Delegate Favola’s Comments Aren’t The Problem; The Vulgar Applause Is

"They're evil, we're the good guys." Favola's statement begs the question: Is this what Democrats really think of Republicans?


Is that what Democrats really think of Republicans?

I have received no fewer than 23 individual requests for my comments on this video, where Delegate Barbara Favola remarks “What my colleagues didn’t really tell you is how dangerous it will be if the other side wins. They’re evil, we’re the good guys.”

That’s not what concerns me.  Small people are going to believe small things.

What bothers me intensely isn’t the fact that Favola feels that way about her colleagues on the other side of the aisle, though that is troubling.  What bothers me intensely is the fact that her crowd, rather than gasping and murmuring to themselves, actually applauded her comments.

The statement begs the question: Is this what Democrats really think of Republicans?

Now lest Republicans clutch our pearls too tightly, I’m quite certain the whataboutism regarding Donald Trump on the campaign trail as he shouted down paid actors and agitators infiltrating his campaign events will be held up as counter-evidence of Republican “hate” expressed towards Democrats and their values.

Yet… that’s not really the case we have here, is it?

Nor is it Donald Trump that we are discussing this week.  This instance is not made better or praiseworthy due to a backdrop.  On its own, by its own merits, we have an elected official describing her opposition as evil — not wrong, not misguided, not even misled.


Charles Krauthammer — the noted conservative columnist — is fond of remarking his oft-quoted axiom: All liberals think conservatives are evil; all conservatives think liberals are stupid.

Krauthammer’s Axiom (as it has come to be known) seems to be bearing its wisdom out to a natural conclusion.  More alarming than this?  When the other is described as “evil” then that legitimizes an entire litany of horribles.  Stupid can at least be educated, drunkenness sobered, coarseness refined.

…but evil?  Evil gets eradicated — or in the words of William & Mary activists shouting down the ACLU in Williamsburg earlier this year, violent speech must be met with violent means.

There’s a difference here between an opposition that can be debated and reasoned with and an opposition that seeks to destroy you.  Perhaps Favola truly believes that the American right is out to destroy the American left; perhaps there are those on the right who fundamentally believe that progressives and Antifa are out to destroy their history, words, gender pronouns, ideas of marriage and family, and whether or not a baby is a human life… all for good example.

Or perhaps there are folks on the right who are simply tired of failed and failing institutions — the media, public schools, colleges and universities, the bureaucratic class — who openly sneer at working and middle class families while taxpayers literally fund their own demise.

Yet conservatives by and large, for all our disagreement with the left, stop short of calling the opposition an evil to be eradicated.  Disagreement, yes… but evil?

Of course, we live in an era where all disagreement is hate speech.  Where objectivity is punished and subjectivity rewarded — all because 50 years of lowered expectations have taught us that it is easier to feel than think.

Plato once argued that the punishment good individuals endured by refraining from politics was to be ruled by evil men.  Perhaps, in a very odd way, Favola was giving truth to this statement.  Perhaps the crowd applauded their own vice as a means of opposing the viciousness they perceive within the opposition?

…but it’d sure be nice to focus on the virtues every once in awhile.

This is where a few heroes would be nice.  The Virginia Way — if it was on life support before hand — saw what little help it had ripped away by the Northam campaign in toto.  Democrats will be quick to point towards Gillespie raising the question of MS-13 lurking among undocumented immigrant populations; Northam erased any doubt of any impropriety by siding with Gillespie this week.

Yet calling the opposition bigots, racists, and evil?  Even if the gutter tactics obtain a cheap victory, how does one intend to govern after the fact?

Democrats pointing back at Trump’s campaigning in 2016 should be cautioned by Trump’s near Herculean task of governing in 2017 — even within his own party.  As for adopting the tone of “evil” when describing the other?  That leads down an extremely dark and foreboding road.  Ethics at least demands an accounting, and Favola — if she is not universally condemned by her colleagues in the House of Delegates in both parties — should at the very least consider the unlikely proposition that she will be able to pass anything in that body.

There are highlights though, and Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) might be the one to help lead the way.  Progressive, but not a radical — there’s room to talk within a center caucus that is willing to take a few dings from their base in the effort to do the people’s business in Richmond.

Favola’s comments do nothing to advance that cause.  The vulgar applause from the commons should be cause for concern.