Thomas Friedman thinks we’re moving into an era in which both side of the political divide can no longer agree on basic facts (“Where Did ‘We the People’ Go?” The New York Times, 6/21/2017):
[A] Canadian gentleman, trying to grasp what’s happening to America, asked me a simple question: “What do you fear most these days?”
I paused for a second, like a spectator waiting to see what would come out of my own mouth. Two things came out: “I fear we’re seeing the end of ‘truth’ — that we simply can’t agree any more on basic facts. And I fear that we’re becoming Sunnis and Shiites — we call them ‘Democrats’ and ‘Republicans.’
In set-ups such as these, the writer establishes the very old and very tired “both sides” argument, in which he or she acknowledges the indisputable fact that, yes, there are two major parties in the American political system, but it doesn’t follow that they’re both equally at fault for the current conflicts. And Friedman wastes no time making a wholly lopsided comparison:
When a liberal comedian poses with a mock severed head of Donald Trump, when the president’s own son, Eric Trump, says of his father’s Democratic opponents, “To me, they’re not even people,” you know that you are heading to a dark place.
So a comedian holding Trump’s severed head (I guess we’re not allowed to bring up “musician” Ted Nugent’s threats against Barack Obama) is comparable to the son of the President of the United States of America calling Democratic opponents non-people. Which of those two individuals do you think has access to nearly-unfettered amounts of power?
One reason Republicans are able to get away with anything and everything is that they are able to act to an extreme in any certain amount (take, for example, the Republican senate’s complete lockstep on blocking all hearings on Merrick Garland) if they can find even a minute example of Democrats doing it at any point in the history of the republic (take Biden’s suggestion in 1992 that the senate wait until after the election to appoint a new Supreme Court judge—spoiler alert, they didn’t).
That’s why hacks like Friedman can have the one example of Kathy Griffin being despicable and equate it with the president and the people he surrounds himself with (his idiot sons, Seb Gorka, Steve Bannon). It allows Republicans to continue to lie about how the ACA was drafted and passed as an excuse for their utter lack of transparency. If you’re worried about an inability to agree on the truth, Tom, then start asking that Republicans recognize it. There’s zero reason anyone should have to meet them between the truth and their warped sense of reality.