Any political pacifist wishing to remain in the aisle separating the corrosively partisan, negative and cynical sides of our politics should be quite happy now. The pox on both houses becomes a serviceable slogan, as the Internet provides enough real information to allow and maintain suspicion of both the Republicans and the Democrats. In fact, I think that both parties would be better off if they showed enough suspicion, or doubt, or wariness -- even behind closed doors -- about the quality of the ideas the big forces on the right or on the left try to push forward as the huge chasm of difference from the other side, the political enemy.
Of course, I am often under personal attack for not marching in automatic lock step with one side or the other, be the issue ethnic or political. Am I a traitor to my race, someone willing to run from my color, or am I so far gone that I have sunk into the mudhole of being conservative? If so, this automatically makes me dangerous because I have not signed up on the left and do not reflect the beliefs of those people who once were willing to call themselves liberals.
Given some of the reactions to what I have written, I often wonder if people can actually read, or merely become angry and close down their minds if one of their supposed leaders or causes is questioned by me.
After being attacked as some kind of an Uncle Tom by an editor of The Grio, I was amused when a large number of its readers brought chapter and verse to my criticism of the website, defending me against those ways of dismissing criticism. I then found that I had made my position quite clear in an hour-long interview on C-SPAN done in 2010.
Had such people seen it, they would have learned who I am because of the quality and persistence of the questions asked by Brian Lamb. Lamb is not only an amusing interviewer, but he actually does research into what the person in question has put on the record and has to be responsible for having said or written. When caught in a huge self-promoting lie, politicians as different from one another as Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Mitt Romney this year and last have described their statement as no more than an example of how individuals "misspeak."
All of that is why I am particularly glad that studies in The Washington Post have proven both Democrats and Republicans use earmarks to secretly get money to businesses that employ close family members. As it should be, legislation is being brought forward by a team of elephants and donkeys seeking to make illegal such corrupt actions, whether small or large.
Which side moved the most money is not as important to me as understanding simply this: No one should automatically trust either side of the aisle or assume that all of those on the side chosen could not even think of dumping buckets of dirt in the public lake intended for swimming or drinking.
I am not the only one to be attacked for criticizing something people think I should ignore or support. Joe Scarborough observed on television that all of the raisings of the national debt had not begun with President Barack Obama, of whom he can be quite critical. The ex-congressman and anchor of a show shared with a liberal supporter noted that he had to point out, in all honesty, that irresponsible federal spending had also taken place during the Bush years. Uh-oh.
This, he explained, left the nation in trillions of dollars of debt. Shaking his head, but continuing, Scarborough made it clear that those were the kinds of statements from him -- which were true and could be proven by looking at the numbers -- that led to him being attacked as something of a conservative traitor during a hard rhetorical war.
That is why the slogan of a pox on both their houses has been rewritten in neon by all the truly serious Internet information about our politics and our politicians.
Stanley Crouch can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.