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Darling: When the Left Crosses the Line into Harassment and Dangerous Rhetoric

The repeal of Net Neutrality rules was a great step for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to spur investment and provide incentives for broadband providers to expand operations in a way that will aid both rural and urban consumers.

Some of the left have used the repeal of Net Neutrality as a pretext to launch unprecedented harassment towards the Chairman of the FCC. The treatment of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai by the left is a case study in the dark side of politics.

Leftists need to be more careful with language. Keeping criticisms of President Trump, and members of his administration, respectful and on policy is far preferable than the nightly dose of name calling we hear from some liberal and Never-Trump Members of Congress on an hourly basis. I was on MSNBC a few months ago where Howard Dean called former Trump confidant Steve Bannon a “Nazi” and characterized all of the readers of Breitbart as “racist.” Former Bush ethics chief Richard Painter called Breitbart “a racist platform.” If you dare to disagree with the left, you are a racist and a Nazi. This language is dangerous and provides license for some who want to dehumanize and physically attack Trump supporters and members of the Trump Administration.

Some on the left have stepped way over the line of reasonable rhetoric and opposition by harassing and victimizing individuals in the Trump Administration. I have watched closely as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been attacked personally and in a horrible way by the left because of his leadership to repeal Net Neutrality rules. The Washington Post reported on November 27, 2017 that signs were put up near Pai’s home that read “They will come to know the truth. Dad murdered Democracy in cold blood.” Slate reported on November 27, 2017 that “In May, in what appeared to be a coordinated campaign by the advocacy group Popular Resistance, people left flyers on Pai’s neighbors’ doors that included his picture, age, and weight. Unfortunately, such attacks aren’t new to Pai, who has endured a steady stream of racist, lewd, and threatening backlash since April, when he introduced his intention to gut the net neutrality rules.” This is truly sickening and outrageous.

I know Ajit from my time with the Senate Judiciary Committee years ago and know him to be a smart public servant who is trying to make policy that will help people. The harassment he has received is the reason why many intelligent and talented individuals choose not to enter into public service. It is a disgrace that some groups and individuals have targeted Chairman Pai in a way that step over the line of advocacy and into the realm of intimidation.

I have had my disagreements with the FCC and believe that the commencement of rule making process to change the Citizens Radio Broadband Service (CRBS) is a mistake that will hurt rural Americans. But I plan on keeping my criticism based in fact and reasoned argument. The FCC has done some great work to date, even with the wrong-headed proposed change to CRBS rules, and Chairman Pai, as well as other FCC commissioners, should be treated with respect while disagreeing with a policy decision of the commission.

Americans live in a country with freedom of the press and the right to dissent. When that dissent steps over the line, people engaging in heated rhetoric should be called out.

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