While I was on sabbatical I made a decision that I would not comment on political issues on the blog any longer unless there was a direct correlation between my role as priest and that political issue.  This is just one of those cases.

When Congresswoman Giffords what shot in Arizona earlier this year the left made a big deal, me included, about political language and how it leads to such things. I stand by what I said at the time because I believe that leaders and whip their followers up with just a word not matter how the speaker meant that word.  As leaders we need to be careful how our words can be interpreted.

On Monday, President Obama was in Detroit for a Labor Day bash.  James Hoffa Jr. Was the warm up act for the President and he had some pretty harsh words for the folks on the other side of the ideological plain.

The Wall Street Journal reports these words by Mr. Hoffa:

Rousing the crowd Mr. Hoffa said that workers’ rights are being eroded by Republicans allied with the tea party movement, and urged the union crowd to vote them out of office. But the language turned militaristic.

“We’ve got to keep an eye on the battle that we face — a war on workers,” he said. “You see it everywhere. It is the tea party.” And he mentioned that “one thing about working people is, we like a good fight.”
To Mr. Obama, Mr. Hoffa said: “President Obama, this is your army, and we are ready to march.”
Addressing workers, he went on: “Everybody here’s got a vote. If we go back, and we keep the eye on the prize, let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.”

Mr. Hoffa has done the same thing that those on the Right have been accused of, the difference is the left is silent!  The right has called on the President to apologize for these words, I don’t really think the President needs to apologize but he certainly needs to denounce them as strong as he denounced the same language from the Right!

I know the argument, war imagery has been used in politics for as long as politics has existed, but that does not make it right.  Telling the President, “this is your Army, and we are ready to march” is as irresponsible as “lock and load” and painting targets on Congressional Districts.  The time has come for this type of speech to end.

Our words can, and do, call people to action.  Getting the vote out is a good action, using the war imagery that could lead to more people violence is not a good type of speech.  I call on people on both sides to denounce this speech loud and clear.

1 Comment

  1. Words like these do not help the union gain positive attention instead they come off looking like a bunch of thugs…
    the apple doesn't fall far from the tree son of Mr. Hoffa

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