“John’s voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder: ‘We are better than this; America is better than this.’” — Eulogy for the late Senator John McCain at funeral services in the National Cathedral by former President George W. Bush
John McCain wasn’t alone wanting our politics to be better than this. It would do all of us some good to keep his memory alive more than a couple of weeks, despite what’s going on around us.
We know what ‘this’ is. It only took a few days for McCain’s legacy to turn to dust, replaced with more anger, distrust, dishonesty, hyperventilation, vulgarity, and incivility, and that, exclusive of President Donald Trump’s behavior.
The “this” has continued the erosion of American institutions and the abandonment of American values. I believe the vast majority of Americans agreed with McCain and are fed up with “this.” McCain preached the politics of inclusion and the personal behavior of courage and civility. He didn’t always succeed in putting them into practice, but they were among the values he considered critical to the survival of our grand experiment in self-governance.
We are a nation being consumed by our own anger, anxieties, disillusionment, and alienation from one another.
They are emotions widely exploited by a vast media empire that employs everyone from late night comedians to early morning news anchors. They are manifest in our tribal politics and social behavior. They are also, of course, manifest in the persona and politics of our President, who rubs them raw when he should be applying soothing salves.
It is Donald Trump, on whom we place much of the blame for this current condition, but the truth is he is not the cause; he is only the result. Continue reading →
Her monologue was repugnant, full of vitriol and vulgarity, a slew of lewd terms most of the audience would never repeat in front of their parents or children.
Yet Comedian Michelle Wolf got some laughs anyway. She was performing at the fundraising dinner for the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) last week.
Something she said, however, got no laughs, only deafening silence. In the avalanche of coverage following the event, there was scarce mention of her closing words, except in Politico and by the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, who honed his craft at the Minneapolis Tribune. Wolf talked about what Blake called the media’s “codependent relationship” with President Trump. Continue reading →