And by digital, I refer to two specific digits. Following in the footsteps of DNC chair Tom Perez, outgoing California Democratic chair John Burton offered a foul-mouthed tirade at the party’s convention this weekend, complete with a two-finger display of defiance of Donald Trump. The Sacramento Bee notes that this is nothing new for Burton, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was also on stage, caught in some pictures laughing and cheering Burton:
The anti-Trump fervor at California’s Democratic Party convention this weekend can be summarized in choice words from outgoing chair of the California Democratic Party, John Burton: “F*%! Donald Trump.”
The always foul-mouthed Burton, 84, stood before thousands of Democratic delegates at Saturday’s general assembly and as a rallying cry asked the crowd to join in. He then shoved two fists in the air, flipping the bird. Across the room at the Sacramento Convention Center, others onstage and in the audience followed suit.
Onstage were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, Rep, Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, state Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and others.
According to both the Bee and BizPac Review, Burton appeared to be paid by the curse word. The convention replaced Burton, but from the display that sufficed as his valediction to the California Democratic Party, it doesn’t appear that the adults will get back onto the stage in future events. It’s as if the entire leadership of the California Democratic Party had gotten caught in an arrested adolescence, still hoping to shock the grown-ups by using filthy language and still not realizing they have nothing else to say that is worth anyone’s attention.
“F*** [fill in the leader]” is not an agenda. It’s a petulant whine. Normally, we’d expect that from high-school and college students living in their own little bubbles, not from people who are trying to make the case that they can be trusted to run the country. And yet more and more Democrats have begun to wallow in expletives and coarseness rather than address the issues, apparently in the belief that it’s Trump’s bluntness that won him the election. Instead, it comes across much more clearly as a middle finger to voters middle America, who have no love at all for college students and their special-snowflake protests, but at least might excuse it as youthful indiscretions. Pelosi, Perez, Kirsten Gillibrand, and other Democratic leaders hardly have that excuse.
On Twitter and elsewhere, conservatives marveled at how that would have been received had Republicans flipped off Obama and derided him with epithets. That kind of what-aboutism misses the point. As one party indulges this deeply unserious and idiotic behavior, they encourage more of it from all sides. The discourse in our political cultures has declined rapidly enough as it is, and our media and entertainment cultures have led the way for it. At some point in the future, if we stay on this path, we’ll end up with a political culture where grunts and rude gestures matter more than policy, a game in which the side that can produce the most gross bodily noises wins. In short, we’ll be stuck in a perpetual middle-school playground, only the bullies that come after your school lunch will have the IRS to back them up.
Rather than end up with Moose as our tax collector, perhaps we can make one demand of our political leadership: Grow up and act like ladies and gentlemen.