With everyone stuck in high gear approaching an election rightfully being called the most critical in a generation, I had the opportunity to sit down with a reporter for my local newspaper, the News and Tribune, regarding my bid for the state House of Representatives. At one point in the interview, I mentioned the toxic political culture we are now deeply entrenched in, not surprising given just this last week alone.
You had, among the highlights, Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania Scott Wagner releasing a campaign video in which he says he is going to stomp his opponent's face with golf spikes. Wagner said he was going to stomp the face of the sitting governor with golf shoes on, and his staff still thought it would be okay to make public. That is not only legitimately stupid, and possibly criminal, but it is so far beyond political malpractice it could quite possibly make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
You had the hand-wringing on the right from Eric Holder elaborating on Michelle Obama's famous "when they go low, we go high" rally cry. Well, the convenient half of the remarks that certain Fox News hosts used to allow viewers to infer on their own that the former Attorney General is advocating for possible physical violence. This was not only a cheap and predictable tactic on a remark that could honestly have been worded better, but it also mirrored a recent two-week storyline involving cut-off statements and their implications on WWE Smackdown. When life imitates art, that's fine. When life starts imitating pro wrestling, I wonder how long before we see a wild, chair-swinging brawl on the floor of Congress, or how we haven't already.
To round it out, you had comedian Chelsea Handler tweet her second "closeted Lindsay Graham" joke of 2018, as part of a larger joke about the Republicans "taking a day off" on National Coming Out Day. While the joke itself was basically amusing, nothing outside Handler's normal range, one cannot overlook using sexual orientation or preference as a shaming device. Whether or not Lindsay Graham is gay is irrelevant, and does not matter a tiny iota. Handler has faced some criticism for the joke, although she has not addressed it directly in any follow-up tweet.
There have been many calls for a vast improvement in our current state of political discourse. The problem is the voices are too far split between chanting to lock someone up, getting triggered about any number of things, or making mushroom/spray tan/tiny hands jokes. The cacophony that creates drowns out whatever common sense has not been re-purposed as fake news, conspiracy theory, or snowflake behavior. This is why we need the regression back to actual politics instead of R-rated playground foolishness. A recent bill regarding the opioid crisis passed 98-1. Bipartisan (or even tri-partisan) politics is still possible, once some of the people in charge learn a little decorum.
The leadership in both parties currently attempting to represent us in Washington are pouring gasoline on the roof, and while the fire gets bigger, the left and right argue over water versus foam, while the rest of us are standing there wondering when someone is going to do something about the goddamn fire. While there are those on every end of the spectrum that would be perfectly content about just letting it burn down, the problem is the lack of consideration when it comes to who all might wind up being part of the rebuild.
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copyright 2010-2018 Thomas Keister, L.L.C.
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