s why we’re asking you to join us. Our goal is to bring together people with a wide variety of viewpoints who can respectfully point out inconsistencies in others while welcoming constructive criticism themselves.
So who’s side are we on? We’re on the side of anyone working in good faith to make our nation more tolerant. Are you in?