I’m Right, You’re Wrong and Other Political Truths
“The period which immediately precedes an election, and that during which the election is taking place, must always be considered as a national crisis. ... As the election draws near, the activity of intrigue and the agitation of the populace increase; the citizens are divided into hostile camps, each of which assumes the name of its favorite candidate; the whole nation glows with feverish excitement.” -- Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America,” 1835
I can’t stand the people on your side. Not you, particularly. You’re fine. It’s your side that’s ruining everything great about this country.
Your side lies shamelessly. Your leaders just make things up. And you just follow them blindly, like sheep -- like blind sheep. You hang out with people who think just like you, and listen only to shows where you’ll hear your own views repeated. It’s an echo chamber of lies!
That’s how your side wins elections. It whips gullible people into a frenzy about supposed threats to their freedoms and livelihoods, and it deceives everyone else into thinking it’s more moderate than it really is. Once the election is over, though, your side starts pushing its extreme agenda behind the scenes.
When your side wins an election, you make out the president to be some sort of messenger from God. Nothing he does can be wrong. It doesn’t matter how big a hypocrite he is. He can campaign on bringing us together and then do nothing but divide us when he gets in -- but you don’t mind. When our side wins, on the other hand, the president has to be personally trashed and accused of the most monstrous crimes.
Your side stirs up hate against the people on my side. The horrible signs your people hold up at their protests, the venom your spokesmen spew on television: It’s scary. I wonder how you can go through life with all that anger inside you.
Your side is simplistic. You never stop and think things through. That’s how you end up with your ridiculously inconsistent positions on abortion and the death penalty. You even fight against legislation that would make your own life better! How crazy is that?
Honestly, I don’t know whether to be sorry for you or mad. Sometimes I wish we could just free you from these awful leaders and their dumb ideas. Sometimes I wish all the people on your side would just secede and form your own country.
I don’t know if your side even believes in democracy. Your people are willing to do whatever it takes to win. That’s all they care about. They don’t care about how much damage their incivility does to the tone of our national life. It makes me sad.
Your side is willing to exploit tragedies for political gain. When your side’s rhetoric leads to political violence, on the other hand, you start saying how we shouldn’t politicize senseless crimes. Awfully convenient, isn’t it?
Your side’s extremism just grows and grows. Back in the day, people on your side had some sensible views and were willing to work with people on my side. Now your side purges anyone who would dare to do that.
The people on your side constantly whine about how unfairly they are treated. You’re always stoking phony outrage against the political leaders you hate. They are shameless liars, you say. But why should we take demands for honesty seriously when they come from your side? Frankly, anything your side gets is justified payback for all the things you’ve done.
I’m not saying that my side is perfect. Not at all. I complain about the people on my side all the time. They’re wimps. They’re too polite. They let your side get away with murder. And the press lets it happen, too. The people on my side always bring knives to the gunfight.
Maybe the most infuriating thing your side does is pretend that we’re morally equivalent. That’s not true: Your side is full of much worse people. I can’t even stand seeing them on television. No way could I ever watch that supposed news network of yours.
It’s nothing personal. I just hate people like you.
(Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist and a senior editor at National Review. The opinions expressed are his own.)
Today’s highlights: the editors on why the municipal-bond market is safe and on U.S. circumcision policies; Margaret Carlson on “legitimate rape” and Paul Ryan; Jeffrey Goldberg on how the White House views new warnings from Israel; Peter Orszag on the false promise that competition can fix Medicare; William Pesek on Asia’s challenge in limiting smoking; William Silber on Paul Volcker’s early fight against inflation.
To contact the writer of this article: Ramesh Ponnuru at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this article: Timothy Lavin at email@example.com.