Welcome to the year of divisiveness. The year of arguments and quarrelling.
Gone are the days of yesteryear when families could respectfully disagree with each other on politics. Nowadays a person’s worth and social acceptance are decided by, unfortunately, one question: Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
In the old days, I used to say I belonged to a political party. I used to always gleefully announce I am a registered member of such-and-such party. But I do not believe that is helpful today. I would cringe, now, to say I belong to any party, especially considering how horribly both parties are run.
On one hand you have the Republican party, formerly led by Donald Trump and maybe so in 2024. Trump tells a lot of whoppers — and that’s saying a lot, even for a career politician. Indeed, a Washington Post fact-checker credited Trump for telling 30,573 lies over the course of his presidency.
Let’s not sugarcoat this: Trump is a humongous liar, and he has turned the Republican Party into a party of conspiracy theories, half-truths and all-out dishonesty. This is not a man I could, in good conscience, ever cast a ballot for, especially in light of his shameful, yet-predictable, response to losing the 2020 election, which resulted in anarchy at the U.S. Capitol, imperiled the lives of many of our policymakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, resulting in the deaths of five people.
So, the Republican party is not an option for me.
And as for the Democrats, I can’t say I am very pleased with them, either. After viewing the nationwide riots last year, seeing their slap-on-the-wrist responses to violent protesters, seeing liberal celebrities bailing out these lawbreakers from prison, seeing Joe Biden’s silence during the riots in an election year — this was all shameful behavior as well.
The Democrats do not speak for me, either. Many people wrongly assume that the Democrats are the party of the little guy/gal, that they’re for the disenfranchised. But that is simply not the case.
The Democrats have been in charge of San Francisco for a very long time, and they haven’t made an ounce of progress there. Homeless people are everywhere, and rent is exorbitant. You could almost confuse San Francisco with some Republican dystopian nightmare, but it’s the Dems at the helm, and the blame lies squarely at their feet.
And to make matters worse, the Democratic Party has become far too politically correct. I am a true believer in kindness, love and mercy — but the Dems have become the party of censorship, of rewriting history. As the old cliche goes, “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Apparently, the party of Andrew Jackson has adopted the mentality, If it offends me, I have the right to tear it down! And that’s why TV, comic books and art have changed so drastically within the last five years. Liberalism gone amuck.
The integrity of the Republican Party is also crumbling before our eyes. Abraham Lincoln would be rolling in his grave if he could see the white supremacist groups Trump was pandering to, whom Trump tactlessly refused to disavow during his presidency.
Lincoln would be beyond dismayed by all the conspiracy theories that cling to his party like a cheap suit, no longer being peddled by crackpot fringe groups but also members of the mainstream conservative media, like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, whose new documentary, “Patriot Purge,” ridiculously labels the domestic terrorist attacks on Jan. 6 a “false flag operation.”
Instead of thinking along the lines of Republican and Democrat, maybe we should instead start thinking about who would best represent us, complain more about the failed policies and mindsets of both parties, embrace our individualism and right to speak out against what is right or wrong, regardless of red or blue.
Jack Bristow is a writer residing in Tulare. His writing has appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, The Huffington Post and Mystery Weekly Magazine. He wrote this for CalMatters, a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s Capitol works and why it matters.