Living in the Political DMZ

Trump’s life story is filled with despicable acts. It’s very easy to hate him. Probably necessary, given his current position. That and the fact many people didn’t take him seriously when there was still time. However, the danger now exists that we are going too far in the opposite direction.

For instance, when I first read about Comey’s memo, I realized the quote attributed to Trump–“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go”–could simply be someone expressing an opinion rather than delivering a threat.

Having absorbed several reports and op-ed opinions on the matter, I believe it was probably a statement intended to measure Comey. Exploratory. Express sympathy, then gauge reaction. Find out where the other person stands. Such is often the approach in business and Trump is a businessman. Ultimately, he concluded he didn’t like having someone he couldn’t control in such a powerful position. So, he did what he does. He fired Comey. While that is cowardly, it’s not unconstitutional.

Elizabeth Price Foley’s NY Times Op-Ed explains why it isn’t. Because the Times printed the piece, the paper can be looked on as maintaining journalistic integrity.

Yet, it isn’t to be found on the front page, or at the top of the Op-Ed page. I only discovered it because I have a paid subscription that allows me to read more than ten articles per month. Scrolling down that lengthy list or having to thoroughly explore the Times website to discover the piece qualifies as burying a contrary view. Conservatives therefore have a right to complain about bias.

Both sides will fiercely argue their position. Moderates like me must cower in the middle.

Because I do stand near the door that leads from the center to the left, I also pay for the Washington Post. They reported on an Atlantic Magazine cover story about Alex Tizon’s Pulitzer-winning memoir, My Family’s Slave. The book documents how his parents bought a Filipino nanny and brought her back to the States to keep their house. Some are praising Tizon for confessing fully. Others, some friends and colleagues who feel betrayed, are condemning him for not doing it sooner and deceiving them for years. The Post report, written by Samantha Schmidt, explores both sides.

Like Tizon’s arrogant, unforgiving peers, Fox News, Breitbart, the Drudge Report, and other conservative outlets are black pots to the Times, Post, et al’s kettles. There is truth in their complaints about a left-leaning bias at many major media outlets. Unfortunately, creating an exclusively conservative alternative does not provide balance.

Rather, it deepens the divide. The middle of the road has become a mine-laden demilitarized zone. If you approach either side attempting to establish a dialogue, your character will immediately be assassinated.

(Speaking of which, comments are below)

We shouldn’t be shooting first. Rather, we should be questioning both our politicians and media. That neither can be fully trusted doesn’t mean they are to be completely distrusted. If you understand where each is coming from, you can form a more accurate, practical, and productive world view.

Consider that no significant law has yet been passed during Trump’s first four months in office. The Senate has already scrapped the latest Republican healthcare bill, intending to completely rewrite it, after strong opposition from both extremes. Moreover, Trump’s most dangerous executive orders have been thwarted by the courts. So, despite a majority in both Houses, the Supreme Court, and having one of their own in the Oval Office, Democratic resistance is so strong, Republicans aren’t getting anything done.

Meanwhile, left-leaning media outlets are reporting Republicans will not remove Trump even if they wish because they won’t be able to pass their agenda. That makes no sense. If Trump resigned or was impeached, Mike Pence would be President. Despite his questionable views on women and religion, Pence would not provide his enemies with daily twitter barrages to galvanize their opposition. It’s in the best interests of John McCain and other Republicans who may be on the fence regarding Trump to reach out to Democrats.

Extending an olive branch now would leave twenty months before the 2018 elections bring in new faces. Finding compromises with moderate Democrats in that window would be easier than doing so with extremists in their own camp. Such compromises would likely not result in the contentious town hall meetings many congressman just endured after trying to sell the Freedom Caucus approved AHCA. Easing constituents’ minds by actually governing would probably mitigate the correction mid-term elections typically levy on the party in power, helping many elected Republicans to stay in office.

That said, I am less puzzled as to why Republicans haven’t realized this than why Democrats haven’t tried to sell it to them. Adam Schiff, Democrat and Minority Leader on the House Intelligence Committee, went on Bill Maher’s HBO show, promulgating the line that Republicans need Trump (@ 10:10).

“They all want something from this president before the wheels come completely off the wagon. They want their tax cuts, they want their regulatory repeal of the mining regulations, etc, and then they’ll find their spine.”

Why on Earth would Pence, who famously defunded Planned Parenthood as Indiana Governor, leading to a massive HIV epidemic in Scott County, veto any conservative legislation? The narrative is a fiction Democrats are too willing to buy into so they can obstruct legislation just as Republicans did during the Obama administration. Finding a bipartisan solution would put their future hopes to regain the White House at risk.

Politics has become a war of words rather than a search for peaceful consensus. People migrate to one side or the other. The gap widens. The few who stay in the middle enjoy no safety as missiles fly overhead, however, because sooner or later, all but the one percent will be refugees.

Resist Trump, yes. But be willing to make peace with Republicans who might oppose him. If you refuse, living in a political demilitarized zone may soon become more than a metaphor.


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