Thursday, March 21, 2019

#80 / Downright Evil

May I emphasize that I am NOT suggesting that Cory Booker, candidate for president, and pictured above, is "downright evil." Far from it. I have no particular opinion about Booker, and am looking forward to finding out more about him during the upcoming campaign. My headline references a March 19, 2019, column in The New York Times, which bore this title: "Cory Booker Finds His Moment." The column, by Times pundit David Brooks, indicates that Booker is, as Brooks sees it, appealing to the voters' "basic decency." If you follow Brooks, at all, you will understand that he finds that appealing. 

Actually, I also think that appealing to the basic decency of other people is always the best approach. You don't get to be a Quaker and a believer in nonviolence by adopting a strategy of "eye for an eye," and "hate for hate." This "hate for hate" approach is the one Brooks objects to, and he believes that Booker is going to see if that "basic decency" idea can be made to work at the level of presidential politics. We know it works best at the level of disputes with a nextdoor neighbor.

I am writing about Brooks' column because he cites to a research paper that has apparently found that "42 percent of the people in each party regard their opposition as 'downright evil.'"

That is not comforting. That is not the way to go. People have different views, and different interests. The great thing about the United States is that we have held, right from the beginning, that freedom to speak out, freedom to get together with others with whom you agree, and freedom of worship, are basic rights that underlie our commitment to democratic self-government. 

Can we eliminate the phrase "downright evil" from sentences referring to Donald J. Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Party? 

Let's try! That will really put our commitment to diversity and respect for difference to the test!

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