One of the greatest political predicaments facing America is the issue of tribalism and partisanship. The problem is rampant. The political atmosphere has become one of two warring camps at constant odds with one another with a complete inability to find any common ground. The people are incredibly divided. Democrats and Republicans have become factions in a perpetual political civil war.
One of the most potent illustrations of this illogical allegiance to parties comes in the form of selective outrage. This substantial problem can be seen everywhere and every day. It plagues every dimension of political discourse. The examples are endless. Democrats who were outraged by Bush’s war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan suddenly turned a blind eye to the incessant war crimes of the Obama administration in Yemen, Somalia, and Syria.
Republicans who were “outraged” by Obama’s executive overreach, previously watched in complacent and sometimes enthusiastic cooperation as Bush signed the PATRIOT ACT into law, expanded the NDAA, declared a global war, and illegally invaded another country based on a false narrative – not to mention the host of executive orders already signed by Donald Trump.
While Democrats spotlighted Trump’s deplorable treatment of women, they did their best to obscure Bill Clinton’s treatment of women and the rape culture to which both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump belong. Conversely, while Republicans claimed to be outraged by the deplorable behavior of Bill Clinton, they felt it was morally acceptable to use rape victims as set-pieces for a presidential debate.
Democrats praised the transparency of Wikileaks when the war crimes of the Bush administration were exposed in the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs and the Collateral Murder video. However, during the exposure of the Clinton campaign’s rampant corruption, suddenly Democrats decided that Wikileaks was the enemy and an agent of Russia. While Republicans exalted Wikileaks for its release of the Clinton emails, they simultaneously supported Trump’s anger at leakers.
In so many words, both parties are guilty of the most explicit and shameless hypocrisies. The fact that each party only acknowledges the shortcomings of the other side speaks to a complete lack of moral continuity and integrity. Truth has become a matter of convenience, and if it happens to be inconvenient, it is either obscured, ignored, buried, manipulated or undermined with abject sophistry. The narratives espoused by both the right and the left are almost always half-fictions that labor to highlight only what is appealing for a particular agenda.
The result of this is what has come to be called post-truth politics. Neither party has any claim to honesty or integrity, therefore, truth becomes obsolete within the political dialogue. As each party selectively applies its principles and standards, it becomes more and more apparent that neither truly has any principles or standards. Thus, the political discourse is reduced to blind, baseless accusations that evoke moral sensibilities that neither side respects, as they are selectively applied. In short, the moral outrage of both parties is not authentic outrage. Instead, it is a tool for political leverage. Both parties have reduced moral outrage to a partisan apparatus that serves political interests.
If progress is to be made, each party must acknowledge the corruption that is within. Constituents must cease to pardon the misconduct of those who share the same party affiliations. Moral and political standards must become consistent. Finally, the only moral outrage that should be respected is that which is authentic. It is sad to say, but most of those participating in the current partisan, political, dialogue seem to be very inauthentic, which means their moral outrage should not be respected.
Both parties have failed to be morally consistent. This can be corrected, but only by accepting actual responsibility. I have very little hope.