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Port: On Brandon, and whether or not he should go

Think of it this way: If you see or hear something that makes you upset, that's just an example of the First Amendment working as intended.

Noem Let's Go.jpg
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is shown holding up a "Let's Go Brandon" T-shirt with South Dakota businessman and Noem supporter Terry Schultz at a recent event. Photo from Terry Schultz's Twitter feed

MINOT, N.D. — I don't need to fill you in on the "Let's go Brandon" chants or what they're "code" for.

The debate they've engendered is whether or not they should be allowed, and the answer to that is of course they should. If we can't insult our President, then we aren't the country we aspire to be.

Enacting reprisals against people who insult Dear Leader, be it through official government channels or the actions of social media posses out for revenge, is the stuff of authoritarian regimes and the cults of personality they cultivate around their heads of state.

We live in America, not North Korea.

READ MORE FROM ROB PORT

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Besides, name-calling, for all the pearl-clutching it evokes, is a proud tradition that dates back to the Founders.
John Adams was called, during the election of 1800, a "bald, blind, crippled, toothless man" who was "importing mistresses from Europe" when he wasn't trying to marry off one of his sons to a daughter of King George. A surrogate for Thomas Jefferson also referred to Adams as a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

The Adams camp, for their part, suggested that if Jefferson won the election, robbery, rape, murder, and incest would be "openly taught and practiced."

These attacks on two great men of honor and character were abhorrent, of course, though possessed of a degree of creativity and eloquence missing from the "Let's go Brandon" stuff, which smacks of a bunch of middle schoolers calling one another "ass," offering giggling disclaimers that it's not profane because they mean "donkey" and not, you know, a butt.

George W. Bush was called Chimpy McHitlerburton.

Barack Obama was lampooned by a rodeo clown .

The oranged-tinted blimp baby that was used to mock Donald Trump is now in a museum .

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If I have a criticism of the "let's go Brandon" stuff, beyond the fact that it's as vacuous a slogan as it is puerile and juvenile, is that the people deploying it lack the courage of their convictions.

If you want to say "f--- Joe Biden ," just say it, you cowards.

One of the punditocracy's favorite tropes is the supposed "coarsening" of American politics, a thing they contribute to as often as they disdain it. The "let's go Brandon" stuff has the left clutching their pearls now that they've conveniently forgotten the many rhetorical outrages they perpetrated on people like Sen. Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan .

When Trump was in office it was the right fainting into the bushes when the mean people said mean things.

And so it goes.

The most confounding thing about this whole sorry episode, aside from the depressing amount of media coverage it has received, is that everyone is fine with insults as long as they're not directed at their preferred candidates and leaders.

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Hypocrisy abounds, my friends.

Decorum and respectful dialogue should be the hallmarks of politics, but there's never really been a time when that was true. We should still strive that ideal, sure, but the sausage-making of politics has always been a dirty business, and we should also stop feigning surprise and outrage when it continues to be thus.

Think of it this way: If you see or hear something that makes you upset, that's just an example of the First Amendment working as intended.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a columnist and podcast host for the Forum News Service. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com.
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