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American Politics Has Become Really Gross

American politics has always been rough. On May 22, 1856, Rep. Preston Brooks (D) of South Carolina used a cane to beat abolitionist Sen. Charles Sumner (R) of Massachusetts on the floor of the Senate. Brooks came close to killing Sumner. This attack polarized the country over the issue of slavery even more than it already was, and moved the country closer to civil war.

While politics has always been rough, until recently, it wasn't also gross. Sumner gave a speech attacking a pro-slavery senator from South Carolina, Andrew Butler, saying: "[He] touches nothing which he does not disfigure with error, sometimes of principle, sometimes of fact. He cannot open his mouth, but out there flies a blunder." You have to admit that while Sumner hated Butler, at least he was fairly eloquent in denouncing him. Those days are gone.

Speech and conduct in Congress has gotten much more vulgar these days. For example:

All this coarse behavior goes back to a single source, Donald Trump. Attacking your opponent verbally has always been fair game, but as Sumner demonstrated, it has generally been civil. No more. Among other things, Trump has said:

Trump also promised to obliterate the deep state and prosecute Joe Biden and a long list of other people who have crossed him. He said: "Either they win or we win." With Trump as a role model, what did you expect? (V)

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