Dogs Bark. The Caravan Rolls On.

After Hamas attacked Israel, it took no foresight to know that America’s much vaunted First Amendment was going to get a harder workout. Not from informed debate, which assumes both parties can actually support their positions. But from the decline of discourse in our nation.

Long before the October 7th attacks on Israeli kibbutzim, American tolerances regarding the extent of rhetoric were steadily assaulted by right-wingers. Freedom of speech burdens levelheaded Americans with radio programs hosted by endless processions of barking heads. Men predominate behind mics in sulphureous studios. They ceaselessly blast skepticism about vital institutions and honorable people working towards a fairer and just America. The listeners of such verbal sewage, already resistant to a more inclusive nation, receive it as kittens lapping up curdled cream.

Afterwards, television shows packed with panels of rage farmers present the sort of skewed reportage whose portrayals further confirm the false fears of witless viewers desirous of being frightened. Now thanks to social media, Americans are besieged by utterly guileless expressions of groundless bile by the needlessly aggrieved who’ve been convinced to regard themselves as having been rendered part of some destined to be replaced “second class.”

Not second class, friends. Just classless.

Paul Harvey, Bob Grant, and William Buckley now come across as philosophers out of Ancient Greece compared to the knucklehead chatter currently passing as erudition.

Some history here: Harvey was a conservative radio raconteur. A right-leaning radio talker, Grant once heated up Metropolitan New York airwaves. His bombast entertained while it bludgeoned.

Unlike today’s shrill advocates, Grant let opposing voices have their say. He let those listeners present their points. Then he replied. Of the countless right-wing radio barking heads continuously polluting the ether, can any one of them be envisioned having confidence enough in his argument to allow contrary comments?

Each sees himself as a lead dog. All they want is the mongrel pack behind to follow in their pawprints.

Oh. And Buckley? A paragon of conservative ideology. The hem of which none of any currently professing themselves adherents of that now dubious field can touch.

Yes, there are several figures occupying the left whose rhetoric is just as stooge-slapping silly. At times almost surpassing the numbing dumbness heard from the spectrums opposite red-in-the-face end. But say this for them – for the most part they’re promoting positions whose results seek greater inclusiveness.

Yet the volume – volume as in amount and volume as in orneriness – predominantly blurts out of reactionary orifices.

Until October 7th.

After Hamas’ murder, rape, and kidnapping rampage inside Israel followed by the aggrieved nation’s response in Gaza, particularly myopic leftists and unformed students from our nation’s prestige groves of academe launched the sort of hold my beer speechifying and manifestations that astound in tone-deafness and willing blindness.

Let us admit, though, those of the unhinged left, misguided students, and clearly pro-Hamas supporters have done a wonderful job obscuring why Gazans are paying for Hamas’ terrorism. Shortly after Israel’s initial shock turned into justified rage, the Western cadres of equivalence no matter how ridiculous diminished the fates of murder, rape, and kidnap victims.

Instead, the outrageous narrative of outrage became 75 years of Palestinian victimhood. If it took terrorism for those of us in far less contentious circumstances to grasp the necessity of slaughter, sexual assault, and abduction of the innocent, then we should be grateful to Hamas for prying open our eyes.

Simplification exaggerates the horrible, doesn’t it? It should. In essence, though, that’s the gist behind keffiyeh wearing, Palestinian banner wavers who wish, no, demand, we ignore the dead, the abused, and the still missing. They’re immaterial since attention, discussion, concern of the Palestinians finally ought to overtake the respect and esteem Israel is held in much of the technological/industrial world.

Anybody who’s ever accomplished anything substantial during life won’t grudge Israel the above attributes. Only those who’ve sat on their tufts while bemoaning where their lack of initiative has stranded them can let envy simmer into jealousy that bubbles into hate.

The Palestinians will tell us they’ve been refugees for 75 years. That’s about three or four generations which have found a perverse welcome in remaining downtrodden. There’s nothing useful anybody in the West should be absorbing from this example.

Whenever the Palestinians’ self-perpetuated plight arises, Americans, at least, should recall a pair of distinct groups who endured worse. In their own nations, often perpetrated by their own countrymen.

American Southern blacks and World War II displaced persons. The sole commonality? Both reacted to the hostility of “home.”

Multitudes of Southern blacks saw they were never going to develop any economic, educational, or social muscle by remaining in Dixie. Industrial big city America needed hands, arms, backs, and legs to function and advance. While racial attitudes in the Northeast and Midwest were akin to those in the Old Confederacy, the financial possibilities made Northern prejudice preferable to staying poor and subjugated Down South.

Why, migrating north might’ve even chased some of the blues away.

The displaced persons’ positions were more precarious than that of American blacks. In much of the interwar Old World, fascist ideology trampled centuries of customs and culture. It encouraged then permitted neighbors to display their real faces. After such how there have been any reconciliation between hunters and targets?

To have remained would’ve needed maintaining constant fear and vigilance. What kind of existence would that have been?

Although World War II erased almost everything, and in innumerable instances, everyone else, the survivors still retained memories to warm them. As blacks an ocean away could’ve attested oral recollections have the power to restore and sustain. And move. When the present wasn’t viable in the Old, it served as enough motivation to strike out, to build safer havens in the New.

But there are Westerners who find something nebulously noble about the Palestinians’ one-note immobility. Especially the young. Probably some kind of knee-jerk response against authority. Until responsibility arrives in our lives, who doesn’t want to rebel against much of the conventional, that which has been accepted?

Americans are lucky. Earlier generations’ exertions rattled then dismantled hidebound notions that excluded too many of us from mainstream society. And the way it looks now Americans who’ll inherit this nation will be most adversely affected through their inaction. They may regress.

They may be returned to someone else’s “good old days.”

In our country, people who want to return others to their old places recognize the openings. They are exploiting them. Perhaps successor generations of Americans will have more in common with Palestinians than just affinity.

It could be. Some of the dumbest statements and behavior have issued from younger romantics enthralled by the “Palestinian cause.” They must’ve needed something into which to channel passion. Or something onto which to latch.

No Spanish Civil War. No civil rights movement. No ending the war in Vietnam. No equal rights movement. For them life has been pretty unruffled. Few furrowed brows for this bunch.

Though there’s nothing pleasant about Gazans being fed into Hamas’ grinder, it is pleasing to witness the blowback slapping pro-Hamas supporters. Righteous as they knew themselves, what could’ve surprised and deflated them faster than figures with the stature of the Sorcerer in Fantasia? Yes, that would make them Mickey Mouses.

The levels of reprehensibility exceeded by pro-Hamas supporters earned the punishments awarded. What excuse, what reasoning condones the marring of posters bearing the faces of kidnapped Israelis?

Therefore, if Hamas supporters are so blue-eyed to play down the killings on that October morning, to belittle or outright dismiss witness-based accusations, to somehow stand alongside beasts who’ve seized humans for ransom, then isn’t forfeiture of some kind in order?

Lose that job. Lose that invitation to join the prestige firm after graduating. Lose standing among friends. Lose privileges. Lose anonymity once one’s oration lurches from criticizing Israel’s government – fair game, by the way – into antisemitism.

Gain disdain. Freedom of speech has rewards. It also has consequences.

At least when right-wing hatemongers dispense outlandish diatribes to the deplorables, they’re aware society’s sane and sober will point out the fallacies shouted. But barking heads don’t care what clearsighted people think. Deplorables are their target audiences, not those who rightly despise what they’ve said.

Of course, the deplorables want red meat. Forget about it making any sense. The bloodier, the better.

As Joseph Goebbels is alleged to have remarked after his “total war” speech, “The idiots would’ve clapped at anything.”