It is true that the political theater of eye-rolling and name-calling is a bipartisan phenomenon. However, it is just as true that we live in times when right-wing narratives are uniquely dominated by superficiality and deception -- uniquely dependent his theater for sustenance. 90% of the pundits presently expressing disdain for immigration reform and misrepresenting a path to citizenship that involves pleading guilty to a crime and paying a substantial penalty as "amnesty" could be seen in years past rolling their eyes at the notion that Hans Blix's UN inspection teams conducted thorough and unfettered inspections of Iraq supporting the conclusion that Saddam Hussein made no effort to violate the UN ban against weapons of mass destruction. These deceptions are not anomalous. They are standard operating procedure for opinion hosts (and plenty of "news" personnel) employed by Fox.
Wrong is wrong. Sneering at the people who are correct should never carry more weight than actually being correct. In fact, being spectacularly and repeatedly wrong about matters of great importance ought to be reason enough to lose any audience one might have cultivated for listening to commentary about matters of great importance. If our entire society were full of deep thinkers blessed with great personal integrity, outcomes might reflect that imperative. The continued popularity of Fox News and the broader panorama of partisan house organs engaged in so much willful prevarication suggests our society is presently full of something else. Yet must we remain afflicted with this particular weakness?
We are all animals. Certainly a subset of the noises we make are more interesting than typical animal sounds. Certainly a subset of the actions we take are more constructive than typical animal behaviors. When we judge a person entirely by non-verbal cues, we fail to transcend our animality. When we dismiss an idea due to the scowls and sneers of others, we are guilty of that same failure. The forces of darkness in early 21st century politics depend on the visceral voter. They need fear of "death panels," and be damned all those suffering Americans who could benefit greatly from a physician's time spent discussing palliative care and DNR orders. They need hatred of "socialism," and be damned all those children exiled to day care so that their single parents can be compelled to work at jobs that pay roughly the cost of day care.
If we look past the surface and into the substance of a person or an issue, this may reveal something truly wonderful. Even when it does not, this approach equips us to make decisions based on useful information. Rarely do circumstances demand that a personal or political decision of any import be taken in the heat of the moment. With time for reflection, it is inexcusable to make a big decision based on the petty or the shallow. Men like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes may prosper to the extent that they can debase the American political process, but even they cannot fully avoid the preventable violence, preventable sickness, and preventable poverty that their efforts do so much to perpetuate. I believe we as a people should do better for the sake of our least fortunate citizens. Yet I also believe we as individuals have a duty to do better for ourselves.