Tribe Over Country Or Duty

For some time political politicization has been one of the biggest problems in America. Recent revelations of various reactions to the disclosure of Russian interference in our 2016 election illustrate this anew. Let’s explore.

Selective reporting and disregard of facts by some news media outlets make for a largely ignorant electorate. The tragedy is that decisions are being made based on what is often misleading (at best) and manipulative information. (Think in terms of alternate facts.) Unfortunately, that is somewhat acceptable and anticipated behavior on the part of many campaigns and some for-profit media outlets. When it reaches the level of elected officials in the discharge of their duties that is a problem!

In the late stages of the 2016 campaign senior elected officials were presented with conclusive evidence that Russia was staging a cyber-campaign whose purpose was to undermine Americans’ confidence in the integrity of its elections while simultaneously discrediting Hillary Clinton and aiding Donald Trump. How to handle this situation presented the Obama administration with various challenges. In the interest of time and space I won’t get into them today. I only want to explore part of the tribalism aspect.

In relatively short order Obama informed bi-partisan congressional leadership. The Democrats preferred a “sunshine” approach. They wanted to inform the American public of the existence of the threat in the process to a great degree defusing it by its unmasking. The Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, insisted on keeping the electorate in the dark. The foreign plot was favoring their presidential candidate and neither patriotism nor sworn duty could convince them to forgo that advantage. (If you subscribe to my organized criminal enterprise theory McConnell personally had money on the line.)

At about the same time Trump was denying the claims. He talked about how it could be a 400 pound person sitting on their bed in New Jersey if, in fact, the interference even existed. (Maybe he secretly wanted to blame it all on Chris Christie.) Trump was also telling his rallies that the only way he could lose Pennsylvania was if the election were rigged. In that atmosphere the most effective declaration would have been a bi-partisan one. McConnell stopped that in the interest of tribal politics (and perhaps personal greed).

In response to last week’s Washington Post reporting Trump did his usual con man diversion trick. He sent out a tweet (what else?) blaming Obama. He is asking the American public to disregard the actions of Mitch and company, him during the campaign (don’t forget there are a series of ongoing investigations into the possibility that he and/or his campaign colluded in this matter), his ignoring intelligence briefings, along with his lack of inquisitiveness let alone action during his tenure in the White House.

I can understand the guy or gal who listens to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and reads Breitbart being misinformed and therefore making bad decisions; I have a problem with someone like McConnell or Trump who has the benefit of the best and most accurate information available and then choses their tribe over their country!

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