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Here at Capitol Hill Blue we’ve noticed a disturbing increase in hatred in comments posted by readers.
Hatred towards President George W. Bush, hatred towards Senator Hillary Clinton, hatred towards former President Bill Clinton and even hatred towards this country.
This disturbs us. It disturbs us a great deal. While we agree with many of our readers that this country is in great trouble, we cannot agree with the level of vitriol that is directed at those who serve in or seek public office.
We disagree strongly with the policies of President Bush. However, our disagreements are driven by concerns over his policies, not personal animosity. We do not believe the ills of this country can be corrected through hate, threats of violence or disrespect towards those who might disagree with us.
President Clinton often used the phrase “politics of personal destruction” to describe his enemies and it is true that the campaigns of too many who opposed both he and his wife were driven by a personal dislike of both. However, the Clintons also used the power of the White House to wage personal wars against their opponents.
The White House of George W. Bush is just as, if not more so, vengeful when it comes to punishing enemies. Opponents are not just discredited but lives often destroyed. It is said that all is fair in love and war and politics is often portrayed as war.
So, too, is too much political commentary as practiced by those who post comments on news sites like Capitol Hill Blue or the many blogs and bulletin boards that deal with politics.
Too often the commentary goes beyond philosophical differences and descends into outright hatred. We saw it over the weekend in comments posted about the resignation of White House spokesman Tony Snow who is fighting a losing battle with colon cancer.
We saw it in comments posted about Senator Larry Craig, who resigned Saturday amid questions about his guilty plea on charges of soliciting sex from an undercover policeman in a Minneapolis airport men’s room.
We see it in comments posted on too many stories by those on both sides of the political divide.
And we wonder: Is there any chance for resolution of our problems when those with differing opinions become so polarized? Can we find a middle ground when neither side is willing to even listen to the points of view of others? Has political belief become so absolute that only one point of view can be correct all of the time?
We believe it is time for those on all sides to step back and think before they speak, to consider before they pontificate and to remember that absolutes are seldom found in a country as diverse as the United States of America.
As the publisher of Capitol Hill Blue, I pledge to try and do that with my writings. I have not always done so in the past and that was my failing. I will try to do better in the future. I may slip, as I have in the past, because I am human and I have a temper that I lose too often but a month off to reflect on where this web site has been and where it must go has led me to believe that words spoken in anger or opinions driven by animosity cannot accomplish real change in this troubled nation.
We cannot, and must not, advocate positions or spread information that is driven by hate, personal prejudices or political agendas. We must promote reasoned discourse on the issues and problems that face our country.
If we succeed, everyone benefits. If we fail, and as humans we will from time to time, we will depend on our readers to remind us that we have. You, after all, are the reason we publish this labor of love called Capitol Hill Blue.