The Rabbit Hole of American Political Discourse

A columnist at Philly.com wrote a piece called “America…what the hell’s wrong with us” about the Bowe Bergdahl story and captured the bizarro world that is American political discourse. He points out the hypocrisy of some politicians calling out the President last year for not doing enough to secure the freedom of Bergdahl and then lambasting the President for the prisoner exchange that freed him. He also writes that this whole story arc is predictable (he’s right), and so didn’t really bother him until learning that Bergdahl’s hometown had to cancel a homecoming celebration due to all the nastiness. That’s when he decided we’d really reached a new low in our society:

But the bottom line is that if you see a woman standing in the middle of the road and a Mack Truck bearing down on her, you don’t stop to grill her on whether she just used heroin or left her child on a stoop somewhere. You pick her up and swoop her out of the street, and deal with the rest later. So should it be with saving Sgt. Bergdahl. For God’s sake, where’s the humanity? A couple of decades ago, two Inquirer reporters wrote an award-winning series and book called “America: What Went Wrong?” Today it’s more appropriate to ask, America…what the hell’s wrong with us?

Here’s what one fairly knowledgeable chap said about the Bergdahl affair earlier today. “We don’t leave Americans behind. That’s unequivocal.” That wasn’t some knee-jerk Obama apologist in Congress, that was former Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Bergdahl’s supreme commanding officer when he was captured in 2009, and — if you recall — not a big fan of the president. But he does know right from wrong. As noted here the other day, Israel traded more than 1,000 prisoners, including a sizable number of Palestinians detained for alledgedly murderous acts of terrorism, to win back just ONE of its citizens. Say you will about the Israeli government’s policies, but the Israeli citizens value human life. I don’t know what America values anymore.

Did Bergdahl make a horrible mistake in judgment, or worse, when he left his base? Probably. Did some American troops die in combat because of the search for Bergdahl or related events. Possibly. But we should also talk about the fact that we sent thousands of American soldiers into a war that has lasted a remarkable 13 years, and the longer that a war lasts, the more heartbreaking, soul-crushing things are going to happen. It’s even more tragic when our leaders can’t even articulate why our troops — Bergdahl, the ones who went looking for him, the ones who will be there even after the war was supposed to end later this year — are even in Afghanistan anymore. Today, Pennsylvania lost one of our own — Capt. Jason B. Jones of Orwigsburg in Schuylkill County, killed by small arms fire in Jalalabad. Please take a moment and honor Captain Jones’ sacrifice — if you can hear yourself think over the sick cries of political blood lust.

I agree with the writer that the cynicism is sickening and I fear it’s only going to get worse. Ironically, the people who claim to be bringing morality back to government seem very intent in not following the Golden Rule. We’d be a helluva lot better off if they’d take a refresher course on moral behavior and then started to walk their talk.

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