Only Thugs Are Thugs

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is upset that the Maryland State Education Association doesn’t agree with his plans for the state budget. The union made its feelings known in a press release.

The governor responded on Facebook with “We provided record funding for education two years in a row and protected your pensions. Don’t believe this phony ‘cut’ propaganda from the union thugs.”

Drop the last word and you have a perfectly defensible statement. But the people responsible for a press release are not “thugs.”

I’m not too worried that MSEA officers and staff had their feelings hurt. They’ll survive. I’m more concerned that calling political opponents thugs or terrorists or Nazis obscures what those people really are. I criticize unions all the time, but I don’t equate their actions to violent assault, torture or mass murder.

A thug is “a violent person, especially a criminal,” so if you wanted to call this union guy a “thug”…

…go right ahead because he appears to be strangling a guy from behind. But no one ever went to the emergency room because of an assault from a press release. Gov. Hogan made a stupid mistake and should apologize for it.