Conservative blogger and radio host Erik Erickson made an important point on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday during a discussion over the coarsening of political debate in this country.
Moderator Chuck Todd pointed out that the culture wars had reared their ugly heads over the weekend with Sarah Sanders getting kicked out of a restaurant by the owner because she worked for President Trump.
Conversely, Sanders’ father, Mike Huckabee, was excoriated for tweeting a picture of gang members and referring to them as Nancy Pelosi’s campaign committee.
Responding, Erickson said it was going to get uglier and the country was headed toward more violence if people don’t rein the inflammatory rhetoric and fearmongering in.
“If we can’t agree to disagree and let each other be, and neither side wants to do that, it becomes a problem,” Erickson said. “We have, as religion in the country fades, and society becomes more secular, people are finding their salvation in their morals in politics. And that’s a bad thing.”
A really bad thing. Erickson is spot on. Politics has been overtaken by and incapacitated by tribalism. It’s one of the main reasons why our political system is incapable of solving the immigration issue and most of the other vexing problems of the day. It’s the reason our country is so polarized.
We’ve lost the ability to agree to disagree and let each other be. Instead, we scream, get hysterical and berate each other on social media. We turn to Fox and MSNBC to reinforce our views instead of seeking out other news sources to enlighten our viewpoints. We sure don’t listen and compromise like we used to.
Erickson has a point about religion fading too. The U.S. has been steadily losing its religion for decades. Since 1990, Americans have been abandoning both belief and religious affiliation at such a fast pace that by 2035 it’s likely that 35 percent of the population will have no religious affiliation, according to a study published last year.
Is the decline of religion really responsible for the rise of tribalism in our political system as Erickson suggests? Is it the reason civility has disappeared from American public life?
Erickson may be on to something. The current brutal political climate suggests people are putting political preferences before church teachings.
Todd closed the “Meet the Press” discussion by asking whatever happened to the Golden Rule? He added that if everyone followed it “we might be in a tiny bit better place.”
Is it something we can all agree on?