When it comes to assessing bad behavior, one of the favorite rhetorical conceits of two major political demographic groups in the US, the politically conservative and the politically lazy, is that of equating bad behavior by individual Democrats with the bad behavior of Republican elected officials, party apparatchiks, and their base.
The politically conservative do it because they understand that using the bad behavior of individual Ds to tar Ds as a group might serve to diminish the impact of the tarring of individual Rs with the bad behavior of Rs as a group.
The politically lazy do it because it's easier than actually observing and analyzing actions and policies for themselves. You know, actually being civically engaged.
Early this past week, former president George W. Bush went into a hospital for a heart-related procedure (he had a stent put in to unblock an artery). He received well wishes from people across the political spectrum and across the world (Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin chimed in...just not at the same time :) ).
However, many of the online stories received comments that were something other than "well wishes". Most of the comment threads contain postings that wish continued ill health or even death upon Bush. Other postings are milder, but indicate a distinct lack of sympathy for him.
One person who I deeply respect and care for, someone who is highly intelligent and (usually) highly perceptive, took in all of this on Tuesday morning and whipped off an email expressing outrage, and...wait for it...that the hate-filled expressions of anonymous individuals on the internet is proof that Democrats as a group are as filled with hate as Republicans as a group.
I spent the rest of Tuesday morning trying to come up with a response that was appropriately reasoned and thoughtful.
Then Tuesday afternoon hit, and nothing I could come up with was going to top the reality that is the state of "discourse" among the Republicans.
From Talking Points Memo, written by Perry Stein -
As President Barack Obama spoke in Phoenix Tuesday about responsible home ownership, hundreds of people stood outside protesting his policies, many shouting and carrying racially charged chants and signs.
"Bye Bye Black Sheep," the protestors shouted at one point, a reference to the president's skin color, according to the Arizona Republic.
Another protestor carried a sign that said "Impeach the Half-White Muslim!"
“He’s 47 percent Negro,” one protestor shouted.
“We have gone back so many years,” Judy Burris told the Republic. “He’s divided all the races. I hate him for that.”
Just a couple of points here, and this is where things get a little blunt.
1. There are those who will try to claim that the bigotry shown by the protesters at the President's appearance in Ahwatukee was an isolated event that is hardly reflective of the demeanor and actions of Republican elected officials. They will be lying.
2. The anonymous rantings of morons on the internet don't reflect upon the entirety of Democrats in America any more than they reflect upon the entirety of Republicans.
3. We (meaning Democrats) have our share of, oh, what's the technical term? Oh yeah - freakin' loons at the fringes, as well as officeholders who bring great shame to their offices. So do the Republicans. The difference being that where we marginalize our loons and power abusers, they lionize theirs.
And when one (or more) of ours steps out of line, we call them on it - witness the sexual harassment complaints lodged against Democrat Bob Filner, mayor of San Diego, and the growing calls, by Democrats, for him to resign from office.
Compare this to the thunderous silence from the Right over the revelations surrounding AZ Attorney General Tom Horne and his pattern of giving his girlfriends taxpayer-funded jobs.
4. Enough already. I consider myself to be a pretty even-keeled kind of guy, but the next person who pontificates on how Democrats and Republicans are the same is going to hear three words from me.
Bullshit. Prove it.
And when they don't prove it, and they won't, I'm going to look them in the eye, call them a liar, turn my back upon them, and walk away.