Washington’s current state of political vitriol, sadly, seems to have now permeated almost every facet of life. No matter the topic, you’ll find someone ... or more than a few someones ... who will attempt to turn the discussion into a political one, even if the issue isn’t political in nature.
Such is the circumstance created by Congress.
The seeds of today’s “attack everyone” condition were laid by Congress 20 or more years ago. During a conversation with an elected official, the issue of infighting between the Democrats and Republicans was raised. Why, the representative, was asked, was the debate always so bitter?
He assured us that really wasn’t the case, that, despite what was said publicly, when the got behind closed doors, our elected officials could really work together, reach a compromise and do some good work for the nation. But, he was asked, when all the public is witness to is the “they’re evil, they’re unpatriotic, they want to take away all you hold dear,” what will the voters be left with. They — including the media — don’t get to see the back room discussions that reportedly result in improvement of the public condition. With only the attacks, and none of the camaraderie, what impression will the voters be left with.
That question was never answered during that discussion. but we believe you see the results today.
Congress — both parties — have devolved into an attack first, win at all costs, slander whomever, and put up any possible roadblock to assure no one on the “other side” can claim any kind of success. They attack one another for votes and actions taken, forgetting their party used almost identical strategies just a few years distant. Any parent recognizes the tactic: First, deflect attention on to something else; second, drag in the behavior of another misbehaving child as justification for your own misdeeds.
Even at the local level, we see candidates and voters injecting nationally-spawned attack strategies and issues into the debate. As we head toward the 2020 elections, we hope voters will abandon any candidate, at the local level, who uses such tactics. We have no hope to control what goes on in Washington, but we can start here, and demonstrate we expect better from our elected officials
Sadly, we’re almost to the point that the current setup is unsalvageable. We’ve never been a fan of the “throw everyone out” strategy, but it’s beginning to have some appeal. Sadly, you have to count on voters in Red and Blue states to act in concert. Do you see the day that progressive and conservative voters will unite on anything?
We don’t. And for that, we blame Congress.
David Stringer, publisher