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Party over country, why tribalism is bad for our country

“But they did it too!” is the all too familiar refrain we hear when it comes to politics to justify one side’s actions. Didn’t we learn as children that just because someone does something that isn’t right, that it doesn’t justify doing the same thing? “So if Johnny jumps off a cliff are you going to do it too?”

This is the reasoning behind what our two political parties are doing and have been doing and the supporters of the Republican and Democrat parties follow along with that. People look to see whether the person has a D or an R next to their name and react accordingly. This is the reason Washington DC and statehouses are a mess.

Here’s just one example that happened this week. I-95 on the east coast was stopped for over 20 hours due to snow. Of course, it became partisan, as everything does these days. One democrat blamed the new Governor that hasn’t taken office yet and then quickly changed her tune when told he hadn’t.

Not to be outdone a talking head on Fox News suggested that this was in part due to Democrats that would not allow police to have military-type vehicles. Police do not clear the roads. I don’t think Cal Trans uses military vehicles to clear the roads.

I am sure this has been going forever. One party does something and then the other will get back at them. I started noticing it when Bill Clinton was president. Republicans went after him for Lewinsky controversy and other issues. So when George Bush 2 won in 2000, the Democrats were going to return the favor. Then it seemed to escalate when Obama took office. When Obama did something that was criticized, the left said “Bush did it too!” and Republicans did their best to derail Obama and his agenda.

Then things went into hyperdrive when Trump took office in 2017. Democrats were going to get back at Republicans for 8 years of criticism of Obama, and Republicans complained how it was unfair. Four years of fighting and partisan politics only increased the divide. Republicans will blame Obama for starting it and Democrats will blame Trump for making it worse

Now here we are a year into the Biden presidency and it is more of the same. Republicans are determined to do what they can to stop Biden and Democrats are trying to impose their will. Meanwhile, the country and all of us are left to suffer as the two parties fight it out.

Today is January 6, 2022, and we all know one year ago today was the violent protest at the Capitol. Some Republicans had the guts to actually speak out against what happened at the time. Many have since backtracked or want to ignore. Republicans that have spoken out against Trump have been attacked. Republicans have used the “they did it too argument” and said Democrats were okay with the 2020 riots that cost the country over $1 billion.

That is not a reason in any way to rationalize what happened one year ago. You can’t justify the damage caused by the 2020 riots and cities that allowed it to happen. At the same time, in my opinion, January 6 was far worse. Call it what you want, it was an attack on our country and it was an attempt to stop the certification of the election. Republicans have tried to blame Antifa and the FBI. Those were Trump supporters fueled by misinformation on fringe far-right websites, social media, and the President himself saying the election was stolen.

Protesting is our right as Americans. Causing damage or injury is not a right no matter how strongly we feel about the cause. It is not Democrat or Republican. The sooner we start putting our country first and not a political party, the better we will be. Stop looking at whether there is a D or an R next to a name to decide where to fall on one side or the other of an issue. If something is wrong condemn it. Don’t be afraid to criticize your own party.

I remember participating in a conversation on the Elk Grove Laguna Forums website about 10 years ago, and I was critical of the California GOP for how they were losing the state. A local Republican campaign strategist was not happy. How dare I criticize Republicans, that wasn’t allowed.

Since then I spent 8 years watching people I know defend President Obama’s every move and others critical of everything he did. Then for 4 years, the sides flip-flopped and everything Trump did was good for Republicans and Democrats criticized everything he did. Here we are again and the sides are at it again. Everything is partisan. It’s okay to be a Democrat and criticize what democrats are doing. The same for Republicans. I joke and it is true, I have been called a progressive and far-right on the same topic in the same discussion. The extremes are too blinded by partisanship to see their side did anything wrong.

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