In a healthy democracy, the normal give-and-take (yin/yang) between “left” and “right” naturally promotes beneficial checks and balances. When traditional, ideological partisan differences give way to blind partisan prejudice (even hatred), democracy becomes diseased. This hyper-partisan irrationalis… or blind lemming disease is potentially suicidal. (Footnote: famous parental admonishment from the 1950s, “If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you follow?”).
Consider this Gallup poll on presidential approval ratings that highlights how partisan affiliation (not performance) has become the primary touchstone used by Americans to rate presidential administrations. Obama: Republicans rated him -72 percent; Democrats rated him +46 percent. Bush: Republicans rated him +25 percent; Democrats rated him -51 percent.
Conversely, when looking further back in history, performance (especially performance in the face of adversity) was the primary touchstone past generations used to rate presidential administrations. Kennedy: Republicans rated him +65 percent; Democrats +80 percent. Eisenhower: Republicans rated him +53 percent; Democrats +43 percent.
What might we conclude from these statistics? If Presidents Kennedy or Eisenhower were just leaving office today, their respective opposition parties would be compelled to falsely label two of the most beloved modern American presidencies as “failed administrations,” dutifully white-washing the real truth in this aptly christened post-truth era.
America: Stop following mindless, suicidal, cliff-jumping lemmings.
Michael F. Howard, Boise