With President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address Tuesday night, it is important to also look at the state of politics in our country.
Although I wrote this before Trump’s address, I can make a guess at the reaction to his words.
On one side he will be praised as a leader who is trying to reach across the aisle only to be rejected by liberals. The other side will call the speech more of the same divisive rhetoric that conservatives toss out on a routine basis.
Such is the state of political discussion in our nation. And it is a problem I’m not sure has a fix.
Just look at the response from each side of the aisle to the memo from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.
On the conservative side, there were cries to release the memo, which reportedly details alleged FBI abuses in the agency’s surveillance. On the liberal side, there were accusations that releasing the memo would be reckless and irresponsible.
The general public has no clue what is in the memo, how much of what is in the memo is well sourced and accurate or even if the claims in the memo are as serious as alleged.
Even so, minds have already been made up when it comes to what should be done with the memo. A quick glance at social media offers confirmation.
There are tweets from GOP backers railing against anyone who doesn’t want the memo released and praising Republicans who have made the vote to release it to the public.
On the other side there are people calling Nunes a liar and questioning whether he is trying to undermine the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Despite not knowing what the memo really contains — despite failing to research or fact-check any of the claims the memo might make — supporters on both sides have their minds made up.
I don’t know what is in that Nunes memo. If the FBI truly did act inappropriately, then action should be taken. If the claims by Nunes are inflammatory or baseless, then that should also result in the appropriate repercussions.
But the real issue is that instead of having both sides come together to dig into any of the claims and figure out if there is fire behind the smoke Nunes alleges to have seen, both sides have already landed on their own version of the truth and are clinging to it with all their might.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the former U.S. Senator from New York who served 1977-2001, was once quoted as saying, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”
Those words should be heeded today. The extremes in our nation develop their own version of the truth without worrying that there are facts falling somewhere in the middle.