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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The death of both parties

Posted Friday, March 16, 2012, at 9:36 PM

American political dialogue has always been bad, particularly in the early and mid-19th Century. Maybe it's to be expected for candidates and their supporters to hate their opponents and talk about them in such ways. It waxes and wanes but has worsened since the mid-1990s as politics degenerated into teeth-gnashing. Republicans are often rebuked for talking abusively of Democrats, but both parties are keeping the wellsprings of democracy fouled. A Texas Republican who had just been elected to Congress told me a few years ago that he was dismayed to learn Democrats would not sit in the same seat as a Republican on the Washington subway. They'd look spitefully at the Republican and move.

I don't often quote the Bible in these postings, but 1st John 3:15 warns, "Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him." So we see how bad this behavior is. There is nothing wrong with vigorous, whole-hearted competition. The United States is built on it. Do your best and when the game is over, shake hands and be magnanimous. Respect a strong opponent. He will make you better.

I believe the folly that keeps the President and Congress from handling the big issues is based on the western movies in which the hero and villain meet at high noon with their gunhands over their shootin' irons. The bad guy draws first, but the good guy guns him down. The only Old West showdown known to have happened like this was between Wild Bill Hickok and Dave Tutt on July 21, 1865, in Springfield, Mo. The winner was the one whose name you recognize and it was such an unusual event that it was written about in a national magazine. All other gunfights of the era took place in less glamorous ways because the combatants knew the more heroic approach would usually result in the death of both parties.

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James R. Campbell
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