The political arena has changed over the years. At one time, political sides were identified by issues. Matters were debated thoughtfully. Slowly standards changed. Real political dialogue was lost in angry, accusatory rants.
During Clinton’s presidency, opponents obsessed with rumors of his sexual dalliances. Dawns the Trump era. Marital infidelity becomes ignored. The matter became whether he paid to silence his paramours.
Trump brought another, more dangerous political reality. His repeated attacks on truth have become cancerous, threatening our nation’s heritage. He rejects any perspective at odds with his.
His presidential campaign began with attacks on the fourth estate – which our nation had trusted for 250 years. Those constant jabs at the media undermined true information sources essential to a working democracy. Millions of followers don’t believe the legitimate public media – seeking truth from undisciplined sources. Trump perfected the tactic (attributed to Lenin and/or Hitler) that a lie told often enough becomes a truth.
He ramped up lies before the 2020 election, claiming that if he lost, it would be because of fraudulent voting. It’s no surprise he continues to deny he lost. Countless Americans believe that the election was stolen in spite of every responsible investigation to the contrary. His followers have lost confidence in our nation. (Yes, there were isolated examples of fraud. Interestingly, the most egregious were by Republicans.)
Our nation needs honest political dialogue – as we and leaders seek various answers. Unfortunately, finding such insight is increasingly difficult in the age of the “great denier.”
William A. McCartney