Have politics in U.S. become too angry, hateful?
Columnist Jesse Mathewson sits outside his Sierra Vista, Arizona home. The town is one of the closest to the Mexican border.
January 12th, 2011
10:13 AM ET

Have politics in U.S. become too angry, hateful?

The question is echoing this week, after Tucson area Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters that words used in political debate have gone too far and can lead to unbalanced individuals erupting in violence.

But how can you honestly answer such a subjective question?

In a three-part series, CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins speaks to people from the right and the left who use strong and sometimes extreme words against each other, including Jesse Mathewson, a columnist in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Mathewson calls himself a pacifist but has used some extreme words in his opposition to border protection groups, including the Minuteman Civil Defense Project. He has called their founder, Chris Simcox, a "racist bigot."

Desjardins also talks to an expert in extreme speech to find out more about how, and to measure, the way society and individuals talk.

Listen to the first piece in the series here:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S.
soundoff (545 Responses)
  1. sweepkeep


    January 13, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jorge

    The political atmosphere in this country is simply a reflection of a historically prevailing social theme that has come to a point. We have lived by a culture of aggression and 'might makes right' for the longest time, only when we see that someone has overstepped the obvious bounds of decency, or in hindsight, do we take pause in our culture of proud ferocity and patriotic reactionism. From the politics of 'Manifest Destiny' that wreaked havoc through the Native American nations and the Hispanic Americas, through Jim Crow, the School of the Americas and My Lai, to the glamourisation of gangs, organized crime and bloodsports in the contemporary media, this country has always gone by the idea of gain by the closed fist as an unspoken rule, that this latest eruption from our cauldron of national passions elicits our revulsion is coincidental the death of an innocent American child. That it elicits self-righteous indignation from those who wish to call themselves absolute proud patriots, purely hypocritical and naive. There is a price for everything.

    January 13, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
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