After his father was acquitted by the Senate of two impeachment articles, Donald Trump Jr. posted a photo to Instagram of Republican Mitt Romney - who joined Democrats in voting for conviction on abuse of power - in a pair of jeans with these words below: “Mom Jeans. Because you’re a p---y.”
Trump Jr.'s vulgar contribution to collective dialogue on this historical event encapsulated two of the biggest problems with the polarized politics of our country today:
* We are certain many Americans laughed at and cheered the words of Trump Jr. because they talk like him themselves about those with whom they disagree. Similarly, it's likely many of those on the other side who criticized the president's son for his comment used their own derogatory terms to describe him.
The point is this: As a nation, we are drowning in a swill of offensive, personal name-calling. We have become little better than a schoolyard full of bullies.
Too many Americans don't want to work hard enough and take the time necessary to build a reasoned counterargument to a position on an issue different from their own or simply demonstrate respect for someone else's point of view. It's far easier - and hey, much more fun, right? - to just hurl insults. For much of this, of course, we can "thank" social media.
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* As for Romney voting to convict on one article of impeachment, his critics shout: How dare he follow his conscience to a different decision than the one reached by fellow Republicans? He isn't one of us any more, cried Trump Jr., who called for Romney's removal from the party.
No place exists in our country today for independent thought? You toe the party line 100 percent of the time - or else? Really?
You will never convince us some Democrats in the Senate wanted to vote for acquittal and some Republicans other than Romney wanted to vote for conviction, but in the end they took the easier route to spare themselves backlash, including vicious name-calling like that applied to Romney by Trump Jr. Going along to get along probably happens more - both inside and outside of Washington, D.C. - in America today than ever before due to negative consequences for expression of honesty.
We are a lesser nation for these problems and both political sides share blame for pushing us to this place.
For that, we have a "p word" of our own.