I was listening to the radio on the way in to work the other day when I caught a discussion between two talking heads on KIRO news radio 97.3.
The back-and-forth between show co-hosts Jack Stine and Spike O’Neill centered on the pending visit to San Francisco of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and that city’s cleanup ahead of the event, specifically of its homeless population.
Stine was castigating San Francisco’s leadership for, first of all, welcoming Xi Jinping — “a murderous, fascist dictator” — to town and trying to spruce up the city ahead of him.
Fair enough. Xi Jinping is all that Stine said of him and worse. And the city’s actions are cringe-worthy.
What bugged me, however, was the heavy condemnation Stine voiced for the city’s “Democratic leadership,” and by extension, the Democratic leadership of other large cities beset with large homeless populations. His assumption was that this variety of cringeworthy is the exclusive province of Democrats.
As even the briefest look about shows, it is not.
I assure you, without half a grain of doubt, that, regardless of the politics of any city’s leadership, especially a large one like San Francisco, its leaders would do exactly the same thing.
To me it seems Stine was saying that only Democrats, as if by some sort of political quirk rooted in their DNA, would make such a smarmy decision. To draw an analogy, it would be like John Q Citizen, a member of Party A, saying that only women of Party A can claim to be beautiful while women of Party B, whoa, ugh! Yes, I have heard that claim many times.
We can only argue that “those guys over there” are alone in doing this or that disagreeable thing if we ignore, sweeten up, excuse that same thing when we ourselves do it. The old word “hypocrite” is useful here.
Who among us doesn’t straighten up our homes when guests are coming over for dinner?
We human beings are very good at pointing fingers, but not so meritorious at acknowledging the imperfections in ourselves. Because doing so is painful and deflating. No sooner do we point our fingers at that guy over there, than we discover 10,000 fingers pointing back at us. Simplicity of thinking like that makes my head pound.
As Christ said, “Before you criticize your brother, take the beam out of your own eye.” We’ve had more than 2,000 years to get that straight.
It must feel good to get all indignant about some misstep and tell ourselves, “Oh, I and mine would never do that.” Uh, yes you would. We may not like it, but all of us have are capable of doing bad things. And all of us have to deal, as the United States must in the case of Xi, with bad actors we would never cheer on in a ticker-tape parade.
In a broad sense, this blame game has infected the United States. Though some argue otherwise, crime goes on in red and blue cities alike.
The idea that we can lay all of the problems besetting this nation at the feet of one party alone, that party over there, but certainly, never at our feet here, is well, dumb. If this nation is messed up, we all had a hand in it.
So, instead of casting blame, what say we all work together to tidy up the mess we’ve made. That would be much more productive.
Robert Whale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.