Letter: Rival gangs fighting
As a recent candidate for Congress, I invited the attention of Russian media. Because I was critical of our cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia, a position Russian officials often hold, Radio Sputnik conducted three different interviews with me. I was happy to oblige; any partner willing to crackdown on Islamic terror is a good one, I reasoned. But that’s all that transpired, I never looked to broker any kind of deal with Russia. In fact, one of the main reasons I listed in not supporting Trump was his apparent indifference to Russian aggression. We couldn’t, I said, elect a president who would so easily look the other way if Russia were to invade Lithuania or another nearby country. But what if I had taken another path and offered my services to Russia in exchange for real electoral help against Scott Tipton? The Republican Party would make my life hell, to say the least.
Politics these days seems to be reduced to nothing more than two rival gangs fighting one another for the same turf. As Donald Trump plainly admitted on “60 Minutes” last summer, it was perfectly acceptable to knock Hillary Clinton for voting for the Iraq war while, at the same time, picking Mike Pence as vice president who cast the same vote. This is just a small example of the blatant hypocrisy that define the two parties. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer often knocks Trump for picking billionaires and those in the swamp. And yet he had no issue with Obama picking his own billionaire to head the Commerce Department, Penny Pritzker. My point is the lies and deception are unbearably naked; fighting over ideas is a lost art, all we are left with is two parties that mock the other side for doing the same thing they do.
So let’s go back to the Russian hypothetical. I have no doubt that if I helped besmirch the character of a lifelong Republican with cooperation by a foreign hostile government, the GOP would have amplified all of the darts they were already throwing at me. I’m treasonous, I should be hung, how disloyal could I be. I’m confident these would be the attacks for several reasons. First, look at how aggressively they went after President Bill Clinton 20 years ago for the help he received from China in his fundraising efforts for the 1996 presidential campaign. Secondly, Donald Trump called Edward Snowden, who worked with the Russians to reveal unflattering things about our government, a traitor and hinted that he should be executed. And lastly, his own CIA pick Mike Pompeo said Snowden should be given the “death sentence.” When it suits the GOP, it acts heartlessly with those who question the state. But with their own, any part of the Ten Commandments can be broken with immunity.
What’s so sad is our Founders eerily predicted the extent to which the party system would degenerate our public life. In his farewell address, George Washington said, “(political parties) … are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.” And ever the poet, Thomas Jefferson said, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” Whatever the Kingdom of Heaven is supposed to be, our politics seem to be the opposite of that. How sad, we were supposed to be the last best hope of the Earth.
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