It just can’t be that a quarter of the country’s voting population is evil, or Marxists, fascists, racists or unpatriotic. Yes, plenty of each exist in a country with a population of 325 million. That’s just the law of averages, which also accounts for the 2.3 million felons, thugs, liars and cheats serving time in prison.
Yet no one would conclude that the criminal element rivals the number of decent people in the country, just as it’s wrong to assert that fringe elements in the major parties are evidence that one is populated by fiends and the other by angels.
That’s where we are this election season, as disagreements over ideology have turned into verbal muggings that go way beyond mere name-calling and into assertions that the parties are out to corrupt the entire country. That may be a campaign tactic, but it’s not true and it’s wrong.
This is why, of the numerous political screeds and rants this paper has received as letters to the editor in recent weeks, none of them have been or will be published.
The purpose of letters to the editor — as opposed to social media outlets where no one considers responsibility to the country, the public, to individuals or even to rational thought — is to stimulate reasonable discussion. It isn’t to vilify an entire segment of the citizenry.
Holding strong beliefs is normal, but it’s folly to believe that imposing those beliefs on those who think otherwise won’t have dangerous consequences. A quarter of the nation’s voters won’t just fade into the night because the other side wins.
And that’s the most telling fact of them all — the number of voters who identify with one of the major political parties now just hovers above 25 percent for each, while Independent voters clock in at 44 percent.
We think some of this shift is related to all the vitriol, the outrageous claims and rabble-rousing. We’re not going to be a part of that.