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Hate And Vitriol Climb Higher And Higher

What a great country we live in! You get to think and believe whatever you want and so do I. For the most part, we get to act how we want, too.

But zealots are trying really hard to change that.

Recently, I wrote a piece on why I think Joe Biden is failing. I also wrote that if the choice boils down to Donald Trump or Joe Biden, I would not hesitate to vote for Trump. My reasoning is simple. I don’t like Trump. I detest his arrogance and the seventh-grade name calling he often resorts to . . . which, when you think about it might be an insult to seventh-graders.

My apologies, young gentlemen and ladies!

Trump doesn’t act presidential in any way, shape or form.

But I sure enjoyed the economy when he was in office. I enjoyed him saying that under his watch we would always be American first – especially coming off the Barack Obama World Apology Tour. I enjoyed $2 a gallon gas. I enjoyed that we still welcomed immigrants, but said they had to live within the rules of the country. I enjoyed that our military was once again celebrated.

Under President Biden, I don’t enjoy any of those things.

If it were left up to me, and let’s all be thankful it’s not, I think those are some of the things by which we should take measure when judging a president’s performance. I never believe we should vote for the party. We should make our decisions based on the man or woman running for office, and that decision should be performance based, not sound bites, video snippets and elaborate Madison Avenue advertising campaigns or, God forbid, signs!

Unfortunately, that is not where a lot of folks are in our country. There are zealots – some on the left and some on the right – who are dominating the moment. After I wrote that I would vote for Trump, albeit grudgingly, multiple readers first came out of the woodwork, and then unglued. Some went beyond nasty. To be fair, several are regular readers who often take a different point of view than this old reporter. They have taken me to task on occasion – almost always in a way where we could still smile and be friends after the discussion.

Not this time. Some wrote things that simply were not true and one even took a threatening tone.

Conversely, a couple of others – from the conservative side – wanted to know when I became a member of the liberal media and why was I bashing Trump?

Yup, same column – polar opposite reactions.

The overriding point is that things are changing today. Some folks simply don’t want to allow you a differing point of view. They are certainly entitled to theirs, but apparently feel they need to attack anyone who disagrees. Zealots seem to forget that we all get to have our own opinion.

Let me repeat that.

We. All. Get. To. Have. Our. Own. Opinion.

It’s been said in this space before that gone are the days where fierce political rivals in the halls of Congress could go at each other tooth and nail in debate and yet end up sharing a nice dinner together at a D.C. restaurant that evening. Social media has driven a wood stake so far into the heart of that practice it would take more than a magic spell to bring it back to life. Today, hatefulness and spite are quick responses should someone take a disagreeable point of view.

Thing is, I don’t mind the vitriol directed my way. As a newspaper vagabond with more years and miles on my Weejuns that I can remember, my skin’s pretty thick. Where I hate to see the attacks are against the average Joe on social media. It’s why I can’t like Trump. Say something that doesn’t line up with the former president and he’s on the attack, mocking, name calling and ready for a fight. He may not have been the first person to be that way, but he has turned it into a political art form.

Even Biden is getting in the act. We’ll have to wait and see if calling Trump voters fascists impacts him like the “deplorables” comment did to Hillary.

It’s been said many times in this space, and I’ll probably keep hammering away at it, we desperately need to be able to have civil discourse in this country. If we have opposing points of views, we need to respect each other’s position and either agree to disagree, or heavens to mergatroid, possibly find some common ground.

If we don’t, expect a lot more politicians who look and sound like Trump on both sides of the aisle.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.