What Kind Of Men Strive For Wealth And Power Via Destroying America?
When I see Sean Hannity of Fox News fattening his wallet by spreading political poison or see Newt Gingrich or Mitch McConnell playing upon tribal impulses as the means for grasping for power, I wonder. I wonder not only about their patriotism. I wonder about their sanity. I mean what kind of a shortsighted moron scuttles his own ship? Have they made arrangement to move to another country when their ruthless actions sink America? To see our president down in Mississippi firing up his followers against Dr. Christine Ford — the reaction of the crowd reminded me of those old pictures of the glee that White folks demonstrated at a black lynching, a sick excitement.
The following is the last part of an article that appeared in the New York Times (Oct 2, 2018) by my favorite social commenter, Thomas L. Friedman. In it Friedman captures the crux of what is tearing our nation apart.
In essence, we’ve moved from “partisanship,” which still allowed for political compromises in the end, “to tribalism,” which does not, explained political scientist Norman Ornstein, co-author, with Thomas Mann, of the book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.” In a tribal world it’s rule or die, compromise is a sin, enemies must be crushed and power must be held at all costs.
It would be easy to blame both sides equally for this shift, noted Ornstein, but it is just not true. After the end of the Cold War, he said, “tribal politics were introduced by Newt Gingrich when he came to Congress 40 years ago,” and then perfected by Mitch McConnell during the Barack Obama presidency, when McConnell declared his intention to use his G.O.P. Senate caucus to make Obama fail as a strategy for getting Republicans back in power.
They did this even though that meant scuttling Obama’s health care plan, which was based on Republican ideas, and even though that meant scuttling long-held G.O.P. principles — like fiscal discipline, a strong Atlantic alliance, distrust of Russian intentions and a balanced approach to immigration — to attract Trump’s base.
Flake, the departing Arizona Republican, called this out this week: “We Republicans have given in to the terrible tribal impulse that first mistakes our opponents for our enemies. And then we become seized with the conviction that we must destroy that enemy.”
The shift in the G.O.P. to tribalism culminated with McConnell denying Obama his constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court justice with almost a year left in Obama’s term. As NPR reported: “Supreme Court picks have often been controversial. There have been contentious hearings and floor debates and contested votes. But to ignore the nominee entirely, as if no vacancy existed? There was no precedent for such an action since the period around the Civil War.”