I have been an Independent politically for my entire life. Neither of the major parties has won me over enough to identify with either. There are good policy views on both ends of the spectrum, and there are good people on both ends, too.
However, the Republican Party has a long way to go in restoring its reputation, or having any chance of winning me over at the voting booth. A major reason why: its coddling, enabling and outright support of soon-to-be ex-President Trump. As has been well documented, our 45th President has waged a ruthless and relentless assault on truth and longstanding norms that are essential to our country’s survival as a viable democracy.
Although it was somewhat understandable that GOP rank-and-file leaders tolerated Trump before the election three weeks ago, any Republican official who has not clearly and strongly denounced Trump’s behavior since then is now absolutely complicit in engaging in traitorous, despicable conduct.
Locally, on the far left end of the political spectrum, another gut-check has arrived for my neighbors in Oak Park, one of the most politically liberal communities in the country.
On the Far Left: Intolerance, Bullying & Worse
In recent years, I have observed some of the most staunch anti-Trumpers exhibit the same repellent qualities of intolerance, bullying and racially charged rhetoric that they (accurately) ascribe to Trump. As a result, in my capacity as a private citizen, I have spoken up when I see egregious wrong.
Last year, I referred to this approach in the aftermath of one Village Trustee’s embarrassing tirade, in which she “seized on differences in gender, race and any other characteristics as a cudgel to silence and diminish others and their points of view.”
The latest episode occurred this past weekend, when a notorious local online troll branded a public official a white supremacist. That’s bad enough. But it was exacerbated by eight others who “liked” or “loved” the comment. Anyone who had encountered those words was a witness to cyber-bullying, a vile, false accusation and character assassination that must not go unanswered.
Those who fanned the “white supremacist” labeler’s hateful flames behaved much the same as those Republican politicians who have shamefully cowered under Trump’s bullying shadow. These local enablers have so much more to gain by pushing back against the comment, while issuing civil critiques that they may see in the person’s stance on issues or his overall philosophy of governance. By taking that measured, mature approach, they would bolster, rather than damage, their credibility.
These tactics are nothing new. Over the past four years, this local far-left Progressive bloc with unmistakable political aims has engaged in a steady drumbeat of baseless character assassinations against anyone who does not toe the Progressive line. If you are not with them all the way, not only are you against them, but you are also a racist or, at minimum, hell-bent on preserving the racist status quo.
Indirectly by innuendo and blatantly, as in this recent episode, these “Hate Has No Home Here” rogue warriors have resorted to smear tactics that send a signal to potential candidates: enter civic life at your own peril. It’s incumbent on reasonable minds, with reasoned, civil tones, to get off the sidelines and denounce hateful remarks that are beyond the pale. This is true even–or perhaps especially–when they come from those with whom you agree politically.
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