I noticed a friend on Twitter today who was blowing up an acquaintance over supporting the President’s justification for the Soleimani killing. The thing is the friend and acquaintance are friends. But standing by the President on this seems to have been a bridge too far. When I asked, my friend said it was all too much.
This is, actually, increasingly common. I don’t want to name this reporter, whose work I respect a great deal, but when President Trump tweeted, “all is well,” she connected it to Animal House. Then there was the NBC reporter who threw “all is well” back in the President’s face after the Ukrainian airline went down. The first reporter I referenced too went beyond subtweet against the President when he called for a free press in the streets of Iran because of how he treats the media here.
Not everything needs to be about the President, but increasingly reporters are making it all about the President. Some decided to compare crowd sizes between the presidential inauguration and Soleimani’s funeral — never mind that it is objectively true many people were compelled to be there by force.
Iranians marching against the regime are not getting the same treatment as Soleimani’s funeral because the narrative against the President is what is important. And it is not just reporters, but all of us.
We have increasingly lost tolerance for one another to disagree on politics. I see friends who have a clear record of criticizing the President now getting criticized for supporting his decisions on Iran. I see friends who have clear records supporting the President now getting blown up for questioning his decisions on Iran.
Each side is more interested in serving as ideological enforcers for their own sides than allowing people to think for themselves and possibly disagree. Add into this that we are in uncharted territory politically. No one alive today has had to deal with all the political crap we are dealing with right now. There are certainly some close comparisons, but nothing really like now with the internet and social media layered on top.
Mercy is sparing people from the things they deserve. Grace is giving people that which they do not deserve. A lot of people think a lot of others do not deserve either respect or the benefit of the doubt or even the ability to state an opinion these days. They want to how no mercy and no grace.
The reality is nothing is permanent in politics. Those who have expended the most energy on political permanence are the ones who have often found themselves footnotes in history. Among friends and in society, we need to give each other room to disagree and spend more time pushing back against the mob than against those with whom we disagree.
Either we all show each other some modicum of grace, or we’re toast as a nation.