In America, a song by The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas explains, “cities come together to hate each other in the name of sport.” In politics, the sentiment is very similar — if not identical.
Too often, people who identify either as conservative or liberal will bring up examples of politicians involved in wrongdoing that should not be ignored by their supporters. In response, political enemies will claim ignorance while on other occasions, they will flat-out deny any wrongdoing claim. It’s common to see these folks living in denial throughout their pet politician’s full term, ignoring calls for justice even as the number of victims grows at staggering rates.
Under President Barack Obama, for instance, most of those on the left chose to ignore their president’s excruciating war on due process. Not that he deserves to be called the inventor of these tactics, per se, but he surely perfected it.
As Obama now readies to leave, we can safely say his legacy is one of murder by drone, putting countless air force veterans in distress for their role in the killing of justice. But even as a great number of people on the right, as well as others who do not identify as one or the other, pressured the President to respond to these crimes — often using the tragic case of the American boy murdered in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen as an example of Obama’s unjust war — many looked the other way.
But that’s not all. Also under Obama, supporters ignored his previous calls for an end to the revolving door, dismissing his cabinet picks and ignoring the president’s lack of commitment to keeping his word so early in this presidency.
Now, as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, current president Obama seems to have finally become somewhat concerned about the immense amount of power the executive branch of the U.S. government has. Unfortunately, his concerns are skin-deep, as he failed to mention his administration’s far from respectable record.
In a recent column for the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney calls on Obama for “[lecturing] Washington about constitutional and democratic conduct of war” after having invaded Libya in 2011. But don’t expect to see any left-leaning news organization doing the same.
When President George W. Bush was gearing up to fight an unjustified war in Iraq, liberal organizations backed the effort not because Bush was their guy, but because left-wing darlings such as then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton also backed the deal, claiming that the Iraqi “so-called presidential palaces … in reality were huge compounds well suited to hold weapons labs, stocks, and records which Saddam Hussein was required by UN resolution to turn over.” A vast majority of the media, which often identifies itself as liberal, went along with the plan precisely because both “sides” in Washington were coming together to push for war. But once it was established that Bush did, in fact, lie us into war, the media embraced the opportunity to slam his judgment call. Iraq war backers like Clinton were given a pass.
With Trump in power, things could be different.
Trump has tickled the senses of both progressives and conservatives, pitting longtime Republicans against Trump and his supporters, and bringing left-leaning and right-leaning leaders together to “put an end,” as they often said, to Trump’s campaign.
With Trump’s victory, their plan to put a strongly connected Democrat with well-known ties to rogue nations and destructive special interests fell apart. And what was left was a sea of discontent, poisoning the very core of both political parties. With few “established” supporters, Trump runs the risk of always being criticized, no matter who’s on the other side of the screen.
While many conservatives run the risk of simply nodding and going along with Trump’s every plan simply because he ran as a Republican, the reality is that people on both sides are now more at ease with the concept of taking part in criticism.
If anything, the Trump “revolution” could finally help us build some immunity to favoritism, helping us look at policies for what they are while bringing people together because of what these policies will create, not because of party preferences.