There's something that really gets up my nose: people don't appear to have the least idea how to loathe politicians properly. In my lifetime, it got a good head of steam up under President Nixon; there was a bit of a respite with Presidents Ford and Carter (Billy was great distraction!), then modern President-hating really got underway with Mr. Clinton and it hasn't stopped since; it only switches sides as the office does.
So it's not that the public is lovin' 'em, oh, far from it; Americans have a long and marvelous history of deep disgust for the public officials we elect. Most of them only have to be found acceptable by 51% of the voters, and even with, say, 80% turnout, that leaves a tick over 60% of the possible voters who didn't vote for the winner.
If, then, you don't like J. Random Wheelhorse, whattaya do? Do you snatch eagerly at every scurrilous rumor and every fantastical projection of what he or she might do, or you do you identify those of her or his policies, attitudes or elements of personal style that irk or offend you?
Online evidence suggests most people pick the first option and that, pardon my language, is just lazy bullshit.
Look, it's perfectly fine to dislike politicians over anything from published official policy to trivia of personal behavior. Birch Bayh had a smirk that many voters could not stand (though rarely enough of them to keep him out of office). It's not okay to imagine things (or borrow other people's imaginings) and fret, rage or recoil over that. I didn't like Mr. Obama's attitude towards law-abiding gun-owners, which was patronizing at best and the laws he favored anent firearms struck me as dreadful; I was not at all in favor of the Affordable Care Act he helped usher into law -- that doesn't mean I thought he was foreign-born, or a secret Muslim. I'm not a fan of Mr. Trump's vague and handwaving style, either, nor his careless approach to public policy -- but I don't think he's out to bring back Jim Crow laws.
Sort out the reality from the nonsense. Hate them, if you will, but hate them for who they are, what they propose and what they do, not for something some troller at an online forum or third-string tabloid news site made up. Hate them for the bills they put forward and the laws they enact, not because some halfwit in Hollywood urged them to impose martial law, or you heard from your third cousin's ex-boyfriend that they once ran over a baby squirrel and laughed about it.
Most of them (possibly all, who'd'a thunk?) are regular, fallible, flawed human beings with plenty of stupid, crazy or downright mean ideas; there are lots of real things to dislike them over. Don't buy into the hype and panic, don't pick up cheap. ugly second-hand loathing at retail prices when you can easily look up the facts and hate the weasels-in-office accurately, in the cold clear light of day. Watch them like hawks on a limping gopher! Suspect them of all manner of gracelessness, malfeasance and misbehavior! --But act only on what you can prove. There's plenty of it, always.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
1 year ago