CNN’s Cillizza nails the problem.
Admission: I’m not a huge fan of Chris Cillizza because to me, his role at CNN appears to be mostly click-bait; reacting as quickly and often as possible, in a sensationalist way, to current news. I don’t blame him for it, business is business and CNN needs to feed its kids. I can also admire that he is good at it. But because of the sensationalist purpose, I don’t take most of his observations seriously.
Today however, Chris nails it.
“No matter who you blame — if you blame anyone — for these acts (and the clear increase in them), it’s impossible to separate them from the political climate in which they are committed. It is beyond debate that we not only live in a time of remarkable political polarization but that we also have increasingly come to regard those who disagree with us as not just wrong or dumb, but evil.”
This, my friends, is the core of the problem. The problem is not objectionable politicians ascending to power; that is but a symptom. The problem is that we became comfortable in America with divisive behavior. It began as a means to an end, finding new traction in the nineties. Twenty years later it has become habit.
We have to re-learn why we need to behave in the political arena the same way we behave with our spouses, friends, coworkers and teammates: Persuade instead of alienate.