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1 year ago

The Resistance, Kathy Griffin and the Death of Civility (Opinion)

By Chris Reid

At no time since the Civil War began has our country seen this level of partisan tension.  In a survey done in 1960, less than 10 percent of Americans said they would have a problem marrying someone from the other political party. In 2010, that number shot up to nearly 50 percent.  According to Shanto Iyengar, a professor of political science at Stanford University, “In the 1950s and 1960s party affiliation made virtually no difference to interpersonal relations.” However, since the divisive 2016 election, partisan tensions have begun dramatically affecting our lives. From couples divorcing and friendships ending to widespread boycotts and politically inspired acts of violence, D.C.’s political climate has created undoubted turmoil across the country.

The New York Times wrote an article entitled “Political Divide Splits Relationships – and Thanksgiving, Too.” In this article, family after family is ripped apart by the election. One daughter described in the article calls and forbids her parents from seeing their grandchildren ever again due to political differences. One man’s mother claims she, “no longer had a son.” While each family has their own unique history, there is one constant in each story listed in the article. In every case it was the Trump Supporter who was singled out and cut off from the rest of the family. In the article, the Times points out, “Democrats have dug in their heels, and in some cases are refusing to sit across the table from relatives who voted for President-elect Donald J. Trump.”

Democrats had their fair share of boycotts during the election. In Detroit, Democrats singled out Don Studvent, owner of the restaurant 1917, for catering a breakfast for Donald Trump, Jr. Though Studvent is a Clinton supporter and has signs supporting her outside his restaurant, he had only two tables filled during what he says was his busiest lunch hour. Studvent argues that the choice to cater for Donald Trump, Jr., was strictly business and that he “can’t take sides” when dealing with his business because he has employees to pay.

The politically inspired boycotts did not end on election night. One political activist group, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, is attempting to sway the future of healthcare through boycotts. The group calls for the boycott of any restaurant that allows a Congress member who voted to repeal Obamacare to eat. Scott Dworkin, an adviser to group said, “Restaurants who don’t ban Members will be boycotted by D.C. residents and close down. We’ve done it before – It worked.”

While anecdotal, the above examples give a glimpse into the lack of civility seen throughout our country. In some instances, such political hostility has been known to evoke violence. For example, in Chicago, four teens tortured a mentally disabled teen (who supported Trump) on Facebook Live. Reportedly, the teens threatened the boy with a knife and forced him to drink toilet water. While an incident like this is rare, it is emblematic of the partisan tension that has taken hold of our society. Recently Kathy Griffith went so far as to hold a severed head of the president, which was the most disgusting act I have seen a comedian commit and thankfully she was fired from her job at CNN.

The solution to the problem of partisan tension isn’t that we all must agree with each other. Americans have always had a diversity of viewpoints on issues, and that is the mark of a free society. However, we cannot subscribe to the mindset that because someone has a different viewpoint that makes them not worthy of our respect or friendship. Many people create their views honestly, after having given it much thought, and it is foolish for us to demand that people in our lives see the world as we do. Personally, some of the best friendships I have had were with people who didn’t believe virtually anything I did. What was great about those friendships is that we actually challenged each other by listening to one other’s viewpoints.

There is so much we can learn from each other if we stop yelling and start listening. Listening doesn’t mean we compromise our principles or our faith. Rather it means that we have chosen to show respect to one other and demonstrate that even though we disagree we can still show we care. I once heard a pastor say, “No one cares what you say until they know that you care,” and that is how we can heal partisan tension. If you really want to persuade people to your way of thinking, first listen to what they have to say and show them you care. I promise they will be much more open to what you have to say. Don’t miss out on quality friendships because of different worldviews. Treat people well no matter what they believe, understanding that they may or may not come around to your point of view. We must remember that being a good friend is more important than being right, so let’s all do our part to show respect to each other and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

About the author: A Guest Contributor, Mr. Reid is general practice attorney in Birmingham Alabama. He has worked for Republican leadership in the United State House of Representatives in Washington, DC, and was a health policy advisor to the Governor of Alabama. You can contact him by email at chris.reid@reidlawalabama.comor by phone at 205-913-7406. A description of his practice areas is available at

Editor’s Note: The opinions of our Guest Contributors do not neccessarily reflect the views of Yellowhammer.

