According to PBS and the New York Times, the Democratic Party will be holding a convention this weekend to vote on leadership and future courses of action. A national organization of conservatives is just finishing such a session.
The Democrats are being pushed, in part by their more strident members, toward declaring all-out war against the current administration and all its pomps and shows (as in “the Devil and all his pomps and shows”). Moderates are having a problem withstanding this storm, as are moderates (few as they may be) on the other side. I can understand their dismay all around.
So it’s with some relief that I’ve been reading the local newspaper columns of John Krull, my successor as director of the Pulliam School of Journalism at Franklin College. The headline today was “Search for Good Sense Among Screaming.” (Yes, of course the headline writer should have made it “Amid Screaming.” But moving on . . . .) John hosts a talk show on an Indianapolis radio station, and he was making a point: Some participants whom he expected to throw an on-air fit didn’t. Instead they spoke calmly about real problems. John concluded: “Polarization won’t help us meet our challenges or solve our problems. But listening to each other might.”
John’s patient stance reminds me of a recent column by David Brooks in the New York Times. David doesn’t scream either, but the column described at length some of the real and troubling problems our country faces, from a loss of economic dynamism to widespread social alienation. Then he wrote:
“The central task for many of us is not to resist Donald Trump. He’ll seal his own fate. It’s to figure out how to replace him—how to respond to the slow growth and social disaffection that gave rise to him with some radically different policy mix.”
Wise words, indeed. And not a scream anyplace in it.