I hate partisans; all of them, no matter what ideology they champion.
Ever since I started writing freelance and speaking directly with editors 17 years ago, I have had a profound distaste for people who allow their political leanings to impact their ability to stay rational.
Like the coronoavirus, partisanship is a disease. The main difference between the two is that one kills mostly the elderly, and the other, while metaphorically terminal, kills our ability to reason, our deference to logic, and societal progress.
Now that Sophie Trudeau has been diagnosed, we get to see the venom by some of our citizens in real time.
Who cares if she dies? Maybe justin will go in blackface to the funeral— Political Junkie (@right_is_right0) March 13, 2020
And yes, we can lay the blame squarely at the feet of our media. They know exactly what buttons to push, and how feeding their audiences the bloody red meat of bitter divisiveness keeps their precious ad revenue flowing. Their audiences become seduced into hating their political opposites while ignoring the sins of the leaders they tend to agree with. This is hardly a new phenomenon yet feels like a new chapter, one we might not be able to walk back.
The cost/benefit scenario gets twisted into the following; defend their ilk at all costs, and never give the benefit of the doubt to those they hate. There is never any room for compromise, civil discourse, or a change of heart. Even during a pandemic we see a striking inability to restrain ourselves. Civilian conservative partisans have managed to find a way to increase their hatred of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, egged on by the irresponsible rallying cries of conservative MPs and wanna-be party leaders who saw the pandemic as an opportunity to slam Trudeau’s response, instead of an opportunity to find national unity.
Aiming for a united country might give Trudeau a political advantage, and we can’t have that, now can we?
Imagine your life being so dreary that even the prospect of thousands of dead Canadians can’t conger up some humanity. Imagine reading the projections related to the virus and thinking, “How can I use this against the prime minister?” Then imagine a base of support willing to enable this gross interpretation of what public service is supposed to mean.
Remember 9/11 and the immediate aftermath? You can probably recall the unprecedented unity that followed. People were brought together by tragedy. We embraced our ideological opposites, prioritizing humanity over the positions we held. Even a president as polarizing as George W. Bush couldn’t stop the people from treating strangers like brothers and sisters. Hell, even Bush himself came off as presidential, despite squandering all that political capital via the Iraq War soon after.
If 9/11 happened today, I can’t imagine it would result in anything even remotely resembling national unity. If Canada was attacked by terrorists tomorrow, Erin O’Toole would probably blame Trudeau and use the disaster to raise money for his leadership ambitions. Countless political memes would be created depicting Trudeau as a terrorist ally. People with a pronounced conservative bent would probably call Trudeau a traitor and demand his execution.
That’s where we are as a country right now, and the endgame for such a loathsome reality is not pretty.
Countless think pieces by obscure writers like myself have been written about how divided we are, and this piece isn’t going to make much of a difference. Perhaps the goal should be to expose partisans to their own ridiculousness in hopes that they will have an epiphany and change their ways. Hell, maybe they can see themselves inside the progressive hypocrites who demand inclusivity on one hand while they deplatform anyone who dares to disagree with them on the other.
Yeah, sorry, but that’s not going to happen.
There is almost no hope that we can recover from our current state of profound polarization. We are all prisoners now, rattling the bars of our ideological cages with empty cups of even emptier sentiments, singing songs of patriotism while we burn the country to the ground.
So as awful as it sounds, as cold and depraved as it seems, the fantasy of a virus that solely targeted the intellectually stunted, shallow minded blowhards and insolent flamethrowers, as well as their opportunistic, devious, elected overlords, just might be a pandemic worth hoping for.