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When is it okay to scream?

Picture of Kim Coleman

Kim Coleman

Vice Chair for the Utah Republican Party

There is a great deal of talk these days about lack of civility in the public sphere. Commentators decry harshness of tone. Local newspapers editorialize about it. Utah’s governor has made it his stock-in-trade, go-to theme. Anyone who does not go along is an outlier, a barbarian, quite possibly an insurrectionist.

 

We who struggle with accepting this universal call for civil passivity find ourselves isolated, or so it would seem. I am one of the outliers, one of those who seems incapable of assuming conscientious objector status in what is undeniably a war for our nation’s soul. Why?

 

Let me take you back in time to when I was a teenager. One afternoon, as I readied myself for that evening’s swing shift, a knock came at our front door. Though hurried, I threw open the door for who I thought would be a family member from a few doors down. Instead, it was a man, a stranger.

 

He told me his car had broken down and he needed to use our phone (cell phones were not yet ubiquitous.) I could see his vehicle was a newer model, which gave me pause, and I pushed the door mostly closed before apologetically suggesting he find another phone. I went to close and lock the door but he used his foot to block me and force open the door.

 

I backed away as he slowly advanced toward me. I had no means for processing what was happening or why I was almost paralyzed. (Years later would I would learn that “freeze” can supplant fight and flight in moments of panic.) I didn’t scream. I didn’t run. I couldn’t even process a defense. I tried reasoning with him that he should leave, threatening to go get my father if he didn’t. He told me he had carefully tracked my family’s daily routine and knew that I was alone. The next few seconds would replay a million times in my mind as both a recurring nightmare and a great blessing.

 

I ran into my parents’ bedroom and deadbolted the door. To this day, I thank God that my father had taken a rare sick day and was sound asleep. I woke him up and he quickly confronted and expelled the intruder.

 

Even after the stranger left, I’m not sure I fully internalized what had been about to happen. My near miss became more terrifying much later as I gained life experience and studied criminology. But that evening, I could only tell my coworkers that a strange thing happened.

 

Even now, I wonder at my predisposition toward politeness and apology to a man who clearly intended me harm. Putting aside my cognitive fog in the moment, I think it is deeply ingrained in most of us to be polite, to avoid conflict, to peacefully resolve disagreements and to lean toward peace and comfort. Many of us are willing to defer and compromise to achieve those goals.

 

So much has been written and said lately about the terrible state of political discourse and its coarseness, its rudeness, its lack of respect and regard for one another. Blame has been placed on overly zealous beliefs, social media, polarizing algorithms, us vs them-ism, extremism, talk radio, partisan cable news and an overall culture of contempt. The polls are clear – most people long for unity and reduced political tension.

 

But what happens when the threat is real? In my case years ago, should I have opted for respectful dialogue and to “disagree better” with the would-be attacker in my living room?

 

So, when is it okay to scream? When is it okay to condemn attacks? When can we call an enemy an enemy? When can we fight back? How long must we maintain our aspirational notions of respectful discourse and pleasant interaction when our adversary clearly intends to destroy our beliefs and way of life?

 

Is it coincidence that almost all condemnation of harsh political speech is directed at the Right? Or is it really a means of suppressing and chilling the speech of anyone who rejects today’s dominant narrative as “reported” in the media?

 

Are current calls to detoxify our political discourse aimed at treating symptoms while ignoring the underlying disease?

 

When many of us resisted government mandates to force-mask our children or experimentally vaccinate our loved ones, I don’t recall a lot of “disagreeing better” coming at us from officialdom or the other side. I do recall having my intelligence and parental fitness questioned by the compliant many and their government lackeys.

 

When many of us warned that shutdowns would do far more harm than good, I don’t recall the other side “reaching across the aisle” to hold “constructive dialogue.” I do recall increased vitriol and insults.

 

To me, our current state is unprecedented. Utah Republicans, holding supermajorities in both house and senate, plus the Governor’s office, still have struggled with the basics – to protect children against non-consensual mutilation and sterilization, to protect girls from biological males in sports and shared bathrooms, and to remove pornographic materials from school libraries.

 

How is this possible?

 

But now we are to believe that the answer is in greater civility and less division? How do parents “disagree better” with a school superintendent who refuses to remove porn from schools and promotes a principal caught on video implementing Maoist doctrine designed to destroy the bond between parent, child and family? 

 

At what point has one met one’s duty to remain kind and compromising? My faith calls upon me to exercise great tolerance regarding my enemies and obliges me to forgive. But how does that work when evil not only comes to our door, but advances into our living room? When the struggle for me, my family, my community, my nation is existential against a foe that seeks utter annihilation of it all, what does a more civil dialogue sound like?

