With a tumultuous year coming to a thankful close, it would be good if everyone could try to take a deep breath and lower the volume just a little bit in 2018.
If you want to get depressed, visit Twitter. From the president on down, the level of debate makes mud-wrestling seem classy. Name-calling comes quick and actual debate is relegated to the back seat -- if there’s even any room in the car. The only thing surprising about the intellectual Ta-Nehisi Coates leaving Twitter is that it didn’t happen sooner.
It’s obviously not just the Twittersphere. Routine political rhetoric has gone off the rails – perhaps encouraging violent acts. The bad old days of Charles Sumner getting caned on the Senate floor before the Civil War don’t seem so remote when lawmakers are getting gunned down when they’re playing baseball or speaking outside a shopping center.
It obviously doesn’t help when the president is often our name-caller-in-chief, routinely exhibiting behavior that would get most children punished. But the solution isn’t to slime back by jumping into the gutter.
We’re going to see a lot of politics in 2018 and that can be a good thing for all of us. Debate is essential but so is decency. We’ve got a lot to do and say in the coming year but let’s try to treat each other with a little more compassion when the going gets tough. Happy holidays.