I am having trouble finding the words to express what I’m feeling this morning. Is it disappointment in the response from the President to the bombs sent to prominent Democrats? Not really, after his performance in the wake of the Charlottesville violence I can’t say I find his jab at the media this morning disappointing in the sense that I wouldn’t have expected it.
Am I frustrated by the Both Siders who persist in remarking how Both Sides Do whatever it is that everyone finds appalling? Yes. Let’s be fact-based for the moment. Indeed, a left leaning whackadoodle shot up a GOP baseball practice severely injuring Congressman Steve Scalise; however, if we’re playing “balancing act” here then the scales are heavily weighted toward right wing terrorists who shot up a Unitarian church in Tennessee, who took a gun into the Holocaust Museum, who shot up a Bible study class in Charleston, SC, who drove into a crowded street in Charlottesville, VA, who terrorized a wildlife refuge in Oregon. In fact, there’s a study out there showing that of 65 terrorist attacks in the US in one year 2/3rds of them were “tied to racist, anti-Muslim, homophobic, anti-Semitic, fascist, anti-government or xenophobic motivations.” [SPLC] So, spare me the Both Sides Do It business. I’m not in the mood for more obfuscation this morning.
I might also say I’m a little agitated by the calls for “civility.” This form of advocacy seems perilously close to Both Side-ism, and I’m not really buying into it. First, someone needs to tell the President that politics is a contact sport — like basketball as it is played in the paint. If he can’t take the heat, then President Harry Truman had some advice: “Get out of the kitchen.” If every criticism is taken as a personal insult, if every objection is perceived as an attack, then I suppose the President may feel assailed on all sides. Welcome to the office. Is he thinking President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama loved all the press they got? Did either of them continually whine about “fake news?” Not that I recall. I remember both arguing for broader perspectives or more focused information and articles, but Lord have mercy I don’t remember all the whingeing and whining that’s coming out of the White House now.
Secondly, civility shouldn’t be subject to a double standard. Is it civil to lie about Democratic positions on taxation, health care insurance programs, and veterans’ benefits? — and then squeal like a stuck pig when this is challenged? Is it mutually “civil” to lambaste one’s opponent for items real and imagined and then scream bloody murder when the lambasting is returned? There’s too much loaded language involved in this element. My side is “challenging” your side is “attacking.” My side is “passionate,” your side is “unhinged.” My side is activated, your side is an angry mob. I’m tried of framing games.
Tone down, or dial down, the rhetoric? Excuse me? Which side has a crowd chanting “Lock Her Up?” “CNN sucks?” Which side has advocated “2nd Amendment Solutions?” Which side has told voters to go to the 2018 polls armed because the Democrats may be an “angry mob?” Which side equates harassment in a restaurant with driving a car into protesters and bomb threats?
A bit further along this line, don’t try to convince me this morning the President is completely unblemished, untarnished, untouched by the actions of whomever is sending and delivering the bombs. I’m sure I understand the general notion of proximate causation. I know full well the President didn’t directly inspire the actions of the whack-job who’s sending the bombs for whatever reason. I get that. I also get that he’s not helping.
The President doesn’t get to lead chants, grin at the racist/misogynist antics of the crowd, and then wash his hands (or have them washed for him by his apologists) of the whole mess by saying, “I wasn’t directly involved.”
Teachers often refer to “classroom management,” meaning that the tone in their classroom is set by the teacher who by instruction and example lets it be known that misbehavior is not tolerated — and 90% of the students will behave themselves accordingly. Business owners often refer to “climate,” and mean that by instruction or example employees will follow standards of ethics and behavior associated with good management and customer/client relations practices. 90% of employees will conform, the other 10% will be looking for other employment. This White House doesn’t appear to understand that management, climate, or whatever we want to call it, is a function of leadership. Real leadership. Hands on management and the establishment of a positive corporate culture and climate. Leadership with real accountability. Or, there’s the old cliché: fish rots from the head.
I want an America that’s good again. I want an America which is seen worldwide as opposed to the killing of journalists from any newspaper from any country. I want an America that doesn’t lock children in cages and call it a deterrent for asylum seekers. I want an America where the 99% can expect the same deference to their economic needs as the top 1%. I want an America where children don’t have live fire drills in elementary and secondary schools. I want an America where parents don’t wait to take a child to a physician because they can’t afford a medical bill that month. I want an America where everyone is encouraged to vote. I want an America where no one thinks sending bombs to prominent politicians is excusable, and that a President can be excused for his un-empathetic response to the incidents.
I want an America that’s good again.