5 hours ago

Backed by Alfa, Rick Pate rolls to victory in Alabama ag commissioner race

Lowndesboro Mayor Rick Pate on Tuesday survived late-campaign attack ads dredging up a three-decade-old divorce to claim the Republican nomination for Alabama commissioner of agriculture and industries.

Pate defeated state Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) with about 57 percent of the vote. With no Democrat on the ballot in November, Pate is all but assured of succeeding Republican incumbent John McMillan, who is term-limited.

“We thought we would win,” Pate told “We had the right message. I am a farmer and a businessman. I thought that is what people would want.”


Dial made it to the runoff after running light-hearted ads featuring a catchy jingle proclaiming, “It’s Dial time.” Trailing by a significant margin, however, Dial went negative this month.

Ads by Dial’s campaign referenced a 1986 divorce petition filed by Pate’s ex-wife, Carolyn, that accused Pate of domestic violence.

Pate hotly disputed the allegation.

“I denied that then and I deny that now,” he told the Decatur Daily earlier this month.

Pate told the paper that he and his ex-wife now exchange Christmas cards and that she wrote a note in May explaining that she and her ex-husband hurled hurtful words at one another at the end of what had been a good marriage.

Pate had the backing of powerful agriculture and business interests, including the Alabama Farmers Federation, or Alfa. The group’s political action committee donated nearly $100,000 in cash and in-kind donations. That was nearly a fifth of Pate’s total.

Pate also racked up endorsements from the Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Forestry Association, the Associated General Contractors of Alabama and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, among others.

The Lowndesboro mayor, who owns a cattle ranch and runs a landscaping company, pledged to use the department to help farmers improve productivity.

Pate also promised to attack “over-regulation,” taxes and barriers to investment. He pointed out on his campaign website that some have estimated that food production will have to double by 2050 to meet worldwide demand.

It will take “visionary leaders who understand that we have to work smarter, not just harder, to achieve these goals,” according to the website.

Pate’s victory was broad. He won 59 counties — including Choctaw by a single vote — compared to just seven that went to Dial, who even lost his home base in Clay County.

The loss means Dial, come next year, will be out of elective office for the first time in 44 years.

@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”


5 hours ago

Ainsworth defeats Cavanaugh in Lt. Gov runoff election

After a long and hotly contested race, the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor in Alabama has been decided. Will Ainsworth defeated Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh in Tuesday night’s runoff election.

With 99 percent reporting, Ainsworth defeated Cavanaugh with a little more than ten thousand votes. Ainsworth received 51 percent of the vote, leaving Cavanaugh with 49 percent.

Ainsworth issued a tweet thanking those who supported and voted for him saying, “This is your victory as much as ours.”


Ainsworth also used the hashtag #ANewDayForAlabama in his first tweet since becoming the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor of Alabama.

Ainsworth mentioned his opponent as he spoke after the election results were revealed and said that he looked forward to working with her in the future.

Cavanaugh conceded around 9:30 p.m., saying,”He ran a strong race — Will Ainsworth — and he now, I hope, will go on to be our next lieutenant governor here in the state of Alabama.”

Ainsworth will now square off with Democrat Will Boyd in November.

6 hours ago

Steve Marshall beats Troy King in heated attorney general runoff

Alabama Republicans have chosen their candidate for attorney general: incumbent Steve Marshall.

Marshall beat his Republican competitor former attorney general Troy King in Tuesday’s primary election runoff, winning 62 percent of the vote as of 9:30 p.m., with 92 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

A last-minute endorsement by close Trump ally Roger Stone proved unable to deliver King a victory in what became at times both a heartbreaking and heated campaign.


Marshall and King both temporarily suspended their campaigns in late June, following the tragic death of Marshall’s wife, Bridgette.

In the race’s final weeks, King argued that Marshall’s acceptance of campaign contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association was an infraction of Alabama’s campaign finance laws. He filed a lawsuit in Montgomery Circuit Court against Marshall last week, but a judge dismissed the case.

