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Opinion | How American politics became so ugly

The President points towards the bridge during his speech. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The political process in America is broken.

You hear that a lot these days. Especially from Republicans, who are upset that the partisan judge they’re trying to cram through to the Supreme Court is being held up because he’s a liar who has likely perjured himself multiple times in his confirmation testimony.

And so, suddenly, the GOP is concerned with decorum and procedure and past precedent and manners.

And guys like Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham and Bradley Byrne are giving speeches and interviews in which they question just how in the world the state of political discourse in America ever became so broken and ugly.

Well, let me help.

Eight years of Republicans doing all they could to block and oppose anything President Obama attempted, combined with their embracing of far-right racists and trolls, and the never-ending racist dog whistles.

Eight years of race baiting and fear mongering.

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Eight years of obstruction.

Eight years of never taking a stand against the ugliest, dirtiest rumors.

Eight years of the nation’s first black president being painted as a racist who hated white people.

Eight years of indifference to insane allegations.

Eight years of Benghazi and the IRS and Fast and Furious and birtherism.

Eight years of bottom-of-the-barrel, hateful nonsense.

That’s how we ended up here.

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It was the hacks on Fox News telling you that Michelle Obama was galavanting around the globe on taxpayer dollars and that the Obamas were fleecing “hard working Americans” by going home for Christmas.

It was multiple investigations into absurd scandals, whose only real purpose were to ramp up partisan anger and give talk radio goofballs a reason to scream to dozens of people trapped in auto repair shop waiting rooms.

It was outright racists, like Steve King from Iowa, feeling so emboldened by the first black president that they could pull their hoods from the back of the closet and spur a national flood of hate groups.

That’s how we got here.

Nearly a decade of straight, white males pretending that they were some sort of victims of injustices because other groups started to enjoy the same rights they held, and women asked them to stop touching them so damn much.

Nearly a decade of rich white people pretending they care about deficits and debt, because the black president had the gall to give poor people a few breaks. (By the way, the orange president has increased the deficit by 80-plus percent this year and added more than a trillion dollars to the debt — after being left a roaring economy by the black president — and nary a word, I notice.)

Nearly a decade of Mitch McConnell and his GOP zombies blocking anything Obama proposed, from judges and political appointments to a Supreme Court justice. That Supreme Court justice, you’ll recall, didn’t even receive a confirmation hearing — hell, couldn’t get Republicans to even meet with him — despite a superb record, a clean background and not lying under oath.

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All of that is how we got here.

The GOP victimhood, the whining, the racism — oh, especially the racism — the willingness to embrace lunacy when it was politically beneficial, the nastiness, the rudeness, the party-over-country mentality.

That’s why this country’s political discourse is broken.

For eight years, the GOP took the presidency of a good and decent man — a man who wanted to make this country better and who demonstrated repeatedly a willingness to compromise and entertain GOP ideas (even his signature health care reform was a GOP idea) — and they tore it to shreds in order to hide the fact that Republicans have no workable ideas for governance.

The Obama presidency could have been a period of great advancement and healing, a period that would have set America on a remarkable course forward. Instead, Republicans, for nothing more than political and personal gain, played on the underlying fears that still linger in this country and spent the Obama years doing anything possible to divide Americans.

And so, here we are.


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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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