Have you noticed that those who keep blaming “both sides” of the political divide usually are those whose own side is under the more severe criticism?
So it goes today. The nation is reeling from the serial acts of terrorism committed against Democratic political figures and a major media organization. The suspect, Cesar Sayoc, is reportedly a huge fan of Donald Trump.
Democrats blame Trump and Republicans for fanning the flames of deep-seated anger in the country, which they contend manifested itself in the pipe bombs mailed to a wide array of Democrat-friendly political figures, including two former Democratic presidents of the United States.
Republicans counter that Democratic pols have been encouraging citizens to harass and harangue Republicans when they are off the clock, seeking to eat meals at public restaurants.
I will acknowledge that I, too, have engaged in this “both siderism” strategy. Back when Bill Clinton was being impeached for perjury in connection with his tawdry relationship with Monica Lewinsky, I joined those who said Republicans — such as then-Speaker Newt Gingrich — had no moral standing to criticize the president’s behavior, given their own checkered marital history.
I am not proud of being part of what has become a national problem.
Indeed, Bill Clinton’s conduct has emerged yet again in the discussion of Donald Trump’s own conduct. Pro-Clinton voices — such as mine — respond that the former president isn’t the issue today. We are concerned about the current president and how his history of crude behavior denigrates the high office to which he was elected.
This “both sides do it” does nothing to cure what ails us.
Why don’t we just start over? We can turn the page and set aside the angry and mean-spirited rhetoric we’ve heard for many years … even preceding the time Donald Trump took office as president.
However, I will continue to insist that the effort ought to start at the top of the political food chain. It should be initiated by the president himself. Well, Mr. President? Are you game?