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I am becoming more and more disgusted with the tenor and tone of national — and even local — politics in this country since the campaigns of 2008. It seems to me that those on both sides of the proverbial aisle have, in very short order, forgotten that once elected, they no longer simply represent their party — they were elected to do what is best for the country. Party loyalty should end immediately after the victory celebrations.

Before I get in to the meat of this week’s entry, I must correct my mistake in identifying one of the persons mentioned last time in connection with the impeachment hearings. I incorrectly identified the Republicans’ chief counsel. In fact, the disheveled one doing the questioning was Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who was disheveled on that first day, and continued to go jacketless throughout, and even as a guest on the Sunday morning news interview shows. I wonder why that seems to be his style.

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During the impeachment hearings, the extreme party-line questioning and derision shown to the witnesses by the Republican side was quite evident. They didn’t seem to want to find out what was said, heard or was told to the witnesses; they simply wanted to discount the accounts of the events in question. One naturally has to wonder if they really want to get to the truth or are they simply defending Trump because he is of their party and they fear his retaliation if they step away from the party line.

As for the Democrats on the committee, their responses to some of the statements or questions by the Republicans also showed a measure of party bias. That kind of antagonistic discourse has no place in a hearing to establish or disprove the charges of improper or illegal actions against the president.

Of course, the president set the tone for such harsh discourse beginning with his campaign by his penchant for namecalling and using disparaging titles for those opposing him or who were not securely in his camp. To this day he continues to do this whenever anyone offers an opinion contrary to what he thinks at the time. Even some of his staunchest backers are not immune from being derisively spoken about — witness the almost continual turnover in his cabinet and among other advisers.

From the time that his name first was mentioned as a possible candidate, I thought that Trump would be a disaster as president. I’m afraid that my fears have come to fruition. In a recent column in the Sun, Dan Rodricks quoted an excerpt written by the late, great columnist for “The Evening Sun” known as “the sage of Baltimore,” H.L. Mencken, in 1920. I think it describes our current political scene perfectly. Mencken wrote, “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great day, the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a down-right moron.” Have we fulfilled Mencken’s prophesy?

Several of my columnist brethren have lately also seemed to be more partisan in their comments and injected party affiliation into places where such affiliation has no place, such as comments about the Board of Education, whose members are elected in a strictly nonpartisan election — as I think all county offices should be. I also think that the use of “left” and “right,” painting both sides with a broad brush, is divisive. I — and I expect many others in this county especially — fall primarily in the middle. We’re conservative on some issues and a bit to the liberal side on others.

I don’t care which side of the aisle one comes from, if he/she is the most capable candidate, in my opinion, I’ll vote for that person. I would hope that I’m not the only one with that outlook. If more people would consider any candidate for any office on their qualifications alone, disregarding political party affiliation, we all would be better off and probably have better government on all levels.

Here’s hoping that everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving with family and/or friends as I did. Remember to shop local for your holiday gift giving, and keep your cash working in our county.

Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him at wlkennedyiii@verizon.net.

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