The invective, the vitriol, the sheer passionate hatred that seems to be simmering like steam from a pressure cooker under the politics of this election season, has it always been this way, or is it worse now than it has ever been?
All of the genocide in the 20th Century began with words, with propaganda that first disenfranchised a section of the population, and ultimately cast them as evil parasites that threatened the supporting pillars of civilization. It's easier to send someone to the gas chamber when you think they're less than human. Rob them of their dignity and rights, then send them off to the camps.
We live in an Orwellian nightmare where politicians speak in elaborate codewords and phrases, and leave it to the faithful to decrypt. Hypocrisy is policy: double-speak, disinformation and propaganda, the old tools with which we fought communism, are now freely employed against Americans. If we're not with you, we're traitors, unAmerican. I'm a uniter, not a divider, and if you don't unite with me, then, well, you're unAmerican. And of course, anyone who chafes at being demonized is going to react. And so the cycle turns.
For a moving and persuasive comparison/contrast of the DNC and RNC keynote speakers, see Andrew Sullivan's blog. Scroll down the page to the Zell Miller entries.