 

We all hope for peace and harmony. But changing vocal tones, words and demeanor will not ward off an attack or repel an enemy, and there is no inherent virtue in not designating a foe as such. Calls to love your enemy doesn’t mean he is not still an enemy.

 

Recently I attended an event where Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody was presented with the “Iron Lady Award.” In her acceptance speech she quoted a favorite poem of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The poem is No Enemies, by Charles Mackay:

 

You have no enemies, you say?

Alas, my friend, the boast is poor.

He who has mingled in the fray

of duty that the brave endure,

must have made foes.

If you have none, small is the work that you have done.

You’ve hit no traitor on the hip.

You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip.

You’ve never turned the wrong to right.

You’ve been a coward in the fight.

 

There is a long tradition of the language of fighting and war in the political arena. Elected officials are expected to fight for the things their voters believe. Fight for a better economy. Fight for our families. Fight for our freedom. Fight for our rights. Fight for our Country. Fight for our future. And in battle there are allies and enemies.

 

No doubt there are times and places in which we exercise our better angels to love our enemies, turn a cheek, work for compromise and harmony, disagree better, respect each other, and be kind.

 

But not when the enemies of faith, family and freedom are at our door, seeking entry into our homes. These enemies do want to destroy America as we know it. And here they come, forcing their way into our living rooms. There is no time for a soft response in the face of pure evil. We must not allow ourselves be shamed or deceived into losing sight of that fact.

 

 

16 thoughts on “When is it okay to Scream?”

  1. Wow! Wow! WOW!!!
    Kim, I couldn’t agree with you more.
    You are so awake and full of knowledge of the truth!
    We are to “love our enemies” only to the point of telling them the truth and pointing out evil. When they choose to not accept the truth, as the Bible tells us, turn away and shake the dirt from your shoes.
    That’s when I join with Michael the Arch Angel to fight against evil! 🇺🇸💪🏼🙏

  2. I have often wondered what exactly did God mean when he said to love your enemies. Enemies are out to steal, kill and destroy. It is a fight for life, property and freedom. It is a fight the enemy engages. The rule book changes when one is engaged in a fight and especially in a war IF ONE MUST WIN. Tactics of victory are intimidation, identifying your enemy, isolating it, and then targeting it with appropriate action.

    Therefore, I disagree with this statement in the article:

    “ But changing vocal tones, words and demeanor will not ward off an attack or repel an enemy, . . . “. Maybe I read this part wrong.

    Democrats have perfected these Saul Alinsky tactics for evil whether they realize their evilness or not. I do not see anything good in our current Democrat Party.

    If these tactics are used for GOOD even as Jesus used them it is NOT in violation of the scripture “love your enemies.” Peace among men/nations is through strength and unity is only in truth.

    Evil has encroached upon ALL our institutions. PEACE CANNOT BE OUR IMMEDIATE GOAL and we should not unite with that goal at such a time as this.

    We must unite with our “sheep dogs” like Mike Lindell, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Green, Steve Bannon, James O’Keefe, Glenn Beck, Catherine Englebrecht, Tom Fitton, Natalie Cline, Jason and Alexia Preston, President TRUMP who have been sounding the alarm in this day; with whistleblowers, countless military and first responders. Let’s stop criticizing them and unite with them.

    President Trump has won many fights against evil. We successfully closed the borders, brought manufacturing back, raised the standard of living for the lower and middle class of all races, held back war, brought peace in the Middle East and so much more. We are ignorant for criticizing President Trump.

    Our DOJ, DOD, DOE, FBI are our enemies of evil. Many of our judges are our enemies of evil. Our mainstream media, and social media are our enemies of evil.

    Our greatest enemy however has proven to be the compliant, lukewarm and ignorant church leaders of all denominations. They are supposed to be watchmen, the bearers of truth the foundation that affects culture for good. Instead they are irrelevant, siding at times with evil.

    Our immediate goal must be VICTORY over evil. We must intentionally refocus our lives, our fortunes and ourselves for good. It is God’s will that we take action.

