Both parties have had hand in fueling hate
The stage was set for the 2020 General Election Campaign to be ugly, long before it officially got underway.
The seeds for this year’s ugliness actually were planted half a decade ago during the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, and there has been little, if any, respite from that “planting” in any of the years since.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats can honestly claim innocence regarding the hateful debacle that is engulfing the nation. Both sides have been guilty of cultivating the weeds that are choking out what should be an honorable, fruitful field and landscape epitomizing the greatness of America’s freedoms.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how much more the overall political environment might worsen — and become a more bloated embarrassment to this country — before Nov. 3 and until the final votes are counted.
However, it is not hard to harbor fears about the future prospects for respectful, honorable political dialogue, rather than the despicable, disrespectful verbal sniping that has marked the weeks and months leading up to today.
And, of course, two full weeks and part of a third remain until Election Day, when millions of Americans, including residents of the Southern Alleghenies region, finally will be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief that this long nightmare of a campaign will no longer overshadow other important developments, domestic and foreign.
But will Campaign 2020 really end on Nov. 3? Probably not, considering how sturdy remain its troubling roots and the fact that hatred cannot be turned off like a light switch.
A couple of incidents in recent days — one in Pennsylvania and one beyond — are indicative of the degree of hatred, disrespect and outright lawlessness upon which all Americans need to reflect and commit themselves to eradicating by way of good example and a healing attitude.
All considered, the road to such an outcome seems destined to be bumpy and filled with many obstacles and uncertainties, most of them human. Complicating the prospects of what can be accomplished is, of course, the pandemic that is exhibiting few signs of weakening and, in some states, growing radically.
The two incidents about which Americans need to be deeply troubled and concerned, now and going forward, are the criminal plot in Michigan aimed at kidnapping and “putting on trial” that state’s governor, and the verbal confrontation — the racial slur — launched against the wife of this state’s lieutenant governor by a woman at a Braddock grocery store.
Highly disturbing about the Michigan plot is that it is indicative of a dangerous conspiratorial mindset without boundaries; the Pennsylvania incident delivered the message that attitudes of a less enlightened time still are alive to a degree that most residents of this commonwealth had mistakenly assumed were gone, or at least generally relegated to private thought.
Like it or not, both incidents were — and are — mirrors of the hate-filled environment in Washington, D.C., that is so dominating American life and rotting this nation’s fabric.
The time is right for Pennsylvania to take a stronger stand against hate and move ahead with bipartisan hate-crime legislation that currently is before the General Assembly.
As state Rep. Dan Frankel, who represents part of Allegheny County, rightly observed, “We cannot legislate what is in people’s hearts, but we can send a loud message that Pennsylvania stands together against hate.”
The louder the better.