JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

A sorry state of affairs

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A friend of mine named Bev wrote this on my Facebook page earlier today. I couldn’t agree more …

Bush was able to ride 9/11 for a lot of that crazy legislation. And the dems were too scared to look unpatriotic. Obama has no such catastrophe and the Republicans are united in their quest to block everything he does. All of a sudden being unpatriotic is all the rage.

It’s true—being unpatriotic is the rage. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the Democrats in the Senate and House made an incredibly strong show of support toward the president. Hell, one of my all-time favorite political moments was when the entire Senate—all 100 Republicans and Democrats—stood on the steps of the Capitol and sang God Bless America. Nowadays, that is unambiguously impossible. Why, in Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is being flogged by his own party for having the audacity—the nerve!—to hug the president. He might actually lose his senatorial primary to an arch-conservative opponent based upon that hug. Friggin’ scary.

I don’t think Barack Obama has had a brilliant first year, and as a liberal Democrat I’ve been disappointed by his non-movement on gay rights and shutting down Gitmo. But much of this is a political trap of the worst kind: If the Republicans (and some conservative Dems) stand in his way and try and try and try to block everything, they can then say, “Look, he’s done nothing. He’s ineffective.” As far as politics go, it’s brilliant stuff. But it’s … absolutely … positively … killing … this … country. All we do nowadays is look for the political edge—righteousness be damned. Heaven forbid a Republican support anti-global warming measures or oppose assault rifles or be pro-choice. Heaven forbid anyone hold an opinion contrary to party dogma.

And while I’m at it, why are Republicans so gleeful? Why are they so thrilled to point out any Obama flaw? Aren’t we united as one country? Aren’t we in this together? Hell, weren’t you the ones furious over people bashing Bush during a time of war?

What happened to us?

What in the world happened to us?