We are in the midst of one of the great historical moments of the 21st century: the impeachment trial of the President of the United States.
So, Jim, what do you think? Whose side are you on? Who do you want to win?
My answer: How ‘bout them Lakers? Is Jimmy Garoppolo the greatest QB in the NFL or just the best-looking? Are you going to watch the Oscars?
If you think that’s being a bit evasive, you’re right. I am very interested in politics, but I don’t argue politics. I do enjoy discussing the subject, but today’s poisoned civic atmosphere makes that pretty unlikely, and, on social media, completely impossible.
I will admit to being a middle-of-the road kind of guy, but my clan looks to be shrinking like a tortoise’s head in a hailstorm. Both the Democrats and the Republicans have retreated into tribes with blood tests for “proper” political conformity every 20 minutes. There is Doctrine and no deviation from it is permitted.
On the left, we have the “cancel” culture where one imagined misdeed from the past makes you either a pariah or an apology machine. The allegedly “woke” folks tend to discard the messiness of human nature and the perspective of history in favor of applying 2020 measurements to the realities of 1920 or 1970 or even 2000.
This self-righteous worldview infects especially young people. Abraham Lincoln may have freed the slaves, sure, but what did he do for women’s rights? And why didn’t he stand up for same-sex marriage?
On the right, we have the purge of moderates from the Republican Party. If you’re not hard-line on abortion, homosexuality, immigration (especially of those with the darker skin tones) then you’re some kind of socialist commie, or –even worse! – a RINO, which stands for Republican in Name Only.
Even issues in which we should find easy consensus bring dramatic splits. Does even modest gun control automatically mean gun confiscation? Does admitting that there are many cops who are good, brave and honest people mean you don’t grieve at every accidental police shooting and think more needs to be done to avoid those tragedies?
Of course, the self-evident truth is that nobody has ever changed someone else’s mind on Facebook, especially by calling them names such as “fascist” or “communist” or “Libtards” or “rednecks.” I’m too busy to waste my time with such futility.
So I don’t believe I’ll argue politics. But here’s what I do believe.
“All men [and women] are created equal.” Thomas Jefferson.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12.
“Anyone who judges by the group is a pea wit.” Michael Shaara.
“The loudest person in the room is the weakest.” Denzel Washington.
Jim Tortolano’s Retorts is posted on alternate Wednesdays.