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Commentary: Can everybody quit it with the death threats? And all the rest of the nonsense?

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Threats against public officials and everyone else have gotten out of hand. Here's a public plea calling for a truce. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Amy Kremer, co-chair of Women for Trump told "Fox & Friends" on Thursday that she received death threats after a recent appearance on CNN.

"I've gone on CNN for years," she said to the panel. "Last week, the hate was ratcheted up to a level I have not seen before."

That seems to be the trend in political rhetoric from all sides these days. In fact, sadly, it's become commonplace.

Threats to the right

Kremer discussed the impact such intimidation had on her and her loved ones.

"People need to calm down," she said, "I have a family and when my daughter heard this, it really upset her."

Fox News named off a litany of conservative women who have received abusive messages from leftists in past weeks. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were both harassed while simply trying to eat dinner. Florida attorney general Pam Bondi (R) was confronted by protesters at a movie theater.

Just two days ago, Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) told The Daily Caller that he received more death threats in 2017 than all the previous years he's served combined. Like it's a normal thing.

Schweikert said, "My fear is this is the playbook of a lot of our brothers and sisters on the left — they're going to get fringier and fringier, louder and louder, angrier and angrier, and as you know, we sometimes have some folks in our society who aren't completely healthy."

"And we had more death threats last year, in my office, even one towards my little girl, than we've ever had in all the other years combined and my fear is that this rage that is being generated for political turnout is actually becoming unhealthy for our political society."

Threats to the left

During the Obama Administration, a man was arrested by the FBI for not only threatening the life of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — but making dozens of calls to her personal residences in both California and D.C., as well as her husband's business office.

Pelosi seemed to dismiss the incident as a sign of the times with Obamacare being the issue at hand, saying simply, "people have been active in expressing their disagreement."

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta was heckled by Trump supporters at a rally on Monday night with chants of "Go home, Jim."

Fox News' Melissa Francis said of the incident on "Outnumbered," "I don't like what was done to Jim Acosta. I don't think that was fair or right."

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) announced Thursday that she's cancelling a number of speaking engagements because of the messages sent to her of late. Evidently no stranger to death threats herself, Waters became concerned from the responses she received after a video was recently released of her encouraging the harassment of Trump administration officials in public (see above).

While her calling for such behavior is obviously inappropriate (which is why she received public condemnation from both sides in the aftermath), her life shouldn't be threatened because of it.

Waters said in a statement on Thursday, "There was one very serious death threat made against me on Monday from an individual in Texas which is why my planned speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama were cancelled this weekend.

"This is just one in several very serious threats the United States Capitol Police is investigating in which individuals threatened to shoot, lynch, or cause me serious bodily harm."

Are the threats real, though?

Most of the examples cited above are from recent days. But just ask the victims of past political violence whether or not any and every threat should be taken seriously.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was nearly killed after being shot by a crazed lunatic while speaking to constituents at a public venue in 2011. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was nearly killed by another lunatic while practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game last year.

Sadly, so many in the public sphere have received death threats, it's become an epidemic impossible for law enforcement to fully investigate or contain. Politicians and celebrities aren't the only ones — just hitting the news can make your life a living hell in today's climate.

So what?

Is the United States a civilized nation? One has to ask, because it certainly doesn't seem like it, lately. Have we become so dumbed-down that we aren't capable of healthy debate, or of civil discourse?

This ill behavior is embarrassing to our country — and it's not just the crazies who make death threats (or worse). Businesses are being ruined by the right and the left, and political facets are even uniting to stifle speech with fake book reviews. Citizens are, in essence, looting their own neighbors without gain. Their own fellow Americans.

Somehow, being able to express one's opinions (mostly) anonymously and without accountability has brought emboldened keyboard gangsters and digital divas out of the woodwork. Those in the public eye have become used to it — and arguably signed up for it — but that doesn't make an individual necessarily immune to viral ridicule.

The fact that people's loved ones and livelihoods are often threatened because of their political views should be alarming to us all. Our country believes in free speech, and yes, with that its citizens must also be prepared for the consequences of expressing their perspectives publicly. It's another check and balance...free-market style, if you will.

What's become so obvious though, is the demonization and vilification of people branded as either "liberals" or "conservatives." And anyone who might have some leeway on even one certain issue is ridiculed. That doesn't seem fair in a climate where a GOP president has endorsed more than one "un-Republican" initiative.

Are we that black and white? It sure seems so, according to what we see in the media and even at the family table. Of course, the calculated divide and narratives are reiterated even further by public officials and the political machines themselves.

As individuals, let's have some respect. Let's show some class. Let's take pause, recognizing that we're all human — and even when impassioned, we're all in this together. Healthy debate is what we're supposed to foster here; even though it's been long forgotten by many.

Kremer couldn't be more correct: People need to calm down. Some have blamed President Trump for the current tone, but this has been going on for years at an escalating rate. It shouldn't take a crisis for a family, or a country to unite together — but sadly, and all-too-often a shared devastation is what brings unity. So let's fix this ourselves first, in the name of security, and of peace, and of who we truly are.

Don't worry, being decent won't make your side lose. Voters aren't that dumb. They are us.

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