Q: Are US politics more contentious than ever before?
Politics sure seem ugly nowadays. Republicans say it started with the left attacking Bush. Democrats say it started with the witchhunt of Bill Clinton’s fondness for big butts leading to impeachment.
And the US has had rough patches in its history, like before the Civil War, when a Congressman was nearly beaten to death with a cane. But that was before the Civil War (!) where the country spent 4 years destroying itself and the death toll was 700,000 Americans….
But also in the early years of the Republic, there was lots of mud-slinging among presidential candidates, and many of our early presidents were involved in duels, so I’m not sure we can compare that time to the 21st century.
So should we be worried at the present state of affairs, or are politics supposed to be full of hatred and name-calling?
A: The fact that the Republicans were pleased that the United States lost the bid for the Olympics and upset that our president won the Nobel Peace Prize just shows how ridiculously contentious US politics have become, particularly among the right-wing. The Republicans don’t care what Obama does anymore; they are against everything he says without even stopping to think about it. Their justification (when they stop to give one) is that the Democrats were immediately against everything Bush did, and it’s somehow not hypocritical if they do it back to the Democrats. Of course, the Democrats had years of examples to draw these conclusions from, but I digress.
We should be worried about the present state of affairs. Unlike positive dissent, they do not spur proper debate. Instead, we get bogged down talking about untruths. Until we can cure the nation of this knee-jerk conservativism, we will be wasting our time and energy on political rhetoric rather than governmental policy.