Editorial: The endless cycle of ugliness is bad for politicians and the public

  • Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval, a Cicero Democrat, shown here in a 2014 file photo, apologized for a staged "assassination" of someone wearing a Mexican costume and a Donald Trump mask at a Sandoval fundraiser in Winfield.

    Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval, a Cicero Democrat, shown here in a 2014 file photo, apologized for a staged "assassination" of someone wearing a Mexican costume and a Donald Trump mask at a Sandoval fundraiser in Winfield. Associated Press File Photo

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 8/21/2019 1:57 PM

It's a pattern that is becoming all too familiar: Someone makes a distasteful political statement of some sort; the other side complains loudly, calling for heads to roll; a leader of the party that made the statement tries to tamp down the furor; and the originator of the statement apologizes.

Then we're usually reminded that the other side started it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As a nation, we've become politically unhinged. Pockets of civil discourse -- with people whose views don't align -- are becoming harder to find than cheap "Hamilton" tickets.

Where we've come to accept that candidates and their campaigns in the weeks leading up to an election will lose their minds by publishing scurrilous rumors and outright lies about political foes, we now see a steady drip of horrible, tasteless and harmful displays of overt baiting of the base year 'round.

Take last weekend's fundraiser for Chicago Democratic State Sen. Martin Sandoval at Klein Creek Golf Club in Winfield.

Some of the attendees staged an "assassination" of someone wearing a Mexican costume and a Donald Trump mask by a man holding a big toy gun. As you can imagine, it was about as humorous as Kathy Griffin's carrying around the bloodied severed head of Donald Trump. That is to say, not funny at all.

Garbage like this is harmful to public discourse; it merely serves to stoke the anger many of us already are experiencing, or it sends others to merely check out of the conversation entirely.

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Neither bodes well for the republic.

Lest you think this is a criticism of Democrats behaving badly, it was just last month that the head of the Illinois Republican County Chairman's Association found himself apologizing and removing a social media post that included a movie poster-style picture of four minority lawmakers as the stars of "The Jihad Squad."

He said it was unauthorized and it was a mistake.

Every time this happens the bell can't be unrung. The constant peals are deafening.

Like that second piece of cake, these sorts of sordid statements might feel good while you're making them, but you know you'll always regret them an hour later.

So just stop shooting yourselves in the foot and fumble for the high road, the place where we can sanely advocate on the issues again.

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