More and more I am hearing the complaint that Democrats self-destruct, that we attack our own, that we eat, as it were, our young. I don’t see it that way at all. And if I appear partisan in my many past castigations of Republicans I can assure you that’s an illusion. I use the term “Republicans” as a convenience. What I really mean to say is “evil people.”
It’s just that Republicans behave like evil people so often these days and Democrats behave like the good guys so often these days that it becomes convenient to use the names Republicans and Democrats as shorthand for “evil people” and “the good guys,” respectively. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Permit me to set the record straight. I call balls and strikes on politicians. Period. If a Democrat had stood before a group of unsavory thugs and encouraged them to go to the Capitol Building and register their displeasure with lawmakers, displeasure about how those lawmakers were going about the people’s business, I would be the first to cry foul. And if five people had died as a result of that little demonstration of imbecility I would hold that Democrat partly responsible for those deaths.
That isn’t eating our young, that’s defending the moral principles of right versus wrong. That’s what we’re supposed to do. That’s what makes us the good guys. That’s what makes us different. “When they go low we go high” isn’t just a nice sounding slogan. We go high because high is where moral rectitude lives. We don’t go low because low is where lying and cheating and corruption live.
Very soon you’re going to see what I’m referring to in the second Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. You’re going to see a lot of Republican Senators wringing their hands and clutching their pearls and whining about how unfairly Donald Trump is being treated and how we’re all out to get him, when in reality they would be “out to get” the former president with even greater viciousness and vindictiveness and zeal were the situation reversed and the former president had been a Democrat. For most of them it’s all about partisan politics and nothing else.
The truth of the matter is, had Donald Trump been a Democrat he’d be in big trouble right now. Because if he’d been a Democrat, a lot of Democrats would probably vote to convict him by the end of this impeachment trial. Because we are more about right and wrong and less about parties. That’s why we’re the good guys. Let’s not lose that.
If Joe Biden tells 25,000 lies (or is it 35,000?) I’m going to call him out on it. If he insults Republicans with tweets and those tweets are lies and those lies endanger the lives of the Republicans in question, I’m going to call him out on it. If Joe Biden tries to take credit for the hard work of other people, if he turns into a relentless, shameless braggart, I’m going to call him out on it. If he brags about grabbing women by their lower extremities I’m going to call him out on it. If he mocks a disabled reporter I’m going to call him out on it.
I’m not going to cover for Joe Biden if he’s wrong. Period. That’s not what I do, and that’s not what Palmer Report does, and that’s not what most Democrats do. We defend that which is right and repudiate that which is wrong. It only seems partisan because Republicans have become so corrupt over the years that 99% of the wrong these days is done by them. I know how partisan that sounds, but I refuse to dress it up in anything else, because that’s the way it is.
That’s why so many Republican candidates for public office these days are jerks with checkered and even criminal pasts. Only a jerk would want to be a Republican in the first place, and their criminal pasts are convenient embarrassments that can be leveraged by party bosses to keep them in line. It’s a cancerous growth that began decades ago and gets worse with each passing year.
You think otherwise? Ask yourself these questions then. Would someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene have been a viable Republican Congressional candidate in the 1990s? Of course not. And would a Republican president create an agency like the EPA today, as Richard Nixon did? Of course not. The corruption has been slow and steady and inexorable for decades.
Republicans look like the bad guys these days because that’s what they are. Evil and Republicanism have become interchangeable because they have made it that way. They have no one to blame but themselves. The party of Abraham Lincoln has transformed itself into the hideous monster that it is today by slow and insidious decay.
So when we criticize a Democrat for stepping out of line we do it for good reason. Because they stepped out of line. If a Democrat breaks a promise or tells a lie I’m going to call him or her out on it. Because we serve a higher good, a moral ideal. We are about truth over party and right over wrong. Let’s, never, ever forget it. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.