It’s possible that within hours “President-elect” will be attached to Joe Biden’s name.
For the more than 70-million Americans who voted for him, this will be great news. For the almost 70-million Americans who didn’t, this will not be.
Biden’s win —and it appears from an Electoral College standpoint it might be as narrow as 270-268 — affirms America remains a divided nation: Roughly half of us who voted did so to endorse the promise (and uncertainty) of tomorrow, while roughly half of us chose to endorse the memory (and certainty) of yesterday. Those ideologies will remain baked into our political DNA.
For four more years.
That divide would be acceptable if the two camps actually enjoyed positive relationships with each other. They don’t. And because of that distrust, dislike and disdain, the real challenges that face this country seem destined to stay in gridlock.
For another four years.
Does anyone see any reason why the Republicans, who likely will retain a majority in the Senate (likely 51-49), will treat President Biden with any respect? Led by their disgusting majority leader, the GOP did everything possible to stall Barack Obama’s political agenda. They will do the same.
For four more years.
All the nonsense talk about Russia gumming up elections, China trying to cyberattack everything, and Iran itching for war masks a more important war: the view millions of Americans have of the other side of the political aisle being the enemy. That’s not going to change.
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).
Bari Weiss was an editor at the New York Times. “Was” is the key word because she resigned a few days ago.
Andrew Sullivan was a writer at New York Magazine. “Was” is the key word because he resigned on Friday.
Both were notable non-liberal voices inside media agencies identified as liberal. Suffice to say, they believed they had become outcasts.
Neither decision should be celebrated.
Weiss and Sullivan will quickly find work elsewhere, should they choose to continue working in the news and information world. But that misses the point: Americans are slowly and steadily requiring something akin to purity tests for journalists. So, too, are too many media organizations.
If you’ve witnessed the orgy of fascism on display at any President Trump rally, then you know of the openly hostile attacks on CNN’s Jim Acosta and other journalists whom the Dictat…, uh President identifies as “enemies of the people.”
The hard core conservatives will tolerate no commentary or idea that strays from the orthodoxy. Ditto, the hard left liberals will tolerate no commentary or idea that strays from the orthodoxy.
Perhaps they can be forgiven — they, as members of the public, are under no obligation to accept what they find deplorable.
However, no credible news or media organization deserves to be called credible if it sacrifices differing opinions for the sake of money. FOX News is the worst of the offenders, but it’s not alone in believing that operating an echo chamber is consistent with democracy.
Weiss and Sullivan aren’t the first to walk away. They won’t be the last.
And, no, conservative voices aren’t the only ones being muted.
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