For my generation, that partisan relationship was exhibited most readily by Republican Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill. Despite a divided government, Reagan and O’Neill were able to govern by compromise, negotiation and a realization that the interests of the country weren’t served by the politics of personal and partisan destruction.
Yet over the last 20 years, we have reached a point that for many, the partisan path is a path of such ideological purity that merely winning an election isn’t good enough. For these voters, they want the political houses of their opponents burned down and if the country gets singed a little in the process, so be it.
The tone and tenor of the 2016 presidential campaigns in both parties has taken on the feel of television wrestling shows. What has passed for public discourse in this election cycle has run the gamut of misogyny, racism, personal insults that demean virtually everyone, and a mean-spirited lack of hope and promise for the future of our nation that is nothing short of depressing.