Democrat Qasim Rashid is running against Republican State Senator Richard Stuart in Virginia’s 28th District and has a long-running pedigree on the right side of the fence when it comes to condemning terrorism.
Despite the political environment and while there are plenty of things to disagree with Rashid on politically, there is zero reason for disagreement to be an excuse for violence or threats thereof — as we have recently seen on the Democratic side of the fence directed towards Republicans.
So when a North Carolina man attempts to throw out a case for threatening to lynch Rashid? The judge made the absolute right call in refusing to do so and allowing the case to be heard. From WTOP by way of the Associated Press:
Vandevere argued his indictment must be dismissed on First Amendment free speech grounds, claiming the communication in question was not a “true threat.”
“In 2019, the political arena necessarily includes the public exchange of political views that occurs daily on Twitter and other social media sites,” wrote his attorney, Andrew Banzhoff.
However, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. said he cannot rule as a matter of law that the alleged threat was “political hyperbole” or that “no reasonable person would interpret this communication as a serious expression of intent to do harm.”
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that “mere political argument, idle talk or jest” are not true threats, Cogburn noted. “However,” the judge added, “a true threat dressed up in political rhetoric or artistic expression alone does not render it a non-threat.”
Vendevere is now facing a felony charge with five years in prison for this stunt. That’s good… because this sort of activity is beyond politics and has no place in the public square.
To wit, the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Robin Berger has more to say regarding the growing incivility and the culture of reward that we seem to have built around it — this time vis a vis Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s campaign staff:
Back in August, Donegan told RTD reporter Wilson that “psychological studies show that people who swear make better friends.” She also added, “And they’re smarter…” Really? Does that mean the fouler one’s mouth, the more likely a person is to be Mensa material?
Not according to Professor Benjamin K. Berger, director of the Language and Cognition Lab at the University of California San Diego. In his book, “What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves,” Berger says profanity comes from a far more primal region of the human brain than the rest of human language. Even when brain damage obliterates almost all language, an individual’s ability to swear remains intact.
…and so there you go. Vulgarity (as opposed to gentility) is a form of cheating in argument, is it not?
Rather than appeal to reason, we opt for emotive… and in that form of cheating we aren’t really appealing to the angels of our better nature in the slightest, but rather appealing to the amygdala of our brains to react rather than consider. Engage the “fight of flight” response and you don’t have to worry about the rest… which says a lot about whether vulgarity really makes for better conversation:
Nor, according to Berger, does swearing make one friendlier. Rather, the most offensive curse words, like the f-bomb and the n-word, are mostly used to denigrate and disempower others.
We’ve all said our fair share of swear words. Stubbing a toe or accidentally deleting a page of unsaved work can elicit a cuss word from even the most saintly person. But having to listen to someone spew a litany of foul words in the public space is never welcome.
Nor is playing footsie with language designed to physically intimidate others. There’s a definition for that sort of thing: terrorism.
Of if one prefers the FBI’s definition of terrorism, it is:
“…the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
Whether you are posting online or participating in your local Antifa mob, remember kids: terrorism isn’t cool and has serious consequences, and even if you think you are joking? Vulgarity and threats of violence only make this world a little bit more coarse, a little bit more insolent.
There are far better and more adult ways to get one’s point across.