Blame it on the echo chamber.
Or perhaps blame it on fear.
Or perhaps blame it on anger.
Whatever the cause(s), too many Americans have wrapped themselves in their political orthodoxy. It must be a suffocating cloak.
The left will tell you that those on the right have become fascist-loving, race-baiting, Bible-thumping bigots. Turn your head to the right and you’ll find people telling you that those on the left are police-hating, socialist-dreaming, abortion-loving losers.
Perhaps the only thing the two sides will agree upon is the other side just doesn’t get it. Come to think of it, they’ll also agree that the other side is preventing America from moving forward.
Now that’s a fine way to create a healthy discourse.
To suggest that Donald Trump is responsible for this mess is folly. Sure, the president, on multiple occasions before and since his successful 2016 election, has thrown gas on the raging fire, but that fire had been burning for almost 25 years.
Two southern, Republican “gentleman” deserve far more blame than Trump for causing this fiasco. It was Newt Gingrich who used the 1994 midterm elections to establish the idea that Republicans should define Democrats simply as the enemy; their presence in Washington was a heavy weight that could sink the “Contract with America.”
Later, Mitch McConnell saw the first black president in American history simply as someone who had to be removed after just one term. McConnell welcomed the idea that the GOP was the “Party of No,” and had an obligation to place as many roadblocks as possible in front of Barack Obama.
By time Trump came along, hatred for the left and for anything resembling a progressive ideology had been baked into the right’s thinking.
Some of you reading this post have reached a conclusion at this point: Typical liberal.
Well…if I’m one of those liberals, then tell me why I also believe those Democrats who argue illegal immigrants should automatically receive multi-faceted government assistance are wrong. You thought I was going to wade into the abortion fight, didn’t you? Well, since you asked, I’ve always found it curious when the few pro-life Democrats contort their personal beliefs around the idea that abortion is a decided issue. Pick a side: pro-life or pro-choice.
Meanwhile, let’s be clear that the right is in denial when it suggests abortions will stop if Roe v Wade is overturned. Women will still terminate their pregnancies, and in ways that will increase the chances of harming themselves for years to come. We could have that conversation, but, you know, culture wars are so much fun. The right’s sanctimonious attitude about abortion is awful, but the pro-life Democrats who won’t take their personal beliefs beyond fence straddling are weak, in my opinion.
Next, if I’m such a liberal, please tell me why I think free college education is a ridiculous idea. The number one reason public college tuition is so grotesquely priced is because approaching two decades now both parties repeatedly have slashed funding earmarked for higher education. If states’ governors and legislators would do the right thing and reaffirm the importance of college, then this silly idea of making college free could go away.
I could go on, but the point has been made: political rigidity reflects poorly on the nation. I can hear the left reminding me that the right pines for an America that has long since been sent into the history books. (Gotta tell you, there’s a lot to that past that ought never again see the light of day.) And I can also hear the right telling me that the left is ready to reject any semblance of honor and pride in its lust to give something to everybody. (Gotta tell you, I agree with some of this, but let’s not go deep into the weeds.)
Yes, conservative and liberal values are good, and conservative and liberal policies have merit. Damn crazy Independent, I am.
One way to start changing the political dynamic in America: stop electing people such as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Richard Shelby, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Chuck Schumer. Clear out those who espouse hate or represent political entitlement by returning to office again and again (and for no apparent good reason).