A more realistic post over at Politics Daily goes over some of the history of ad hominem language, which really has been around a long time in American political discourse.
That article also discusses how the intensity ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes.
Where were the "hate speech can do no harm" guys a week or so ago when Hal Turner was sentenced to prison for doing just that, for saying three judges should be killed, publishing their address, etc., causing a jury to find him guilty?
There are times when good logic, the constitution, and peaceful discourse will not rid the nation of civil wrongs:
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) commonly referred to as the Dred Scott decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens.(Dred Scott v. Sandford). But there are also times when it will:
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The decision overturned the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 which allowed state-sponsored segregation. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Warren Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."(Brown v Board of Education). Those were both clear decisions with people both happy and unhappy with each one.
When any government or social event makes some people unhappy, that is the time when allegiance to the national laws against violence need to be observed, while at the same time it may be more difficult to do so.
The people who are happy with any given government event have no problem, so as it turns out, unhappiness is the harbinger of any potential problem with violence.
I guess in general then, unhappiness is the seed of any dangerous state of affairs, and we all know that unhappiness is on a roll in the nation these days.
For that matter, looking at the natural disasters happening in Haiti, Australia, Brazil, and other places in the world, there is a lot of unhappiness, plenty of the seeds for a dangerous state of affairs.
It seems to me that those who can stay reasonably happy when times are tough are people who are sound enough not to get into hate speech, thus, those who engender hate speech are probably very unhappy as well as being unsound.
Governments, both state and federal, should know this and be about the business of happiness instead of the business of killing, maiming, and destroying in seemingly endless, but definitely misguided, wars.