After last week’s mailings of crude bombs to several prominent liberals, Democratic and Republican leaders rose to denounce the acts and declare this is “not who we are as Americans.”
We aren’t all bombers, true. But we are in a dangerous, explosive place in America.
We hate each other. It’s no longer a matter of incivility; it’s open hostility, visceral loathing. Extreme intolerance of anyone who challenges our perception of the truth.
And there is no moral high ground.
Too many Republicans guffaw at the boorish preening of a narcissistic president who, every time he passes gas, boasts that it’s the most glorious fart in the history of the White House.
Even those in the GOP who cringe at Donald Trump’s buffoonery give him a pass because, “His policies are working.” It may shock them to learn that a president can cut taxes and slash regulations without degrading the office and debasing his opponents with crude nicknames. You can be a gentleman, honorable and honest, and still champion a conservative agenda. Think Ronald Reagan.
Too many Democrats are drenched in self-righteousness, convinced of their superiority over the deplorable masses. They can’t grasp that intelligent people can look at the same set of facts, apply to them their own values and experiences, and come up with different opinions.
The possibility they might be wrong, or there is any validity in contrary views, or those who disagree with them aren’t evil or ignorant or cowed by their husbands, is unfathomable. They are too smug to harbor self-doubt.
They allow their conduct to be dictated by the man they despise, excusing the breakdown of order and decorum, “Because, Trump.”
Their resistance has morphed from opposing policies and appointees to undermining the presidency to, now, the formation of mobs. And they justify it, as Hillary Clinton articulated last week, because conservatives have a different vision for the country than they do.
Public shaming of their opponents is easier than engaging them in persuasive debate. Better to harass them in public, threaten their families, troll them on the Internet and violate their right to privacy than to prevail on the strength of earnestly expressed ideas.
Disagree with what someone is saying? Shout them down. Chase them from the podium. Go after their jobs.
The catch phrase answer to all of our problems is, “We need to have a national conversation.”
But we are as far from a constructive dialog as a nation can be. Conversing requires listening. And we don’t want to hear what the other side has to say.
Winning is all that matters, and we’re so convinced we hold the keys to wisdom that we think it’s OK to do so by any means necessary.
For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction.
The left bullies, the right bullies back. They shout, we shout. And when it spins out of control, a left-wing wacko shoots up a Republican baseball practice and a right-wing nut mails out bombs to Democrats.
Yes, this is who we are. And it’s who we’ll be long after Donald Trump is gone. He hasn’t changed America; America’s character has changed.