Originally published at HumanEvents.com
After the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, President Obama said Americans must respect each other’s views and we should begin “talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”
It’s ironic that Obama, the leader of the American Left, has called for civility when it is his followers on college campuses that have eagerly denounced, shouted-down, and even assaulted those who dare express different viewpoints from their own.
Many conservatives have already written on the Left’s reaction to the shootings and how it blamed Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for somehow encouraging Jared Lee Loughner to launch his murderous rampage. Some were shocked the Left would dare stoop to that level, yet this really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Many of today’s leftist pundits learned their tactics from their college professors and administrators. It is on our campuses where this type of hate, vitriol, and violence regularly occurs against conservatives. In no way would we equate shooting a public official with the assaults that take place against conservatives on campus, however the climate of incivility in colleges and universities has grown unchecked for decades.
For example, leftists at the University of Arizona in Tucson stormed the stage in an attempt to “pie” Ann Coulter during her lecture. This attempted assault was despite the fact that more than 2,500 students and community members patiently waited more than an hour (because of Coulter’s delayed flights) to hear her remarks. Where was Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik to denounce this attack or question the school’s faculty and leadership on the poisonous atmosphere that bred such hatred against conservatives?
David Horowitz, Bill Kristol, and Pat Buchanan have also been assaulted at their campus lectures. Where were the calls for civility and openness when these attacked occurred? As the question-and-answer session began during Pat Buchanan’s speech at Western Michigan University, a leftist agitator rushed the stage and doused Mr. Buchanan with salad dressing. Following the attack, Maureen Bunyan’s response on the WABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., was to offhandedly dismiss the incident, suggesting that Buchanan could handle it. Her message was it’s no big deal. It was okay that Pat Buchanan’s speech was cut short and 900 people in attendance couldn’t hear his remarks, and it was just too bad for the student organizers who worked hard to raise the funds and bring him there. Even though several administrators were at the event, including the vice president of finance, the dean of students, and the director of student activities, not one campus administrator approached Buchanan afterward to ask whether he was okay or to apologize for the attack. They did not make any calls for leftist professors and students to take free speech “sensitivity” training, as they surely would have if the same thing had happened to a liberal speaker.
In addition to the attacks on campus speakers, the second-class treatment of students participating in ROTC is rarely addressed by faculty or administrators. ROTC cadets have been shunned by their administrators and faculty for wearing their uniforms on campus. Military recruiters have been run off of campus at UC Santa Cruz by anti-military radicals, and ROTC offices have been vandalized at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Where were the calls from administrators, deans, and liberal students denouncing these incidents or encouraging all students to reach out to ROTC members and support them? Students who are willing to defend this country and to defend our freedoms should be heroes wherever they are.
These are just a few examples of the vitriolic and hateful atmospheres that conservative students and speakers encounter. One would assume that college administrators would act quickly to demonstrate to students, alumni, and communities that their schools embrace all ideas and punish those who infringe on others’ free speech rights. In reality, the exact opposite occurs, and their actions highlight that they are eager to support a left-wing agenda.
So before Barack Obama, Paul Krugman, and other liberals denounce conservatives and call for a new, grand, kumbaya era of “civility,” they should take a close look at the raging hate-mongers on the Left and encourage them to respect the ideas of others.
Because most university presidents are eager to mandate “diversity” and “sensitivity” whenever attacks occur against politically correct students or speakers, we should demand they institute sensitivity training for campus leftists who use hateful speech that “vulgarizes our culture” with cursing, cat calls, and heckling. All who embrace free speech and open discussion must expose the Left’s dirty tricks and demand leftist agitators receive the same punishments and penalties as any other criminal.
Patrick X. Coyle is Vice President of Young America’s Foundation