Romano: Yelling in a theater is like earning a liberal merit badge

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking with President Donald Trump (left) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) about school safety during a White House meeting earlier this year, has used the power of her office to push Republican agendas regardless of the effect on Florida residents. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, speaking with President Donald Trump (left) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (right) about school safety during a White House meeting earlier this year, has used the power of her office to push Republican agendas regardless of the effect on Florida residents. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]
Published June 26 2018
Updated June 26 2018

As the narrative goes, Democrats are motivated in 2018 because President Donald Trump has made America a less tolerant place where decorum is nonexistent and anger is palpable.

So now the response is a liberal version of intolerance and indignation in spiffy made-for-Facebook videos?

And Democrats wonder why they donít win elections.

The harassment of Attorney General Pam Bondi in a Tampa movie theater on Friday night was a sad example of todayís look-at-me moral outrage. Somehow, it seems befitting of our new era of reality-television politics.

Itís not that Bondi deserves sympathy. She doesnít. As the stateís leading law enforcement official, she repeatedly chooses to represent the Republican Party of Florida above the people of Florida. Her hyper-politicization of her job has made her about as unsympathetic as an elected official can be.

But explain to me what is gained from shouted insults in a theater lobby?

Other than some visceral satisfaction for the confrontation-minded, it takes the conversation nowhere. In fact, it just makes it harder to have a conversation.

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This is what todayís progressives donít seem to understand. They believe they occupy the moral high ground, and somehow that excuses their own sins and intolerance.

And they still donít understand that their saintly and superior attitude is what drives otherwise easygoing people to vote for demagogues such as Trump.

Too many liberals act as if the mean-spirited condition of America has been foisted upon them by the president and his supporters. Sorry, but thatís not how it works.

In a nation of elections, you get the country you deserve. And right now, these are the leaders we have chosen.

If you believe in a different kind of America, then you need to make a compelling case for your vision. And you donít do that by yelling in a restaurant or movie theater. You certainly donít do that by demeaning conservative voters by insisting their values are backward.

Weíve already seen where tit for tat will take us. The president revels in these opportunities to tell his Twitter followers that the Democrats are belittling conservative voters again.

And those voters get so caught up in ridiculous social media battles that they donít pay attention to tax cuts that arenít benefiting them, or tariffs that are harming them or health care lawsuits that may eventually kill them. If Democrats want to get Americaís attention, they might want to start there.

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Instead, too many people want to one-up each other in the hurling of insults and accusations. We donít pause long enough to realize that the leading cause of outrage is reciprocal outrage.

If you want a historical equivalent, consider the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy,íí Rev. King wrote in his final book Where Do We Go From Here.

You do not have to stay silent, and you do not have to acquiesce.

But if you want to change the world, you better engage in something more meaningful than Twitter burns and self-promoting Facebook videos.

No, I do not feel sorry for Pam Bondi. Nor do I celebrate her tormentors.

Instead, I lament the loss of dignity in America.

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