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Elder: This Generation of the American Left Has Decided to Attack Rather Than Persuade

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After angry public reaction to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas said, “We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like. We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that.”

The events to which Thomas referred included pro-abortion activists blocking church entrances and protesting at the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito.

It is difficult to determine when this generation of Americans on the left decided to attack rather than persuade. But an inflection point occurred when, for the first time in history, the Senate rejected a Supreme Court nominee, not because of ethics or lack of character, but because Democrats opposed his judicial philosophy.

President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork, who represented — to Democrats like Sen. Ted Kennedy — a threat to move the Supreme Court to the right on issues like abortion and affirmative action. Kennedy viciously attacked.

On the Senate floor, he described “Robert Bork’s America” as “a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.”

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Two years ago, at a pro-abortion rally in front of the Supreme Court, Sen. Chuck Schumer shouted, “I want to tell you, [Justice Neil] Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Following this, Roberts issued a statement: “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory. But threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”

At a rally two years earlier, Rep. Maxine Waters had called for the public harassment of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet members. Waters shouted, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

President Joe Biden, who once backed an amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade, recently slammed its possible reversal: “What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history — in recent American history.”

Is the left intolerant of opposing viewpoints?

Even New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet criticized the intolerance of the supposedly tolerant left. In 2017, Baquet said, “I don’t understand how one can actually have an intellectual discourse in this country if you cannot have the opportunity to read thoughtful people with whom you disagree. … We’ve long said this about the right … but the left as a rule does not want to hear thoughtful disagreement.”

I am pro-life. I oppose abortion. As a federalist who believes that issues like abortion are properly left to the states, I see my role as a citizen, pundit and a person of faith to persuade, not threaten.

There was a time when people on the left felt this way, too.

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