    1. Right there with you, Catherine! Peace through Strength has been President Trump’s mantra. This was very powerfully iterated. Hurrah to you

  3. This is absolutely spot on Kim! I think of our founding fathers and had they not stood with anger and righteous indignation against their enemies, would we all be speaking this King’s English today? It is my belief that the hand of God led these great men and women to victory in spite of being outmanned, underfunded and less experienced than the great British army and navy. Today we face the same challenge only we fight against the propaganda media arm of the deep state, wokism, trolls and whatever else there is in our way. Socialist Libs and RINOs, Snowflakes among our rising generation can be daunting roadblocks.
    We need to take upon us the Whole armor of God and follow the precepts of the Title of Liberty-
    As Ulysses S Grant stated at the beginning of the Civil War- “ There are no political parties- only traitors and patriots”. Where are we standing??

  4. Those who insist on maintaining civility at all costs value style over substance. It will be the death of us.

    Even Jesus got angry on occasion, at one point throwing aside tables in the temple.

    Thank you Kim.

  5. I am so grateful for this. I agree 100%. Loving your enemies and overcoming your enemies is a contrary that our society struggles with. Thank you for putting this into words to help us all make sense of the thoughts that we’ve been thinking the whole time. Fully support you Kim! Always have.

  6. Thank you for saying so well what so many of us are thinking! My question now is – when do we recognize that our political, legal battles (playing nice!) are going to be fruitless? There is so much power against us ( MSM, Democrat controlled governments, academia in it’s entirety, social media, etc., etc., etc.) I don’t know we prevail without much more serious measures! Remember how it was a foregone conclusion that the GOP would gain power in 2022 with landslide victories? And how we lost the senate and BARELY gained control the house? Democrat election fraud and media manipulation have changed the outcome of elections and will continue to do so, because those in power want to retain that power! Those in power make the rules, Constitution be damned!

    Ben Franklin said “you have a republic, if you can keep it!” I wonder, have we already lost it?…

  7. Kim,

    Great article that everyone in this state needs to read. We have a right to scream as often as we want. How to with disagree better with people like Joe Puppet Biden and all those on the left who are seeking to remake America. A definite topic for my radio talk show.

    Rod A.

  8. I received your newsletter today and read the posts and accompanying comments. It made me sad. I happen to be extremely impressed with Governor Cox. I greatly appreciate Senator Romney who dares to identify both strengths and weaknesses within his party. My children attended Jordan School District and now my grandchildren do, and I have never seen a school district do so much for the benefit of their students. I feel they could be a standard for caring and professionalism for school districts throughout the nation. You have maligned and cast disparagement upon a whole institution and thousands of employees who are both courageous and dedicated to the welfare of children. You promote you have all the facts, that nothing was done, and no changes were made. What was the real motive behind your posts?
    I would suppose that those who are still spinning the lie that the election was stolen did not watch the hearings when it was their privilege to do so. I am proud of Georgia officials who followed their consciences and maintained their oaths of office to honor and sustain the law, even putting at risk their political futures and the well-being of their families. I tirelessly promote that “yelling” and contention are not the means to promote positive outcomes. Both religion and science provide overwhelming evidence that contention is not good for us or for those around us. Do we need to have difficult conversations? We do. But they can be done with civility. Fearmongering won’t be the means of unifying the Republican Party but rather hasten its demise. Winning at all costs is too great a cost.
    I am impressed with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who encourage their members to vote for individuals with integrity and good moral values rather than vote straight party. I expect more from a party that claims to be God-fearing. Did you request an interview to learn more? All these articles infer that you knew all the extenuating facts as you became both judge and jury.
    I am ashamed of those in Utah who harassed Dr. Angela Dunn, our state’s epidemiologist, who followed her conscience and evidence-based research to keep Utahns safe and healthy during the pandemic. I am ashamed of those who booed fellow Republicans because of differences of opinion at a Utah Republican Convention. Such actions are condescending, bad form, and politically inspired. Throughout my life, I have been amazed at what can happen when we are willing to visit with individuals one on one, share our thoughts, and see what is good and noble along with what we feel strongly needs to change. Parents need to stand up for their children and their communities, but we all need to set our own homes in order, be better examples of good citizenship, and take primary responsibility for teaching our children values, the importance of good character, and brotherly kindness. I am so sorry for your harrowing and horrible experience with that intruder. It is a good thing to question our children about what they are being taught and do all we can in peaceful and legal ways to influence others for good. But, let’s not become aggressive and militant. I like the words of Paul as he describes those who are in the best position to help those who are out of the way. It is those “who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.”
    https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders/2023/6/6/23751117/first-presidency-letter-emphasizes-participation-in-elections-reaffirms-political-neutrality?fbclid=IwAR0kRqUPJ3XTg7s1sfN76xSrOcX8T-nd-36CPveFCnkoZ64GpOqH-qxQkbk

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