The other day a favorite talk radio host mentioned that American political discourse entered its current, take-no-prisoners phase (erupting with the first Reagan administration as we recall,) when Liberals decided that to openly disagree with them was not just wrong, but evil.
But the well-taken point is that what passed for civility through most of the 20th century has no prayer of returning if we persist in thinking of each other as bad people.
And then along comes Hillary Clinton.
Last week the formerly Inevitable One, in that voice that makes the word “harridan” seem so pitifully inadequate, assigned “racial” and “bigoted” motives to Republicans hoping to prevent the late Justice Antonin Scalia being succeeded by an Obama appointee. Clinton dubiously claimed some Republicans “even said [Obama] has no right” to submit a nominee before advertising her superior virtue by stating that none of those vicious things has a place in American politics.
That it’s true none of those vicious things has a place in American politics would make Hillary one-for-four on truthiness, had she herself not been the one who insinuated them into the argument. Knowing deception about the motives of others in order to gain personal advantage: If that isn’t evil, what is?
Call us optimists but we don’t think it’s impossible to achieve a better political culture. The hard part is that the possibility depends on the total and utter defeat of those whose sole instinct is to destroy all competing ideas. It’s going to be a long century.