Musician Ted Nugent is known for speaking his mind about the Second Amendment and hunting, but especially on politicians. He once said then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama should “suck my machine gun.” When President Obama was running for reelection in 2012, the rocker said during the National Rifle Association convention that, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The statement attracted the attention of the Secret Service.
But after Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice, Nugent has decided to be “more selective with my rants and in my words.”
“At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms,” he said on the 77 WABC radio program Thursday. “I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends, slash, enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”
“I’m not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore.”
More recently his past comments about Obama and Hillary Clinton (“Obama & Clinton, that’s who. They should be tried for treason & hung.”) were invoked as what some saw as the right’s hypocritical outrage over images of Kathy Griffin holding a mask of a bloody, severed head in the likeness of President Trump.
Nugent’s change of heart comes as some Republicans and Democrats have also called for more civil political discourse. (Meanwhile, the Internet’s pro-Trump personalities blamed the attack on liberals and the media).
Theodore Anthony Nugent is coming to the table just a little late. He has been a leader in right wing, inappropriate remarks. There has been too much water over the dam for him to be taking the high road. He has been extreme, violent and distasteful in his political remarks. On the other hand, it’s not too late for anyone to change. Let’s see what kind of role model Nugent becomes.
Many of us who some might consider left have been howling about hateful political rhetoric. I have especially been pointed at some of the talk that is hurled at those who perform abortion services. I can think of at least 4 providers who have been shot and killed, with George Tiller being the most recent. Tiller was killed in his church by a gunman who had been incited by strong anti abortion rhetoric.
It’s one thing to address policy differences. It’s another thing to speak in terms of violence, especially when said violence directed at individuals. Speech sometimes leads to actions, especially when people get worked up enough.
Everyone needs to do his or her part to help create a more peaceful society. I hope that others will follow Nugent’s soon-to-be example. If we are thinking violent thoughts about someone politically, those thoughts just need to stay in our heads.