At my favorite (other) blogsite, I got a bit weary of the commenters’ chorus: “Those hypocrite Democrats!” “Every member of Congress is a crook!” “You can’t trust any of ’em!” “They’re [crap]!” etc. etc. etc.
So I unloaded a holier-than-thou armchair diagnosis, which I’ve pasted in here:
Maybe this will explain the widespread moaning and gnashing of teeth over the supposedly “ubiquitous” villainy and worthlessness of our elected officials:
As kids, we were taught that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, et al., were brave defenders of the Republic. And we assumed there were modern-day knights in shining armor who would carry on the glorious tradition. . . . Some of us experienced the inevitable disappointments that accompany growing up, and were able to absorb the pain in manageable doses, without becoming embittered. We realize that nobody’s perfect, that some are more corrupt or hypocritical or weak than others, but that sweeping generalizations (about political parties, bureacrats, teachers, union members, police, military personnel, clergy, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, or anyone else) are overreactions. That is, some of us get over our adolescent disappointments and learn to accept imperfection and nuance; others harden into habitual stereotyping, villainizing, and “Us good, them bad” simpletonism.
What I didn’t ask on the other blog, and what I wonder about: Do “the other guys” (conservatives, libertarians) make blanket generalizations any more often than liberals do? My guess is that we’re all equally simpleminded.