CTV news had a story about a local woman who lost her pet cockatiel. I thought, well, I’m glad I live in a country where this is a news story. Beats the alternatives. Then I read the comments on the story. Some people actually expressed the wish that the bird would be killed and eaten. Others were dismayed that this story displaced more important stories about the earthquake or the new Russian offensive in Ukraine. There were comments by people who hated the first comments, and then by people who hated the second comments, and then by people who hated the people who made the hateful comments about the hateful comments. Humanity at its toxic worst.
The other night, PBS News had an interview with a Democratic governor, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, and a Republican governor, Spencer Cox, of Utah. The two men sat together, beside each other. They were civil, constructive, engaging, and respectful. They liked each other a lot, even though they had fundamental disagreements in many policy areas. They were working together on various important issues and trying to find common ground in areas where they disagreed. It was marvelous. It was inspiring. It was a powerful contrast to the toxic national political scene right now. It was reason for hope.
I’m not sure if that leaves me optimistic or pessimistic right now.
And yes, of course I wished the two of them would form a ticket for President and VP in 2024. And I am very sure that a majority of voters would love a team like that.
But it is a truism in American politics that you probably can’t win a nomination from your party right now if you don’t join the toxicity. The voters say they hate lying, compromised, attack-dog candidates but they vote for them. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
And now, let’s shoot down another ‘balloon’.