The feigned outrage from republicans and doublespeak from democrats over the discovery of classified documents in President Biden’s private home surely disheartens the American people. Not only must voters endure negligence from their leaders and the staff they employ; they must also listen to partisan vitriol in the media. After Biden critiqued the former president for hiding privileged government material, and then was caught with the same mess, pundits on the left fashioned an imaginary moral inequivalence between Biden’s “simple mistake” and Trump’s “criminal intent.” Demagogues on the right fare no differently. Some republicans whimper that the administration unfairly targeted Trump at his Mar-a-Lago compound out of personal hatred; whereas Biden must answer for his crimes.
One might easily exonerate such polarizing voices. After all, aren’t politicians meant to bicker against the other side? Yet, political discourse once evinced intelligence and civility—or at least seemed to. Now, whoever screams the loudest, gets the most publicity; and that’s an unhealthy way to run a democracy. Many in Washington seem more interested in detracting against their opponents, rather than fixing the myriad problems facing the nation. The fact that two living presidents – one in office, the other planning his return – are under the investigation of a special counsel for negligence with highly classified material, and no one seems to agree that both are wrong, only exacerbates an already precarious political landscape. All of this should make us reconsider our political allegiances; not necessarily to a person, or even to a party, but to a better kind of politics.