Marshall faces Democrat Joseph Siegelman in November’s general election.

11 hours ago

Live blog: Alabama votes — Runoff Returns

The state of Alabama (well, likely an “extraordinarily low” percentage) is voting Tuesday, July 14.

The lieutenant governor race pits Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh against Will Ainsworth in the runoff, while incumbent AG Steve Marshall squares off with former AG Troy King for attorney general. Also on today’s ballot, Martha Roby faces Bobby Bright for House District 2 and the race for commissioner of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries between Gerald Dial and Rick Pate.


Update 9:40:
It’s no longer Dial time

Update 9:22:

Update 9:08:
Still a tight one for Cavanaugh and Ainsworth

Update 9:05:
A touching tribute

Update 9:01:

Down goes the King

Update 8:36:

AP calls House District 2 for Roby. She will face Tabitha Isner in November

Update 8:22:

NY Times has Roby 19,651 (67.2%) and Bright 9,599 (32.8%)

Update 8:15:

Update 7:48:

Marshall party enjoying the MLB All-Star Game

Update 7:40:

Update 7:25:

Per Montgomery Advertiser:
Lt. Gov race is a tight one.
Ainsworth: 105
Cavanaugh: 104

AG race also close early on.
Marshall: 125
King: 93

AG Commissioner close early.
Pate: 108
Dial: 96

NY Times shows big lead early for Roby in House District 2:
Roby: 261
Bright: 101

Update 7:00:

Polls are closed. Now we wait as results come in.

Update 6:50 p.m.:

Listen Live: Yellowhammer’s Jeff Poor and Dale Jackson on with Mobile FM Talk 106.5’s Sean Sullivan 8-10 p.m. at

Preview stories:

Five things to watch for on Runoff Election Night
The anatomy of races for attorney general and House District 2: What a win might mean
Here are the Alabama candidates who won the money race ahead of runoff

13 hours ago

Republicans don’t have to oppose Trump because he refuses to admit Russia meddled and wanted him to win

Russia meddled in the 2016 election and President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence acknowledges it. Russia wanted Trump to win, Russian President Vladimir Putin even admitted it. This does not mean there was collusion, it does not mean the election was stolen, and it doesn’t mean you have to support Hillary Clinton in 2020 or Democrats in 2018. It also doesn’t mean I, nor anyone else, has to second guess our reasoning for voting for Trump in 2016.

My reasoning was the open Supreme Court seat that would become Neal Gorsuch’s and the one that will become Brett Kavanaugh’s. A good friend of mine messaged me last night taunting me about Trump’s performance at the Trump/Putin press conference:


You know what, it was.

But the game here is quite simple: Putin wanted Trump over Hillary, therefore you shouldn’t have.

The problem with that is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are actually to blame for all the problems that are being brought to bear today, and Trump fails to acknowledge that.

Take this by former Congressman Mike Rogers (not Alabama’s) Tweet as a guide:

Let’s check the timeline…

— Waged continuous & increasingly aggressive cyber attacks against us – 2015(?)-present
— Interfered in our 2016 elections – 2015-2016
— Annexed Crimea – 2014
— Shot down a civilian airliner – 2014
— Supports Assad in Syria – 2013
— Invaded our ally Georgia – 2008
— Murdered opponents in London – 2018

A grand total of one of those events started during Trump’s term.

More interestingly, the media, Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continued to act as if Russia was an ally — or at best a nuisance.

Clinton offered a reset button:

Obama asked for space so he could win an election:

How is it that Trump’s failure to call out Russia’s acts before he was president is ushering in a more powerful Russian Federation, but years of straight-up weakness should have been rewarded with a third-term for team Obama? It makes no sense.

Now, I have been clear, President Trump should acknowledge Russian-meddling, but that meddling does not de-legitimize his win. He needs to acknowledge this, but so do his opponents.

There is more to the world than our relationship with Russia. The economy matters, the Supreme Court matters, controlling our borders matters, and no one can tell you that your choice in 2016 was wrong because Obama failed to do his job.