Anger permeates our politics

Make no mistake that I will go to my grave never accepting the devolution of our nation’s political climate that has occurred in the past half-dozen or so years.

We have gone from a nation where political foes could break bread together, set aside their differences and act as friends to a nation where pols are afraid of those on the other side of the aisle.

Yes, that fear runs mostly among Democrats who are demonized by their Republican colleagues. The GOP side has taken to inciting physical threats to politicians’ health, to their well-being and to their family members.

What’s the source of this intense animus? Hmm. Let me think. Oh, gosh, it must be Donald John Trump, the former POTUS who stated publicly that it would be OK for rally attendees to “beat the crap” out of protesters. Or that he would be willing to “pay your legal bills” if the authorities brought them up on charges.

This stated expression of outright hostility by a leading politician has bled into the fabric of our system of government. Members of Congress — yes, chiefly Republicans — have echoed that mantra on occasion, suggesting that their opponents are to be reviled and scorned. They are the “enemy.”

To be fair, Democrats have responded with equally harsh rhetoric. Let me clear about something: Democrats have “responded” to their foes’ expressions of hatred. The response comes after the other side delivers the opening salvo.

The late Republican Vice President George H.W. Bush sought the presidency in 1988 by declaring his intention to seek a “kinder, gentler” political climate in Washington. I’m not sure he achieved that noble goal, but his intention was honest and forthright.

Let’s not misunderstand anything here. I don’t mind vigorous debate one bit. I welcome hearing both sides argue their points. I find it exhilarating. What I do mind is when one side accuses the other of hating America merely because they hold a contrary view on a policy matter. I long ago lost count of the number of times I have heard MAGA-leaning pols accuse others of hating this great land because they dispute the right-wingers’ world view.

This level of hatred, simply stated, is unacceptable.